House Speaker Jose Oliva apologized Friday for repeatedly calling pregnant women “host bodies” in an interview with CBS Miami’s Jim DeFeda about abortion, which was published Thursday night.
The Miami Lakes Republican in a statement apologized several times for the phrase, which he said was “an attempt to use the terminology found in medical ethics writings to keep the discussion impartial. The reaction certainly shows that it had the exact opposite effect. ”
“I apologize for the insult, my goal was the opposite,” he added. “This was and will be the biggest challenge for our society. I firmly believe that both mother and child have rights, and the extent and balance of these rights remains in question. I am sorry that my wording distracted from the problem. I apologize to everyone. ”
Oliva mentioned “the host’s body” several times during an interview with DeFed, host of the show “Facing South Florida.”
“The problem is that there are two lives involved. I believe that we should not interfere with people’s lives, but I do not believe that people’s lives should be taken away, ”he told DeFede in the first part of an interview published on Thursday. “This is a difficult problem, because one has to think well, there is a host body, and this host body must have a certain amount of rights, because after all, it is this body that carries all this other body in time. But there is extra life. “.
“What is the limit to which we are going to give one person complete control over the life of another?” he asked rhetorically.
He also used this phrase when referring to using vitality as a standard for limiting abortion: “As technology advances, the human body may exist earlier and earlier outside of its host body. So then one has to consider, until when does the host body have veto power over this other life? ”
When he defended his position that life begins at the moment of conception, it reappeared.
“The only definition of life science is that which grows: from the moment conception occurs, growth begins. So from a scientific point of view, this is what it is, ”he said. “But that is not the question. The question is, what is the value of this life? And does she obey the value of her host body? ”
When asked how he uses the phrase during interviews, Oliva said that he tries to avoid heavy terms: “We can either use technical terms on both sides, or we can just use both lives. I would be happy to do both. The real question is that there are two lives. Both have weight and quality. Both need protection. What is this balance? ”
Critics were quick to point out Oliva’s terminology after a snippet of the interview was released.
Florida Democratic Party Chairman Terry Rizzo accused Oliva of insulting Florida women and called his comments “offensive, inhuman and misogynistic.”
“You expect to hear this offensive language in The Handmaid’s Tale, not the Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives,” she said.
But Rep. Kyonne McGee of Miami, a senior House Democrat, spoke out for Oliva following his apology on Friday.
“Although the speaker [Oliva] and I probably disagree 99% of the time on politics and 100% on THIS ISSUE, I consider him a principled and respectful person who seeks to treat others fairly,” he wrote on Twitter: Oliva’s statement.
Abortion is not a top legislative priority this year, but several bills have been introduced to significantly curtail the practice. Among them is the “fetal heartbeat” bill, which will aim to ban abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detected by vaginal ultrasound, which can be done in as little as six weeks.