The Oklahoma 56th Legislature’s first session of 2017 has begun. Unintentionally, in the first week I have managed to spark a national debate with House Bill 1441. Many people are calling it an abortion bill which has caused a heated discussion as it usually does. It is a Father’s Rights Bill, not an abortion bill.
Actually, the bill does not aim to stop abortion; it seeks to include fathers along with the mother in the decision of having or not having an abortion. The bill states that, except in case of rape, incest, or danger to the mother’s life the father should have a say in the future of his unborn child, which at the present time is not afforded to the man. While I was defending the bill the local and national media started hysteria over my use of the term host. This term was completely taken out of context, many times I have discovered by people who have not even read the bill.
It started when I posed a question concerning the possibility of a surrogate deciding to abort the child of a couple who have placed their fertilized egg in the responsibility of the surrogate. I gave the media an example that if a man and woman were unable to have a child and would harvest the woman’s egg and the man’s sperm then fertilize the egg they could find a third party to serve as host to their fertilized egg. The word host means a person who receives or entertains other people as guests; therefore, a third party host would be the correct language. I am sure surrogate mother would have been a better choice of words because it would not have stirred up the controversy over the use of one word. My thinking is that this is a ploy to take the attention away from the true need for the bill and keep it on a trivial word that can be changed in the language of the bill if it is offensive.
Currently, I have agreed to pull the title from the bill which means that it will move forward but cannot become law until the house agrees to return the title. This is done to allow time to improve the language of the bill and work on valid issues. I was able to move the bill out of committee, which was a huge win.
It is interesting how the media and a segment of people have jumped on mass hysteria about this term, accusing me of disrespect to women and treating a baby as a parasite. I never made any comment that should draw that conclusion. I believe their interpretation of the term host, represents their views of women and pregnancy, not mine.
Because of my stance to give fathers the right to save their unborn child, I have received death threats, lewd comments, and my family, friends, and my church have been targeted. I regret the suffering for my family, friends, and church. But, gladly welcome the privilege to stand for high principles that protect unborn children, the moral principles of right behavior, and provide the right of fathers to have a voice in their child’s future.
Many say that this conversation or bill is untimely due to the budget shortfalls and other government problems. I say what could be more important than saving the life of children. I will continue to stand and not waver for issues that I believe are important to the people of District 19.
I look forward to my next report when I will advise of other bills that I am working on that will help improve our lives in District 19, I want to thank all those who have voiced their support for me and House Bill 1441.
With my greatest admiration for the people of District 19,
Justin “JJ” Humphrey
Humphrey is state representative for District 19.