Steve Martin, a Republican State Senator in Virginia, seemed perturbed when he received a Valentine’s Day mailing from the Virginia Pro-Choice Coalition. In the mailing, the coalition told Martin that they were “disappointed” in his voting record on women’s health care. The group asked the senator to protect women’s reproductive health options, “including preventing unwanted pregnancies, raising healthy children and choosing safe, legal abortion.”
Martin didn’t take kindly to the correspondence from the Virginia Pro-Choice Coalition and responded in—what some would call—an off-putting manner. As Andrea Marcotte of Slate said, “Virginia Republicans just don’t know how to avoid being wildly offensive.” She added that Martin was the “latest in a long line of Virginia politicians offering weird and unsettling opinions regarding women…” Senator Martin turned to Facebook to respond to the coalition:
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.
Marcotte editorialized on Martin’s response to the coalition:
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.
According to Huffington Post, Martin edited the original wording of his comments on Facebook because–according to Martin–people took what he said the wrong way—“even though he felt it was clear he was being sarcastic.” He said, “I don’t see how anyone could have taken it the wrong way. It was me playing their argument back to them. Obviously I consider pregnant women to be mothers.”
No, Senator Martin, it certainly isn’t obvious that you consider pregnant women to be mothers.
And as for your “sarcasm”—it stinks!