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Florida GOPer Real Sorry He Called Pregnant Women 'Host Bodies'

Feminininism

Florida House Speaker José Oliva made a real splash on CBS Miami on Thursday morning when he popped by to discuss several anti-abortion bills being introduced in the state.

Though Oliva describes himself as a "libertarian" who thinks people should be able to do what they want without government interference, he said he just wasn't so sure about reproductive rights and subsequently went on a bizarre rant in which he repeatedly referred to human women as "host bodies."

Yes, that's right, HOST BODIES.


"Well the challenge there is that there are two lives involved," he said. "So, where I believe that we should stay out of people's lives, I don't believe that people's lives should be taken. 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 that carries this entire other body to term. But there is an additional life there."

"And the question that we have to ask ourselves is: What is the limit to which we are going to give one person complete power over the life of another?"

Host bodies. Host bodies.

He continued using the term for the duration of the interview:

[W]hile discussing setting limits on abortions based on viability, Oliva said: "As technology moves along, a human body can exist outside of its host body earlier and earlier. And so then one has to think, until what time does the host body have veto power over this other life?"

The phrase came up again when he declared that life begins at conception.

"Science believes that," he said. "I mean the only definition of science of life is something that grows. From the moment that conception occurs there begins to be growth. And so scientifically that's what it is. But that's not the question. The question is: What is the value of that life? And is it subordinate to the value of its host body?"

No, "science" does not believe that. I mean, if you want to get technical about shit, human bodies are "hosts" to a variety of living organisms and bacteria, which are exactly as "alive" as a sperm that has come into contact with an egg is, but we're not too worried about them.

When asked if "host bodies" was perhaps a demeaning term, Oliva doubled down, on account of how people say "fetus" instead of "baby."

"You understand that when this discussion is being had, the fetus is also a person and that is being seen as a fetus," he said. "And so we can either use technical terms on both sides or we can just use both lives. I'd be happy to do either. The real question is, there are two lives. There is a weight and a quality to both. Both need protection. What is that balance?"

Yeah. I'm gonna say that "host body" is not the technical term here. Also, we know what "that balance" is -- whether or not the fetus can survive outside of the womb. That is the balance. (It's called "viability.")

"Libertarian" that he is, Oliva expressed his support for government mandated "cooling off" periods requiring said "host bodies" to wait a few days before getting an abortion, comparing them to "cooling off periods" for marriage and gun-buying, as well as for laws requiring doctors to give "host bodies" information meant to change their minds. Traditionally, this "information" comes in the form of a lot of weird lies that Republicans have made up about abortion.

"I would support things that are consistent with other laws," Oliva said. "So, in the state of Florida you cannot get a marriage license without a cooling off period of a couple of days just to make sure that two adults, two capable adults are required to take some time. You're required to take a certain amount of time before you buy a firearm just in the event that you are making a bad decision for yourself."

He said he doesn't know why some people would oppose a similar law when it comes to abortion. "We feel that it is an offense to ask someone before ending another life to take a time and think about it to fully understand what it is," he said.

Asked if such a law assumes the woman hasn't already weighed her options, wrestled with her choices, and made a decision that is in her best interest, Oliva responded: "And the same argument can be made for a marriage license, same argument could be made for the purchase of a gun. We're making assumptions that perhaps we probably should not make."

Except the thing here is that people trying to get married or buy a gun are generally not in a situation where they only have a certain amount of time to get those things done before they can't do them anymore. And if they are, that is something to be worried about!

Additionally, were José Oliva able to get pregnant, he would understand that a decision like abortion isn't something one comes to only once they are actually pregnant. If that is something that can happen to you, trust me, you have a pretty good idea of what you would do if it did.

Since his disastrous appearance, Olivas has apologized for using the ridiculously stupid term "host bodies" over and over again.

In a recent interview where the very controversial topic of abortion was raised I used the term 'host' to describe a pregnant woman. It was an attempt to use terminology found in medical ethics writings with the purpose of keeping the discussion dispassionate. The reaction undoubtedly shows it had the exact opposite effect. I apologize for having caused offense, my aim was the contrary. This is and will continue to be our society's greatest challenge. I strongly believe both mother and child have rights and the extent and balance of those rights remain in question. I regret my wording has distracted from the issue. My apologies to all.

Who -- except literally anyone with half a brain, and also the host of the program he appeared on, while he was on it -- could have predicted that people might find the term "host bodies" to be offensive? It is a mystery!

[CBS Local]

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Robyn Pennacchia

Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Previously, she was a Senior Staff Writer at Death & Taxes, and Assistant Editor at The Frisky (RIP). Currently, she writes for Wonkette, Friendly Atheist, Quartz and other sites. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse

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