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February 24, 2014 4:54 PM An Antichoice Freudian Slip

By Ed Kilgore

Some will just dismiss this story (per HuffPost’s Laura Bassett) as an example of progressives jumping on a malapropism uttered by a random conservative state legislator, but I’d say it’s more like a Freudian slip:

A pregnant woman is just a “host” that should not have the right to end her pregnancy, Virginia State Sen. Steve Martin (R) wrote in a Facebook rant defending his anti-abortion views.
Martin, the former chairman of the Senate Education and Health Committee, wrote a lengthy post about his opinions on women’s bodies on his Facebook wall last week in response to a critical Valentine’s Day card he received from reproductive rights advocates.
“I don’t expect to be in the room or will I do anything to prevent you from obtaining a contraceptive,” Martin wrote. “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.”

After the Facebook post got some attention, Martin amended it to change “host” to “bearer of the child,” which I guess is marginally less insulting.

But this is the standard RTL position, and why most antichoicers oppose “rape and incest” exceptions other than as a matter of tactical flexibility. Once a zygote exists, it’s a person and a baby and has rights equal to (if not superior to, because of its “innocent” nature) the mother, or the “bearer of the child,” or the “host,” or however you want to put it. No interest of the woman in terminating the pregnancy (or even preventing it, if that happens after fertilization) other than preservation of her own life can possibly trump that “right to life.”

I’d say “host” perfectly captures the position of women in the antichoice moral universe, if not “slave.”

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.

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