Pro-Life Senator Criticized for Calling Mothers 'Hosts' in Facebook Post

A pro-life senator from Virginia has come under fire for describing childbearing women as "hosts," in a Facebook post denouncing abortion. Although the senator has been criticized for his word choice, he has defended his statement, saying it was meant to mimic the pro-abortion advocates' view of women.

Sen. Stephen H. Martin (R-Chesterfield) wrote the controversial Facebook post in response to a card he received on Valentine's Day from the Virginia Pro-Choice Coalition encouraging him to change his opposition to abortion. Martin has previously supported tougher regulations for abortion clinics, a fetal personhood bill, as well as legislation that requires women to undergo an ultrasound before going through with the life-ending procedure.

"All women deserve access to their full range of reproductive health options – including preventing unintentional pregnancies, raising healthy children, and choosing safe, legal abortion – and your votes only make it more difficult for Virginians to plan and provide for their families," the note from the Virginia Pro-Choice Coalition read.

In his response posted on Facebook, Sen. Martin called the note "nonsense" and said he would never support abortion. "I don't expect to be in the room [nor] 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."

Martin's post received criticism from some who argued his use of the word "host" demeaned women, and the politician should have instead referred to childbearing women as "mothers." The senator receive a rash of criticism during a Senate meeting, with Sen. Barbara A. Favola (D-Arlington) saying Martin's statement "demonstrates a total lack of respect for women and a lack of respect for their bodies."

Still, Martin has defended his statement, saying his comments were taken out of context and the purpose of his original post was to mimic the pro-abortion group's own arguments in a mocking way.

"Please note that I accented that fact by parenthetically stating that some of us call them 'mothers.' The point of that parenthetical reference was to point out they are not 'hosts.' They are mothers. Mothers are a critically important lynchpin of society," Martin clarified in the "comments" section of his original post.

"Not just because of the nurturing of children they carry in their womb, and throughout their lives. But, also because of the compassion they carry, and their tireless commitment to all they do in homes, communities, and workplaces. With all that they also bring a perspective no one else can bring that serves us throughout their lifetime. The lesson to be learned here is that where an offense is sought it can be found," he added.

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