After referring to the bodies of pregnant women as hosts during a discussion on abortion, Republican Florida state Rep. Jose Oliva is apologizing and attempting to explain his choice of words.
“It was an attempt to use terminology found in medical ethics writings with the purpose of keeping the discussion dispassionate,” he said of his remarks made during a Thursday interview with CBS Miami. “The reaction undoubtedly shows it had the exact opposite effect. I apologize for having caused offense, my aim was the contrary.”
According to the station, the congressman used the term “host body” a total of five times during the interview, appearing to have spoken with intent.
The comment came up when Oliva discussed his views on abortion, pointing out that “there are two lives involved” in women’s decisions on the matter.
“So, where I believe that we should stay out of people’s lives, I don’t believe that people’s lives should be taken,” he added. “It’s a complex issue because one has to think, well there’s a host body and that host body has to have a certain amount of rights because at the end of the day it is that body that carries this entire other body to term. But there is an additional life there.”
Speaking out against Oliva’s rhetoric, Democratic state Rep. Anna Eskamani told the lawmaker via Twitter that “my body is not a ‘host’ and personal medical decisions around my pregnancy belong to me, my family, my doctor, and my faith ― not to politicians.”
However, the term “host” is not new among abortion critics. In 2017, Republican Oklahoma state Rep. Justin Humphrey used it to describe pregnant women while calling for legislation that would require the consent of their sexual partners to allow the procedure.
In an interview with The Intercept, Humphrey defended his use of the word:
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. 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.