This week’s assault on abortion comes from Oklahoma Rep. Justin Humphrey, who, in an effort to pass a bill that would block women in the state from aborting fetuses with abnormalities, recently gave an interview to The Intercept for some reason. Here’s what Justin had to say.
“I believe one of the breakdowns in our society is that we have excluded the man out of all of these types of decisions,” he said. “I understand that they feel like that is their body,” he said of women. “I feel like it is a separate — what I call them is, is you’re a ‘host.’ And you know when you enter into a relationship, you’re going to be that host and so, you know, if you pre-know that, then take all precautions and don’t get pregnant,” he explained. “So that’s where I’m at. I’m like, hey, your body is your body and be responsible with it. But after you’re irresponsible then don’t claim, well, I can just go and do this with another body, when you’re the host and you invited that in.”
Okay there, Mr. Representative. Let’s just slow this train down a few MPH.
Humphrey’s understanding of pregnancy, in which he suggests that women’s bodies are not their own anymore — that they are “hosts,” and that they should “pre-know” about the possibility of becoming a host if they’re in a relationship and “don’t get pregnant” — is interesting. “Don’t get pregnant” is one of the main mantras of feminism! It’s why we want birth control so badly!
But most importantly: Is a woman truly a “host” to her baby? What is a host?
Science (i.e. Wikipedia) defines a host as “an organism that harbors a parasitic, a mutual, or a commensal symbiont, typically providing nourishment and shelter.” So Humphrey is on the right track, correct? Well, not really. If the woman is the host, that makes the baby a parasite. But hosts and parasites are typically of different species. A woman and a human fetus are the same species. And the parasite almost always gets better while the host suffers for the hosting. This feels true for the human woman, but it’s not, really. In fact, if all things go according to plan, a woman is usually quite healthy throughout the duration of her pregnancy. And really, when the woman’s life is actually threatened by her fetus — when the two become closest to a host and parasite situation — is when most states are most equitable about abortions.
Because a true host and parasite situation is really, really bad. Simply put, a parasite is a foreign entity, and not, like Humphrey suggests, “invited” in. And of course, parasites are bad! We almost always try to kill them. We always have the right to expel our parasites. Rep. Humphrey, have you truly thought this through?