Virginia Lawmaker Calls Pregnant Women "Hosts"

What Women Really Think
Feb. 24 2014 3:06 PM

Virginia Lawmaker Calls Pregnant Women "Hosts"

Virginia Republicans just don't know how to avoid being wildly offensive. The latest in a long line of Virginia politicians offering weird and unsettling opinions regarding women is state Sen. Steve Martin. Perturbed that he got a generic Valentine's Day mailing from a pro-choice coalition that called on politicians to not restrict abortion or reduce access to contraception, Martin went on Facebook to cough up an immediate classic:

You can count on me to never get in the way of you "preventing an unintentional pregnancy." I'm not actually sure what that means, because if it's "unintentional" you must have been trying to prevent it. And, I don't expect to be in the room or will I do anything to prevent you from obtaining a contraceptive. However, once a child does exist in your womb, I'm not going to assume a right to kill it just because the child's host (some refer to them as mothers) doesn't want it.
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The wording about pregnant women being "hosts," which confirms every worst suspicion that pro-choicers have about abortion opponents, is sure to grab all the headlines. The contraception language isn't a whole lot better, however. As is typical with many conservative men on this issue, there's a tendency to talk about contraception in distancing language that makes it sound like an outré sexual kink instead of a normal part of women's health care. Overall, women come across, in this passage, as foreign creatures whose behavior is both alien and somewhat disgusting and who only hold interest to Martin insofar as they are the "hosts" to embryonic life. On the one-to-10 scale of right-wing misogyny, I give this an 8.5: more stomach-turning than refusing to use the word vagina while trying to pass laws controlling it but still falling short of the gold standard, "legitimate rape."

Amanda Marcotte is a Brooklyn-based writer and DoubleX contributor. She also writes regularly for the Daily Beast, AlterNet, and USA Today. Follow her on Twitter.