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Florida Speaker Jose Oliva Issues Apology For Abortion 'Host Body' Comments On CBS4

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Incoming Florida House Speaker Jose Oliva is apologizing for comments he made about abortion while taping an interview for CBS4's Facing South Florida with Jim DeFede.

Jose Oliva
Florida House Speaker Jose Oliva appears on Facing South Florida With Jim DeFede on March 3, 2019 (CBS4)

During the interview, which airs Sunday at 11:30 a.m., Oliva used the clinical term "host body" to describe pregnant women five times.

Friday morning, Oliva released the following statement, "In a recent interview where the very controversial topic of abortion was raised I used the term 'host' to describe a pregnant woman. It was an attempt to use terminology found in medical ethics writings with the purpose of keeping the discussion dispassionate. The reaction undoubtedly shows it had the exact opposite effect. I apologize for having caused offense, my aim was the contrary. This is and will continue to be our societies greatest challenge. I strongly believe both mother and child have rights and the extent and balance of those rights remain in question. I regret my wording has distracted from the issue. My apologies to all."

Oliva describes himself as a small government, conservative who believes people should be allowed to live their lives as they see fit.

"I think people should be able to make the decisions that they would like to make for themselves," he explained. "I don't want to encumber someone's ability to make their decisions. I don't want to tell anyone how to live their lives," he said.

When asked about abortion, the Miami Lakes Republican said the issue was more complicated.

"Well the challenge there is that there are two lives involved," he said. "So, where I believe that we should stay out of people's lives, I don't believe that people's lives should be taken.

It's a complex issue because one has to think, well there's a host body and that host body has to have a certain amount of rights because at the end of the day it is that body that that carries this entire other body to term. But there is an additional life there.

"When he was asked about the term "host body," and whether it is demeans women, Oliva said he was just trying to be technically accurate in his language.

When the 2019 Florida legislature gavels into session next week, Oliva will be the first representative from Miami-Dade County to hold the speakership since Marco Rubio in 2007 and 2008.

(More of the interview will be available on Sunday morning at 11:30 on CBS Miami's Facing South Florida. Oliva will discuss Education, Healthcare, Guns, Marijuana and a number of other issues facing this year's Legislature. It will also be available on

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