Republican State Rep. Peter Hansen of New Hampshire bit his tongue on Wednesday, apologizing for an email he sent in early April in which he referred to women as “vaginas.”
The email was written in the midst of an email debate with colleagues about repealing the Stand Your Ground law, which allows the use of deadly force in self-defense. Hasen, 70, sent the email in response to Republican Rep. Steve Vaillancourt’s floor speech about the benefits of retreating when faced with imminent danger.
“There were two critical ingredients missing in the illustrious stories purporting to demonstrate the practical side of retreat. … What could possibly be missing from those factual tales of successful retreat in Vermont, Germany and the bowels of Amsterdam? Why children and vaginas of course. While the tales [of retreat] relate the actions of a solitary male, the outcome cannot relate to similar situations where children and women and mothers are the potential victims,” Hansen wrote on April 1.
The Stand Your Ground law was passed in New Hampshire last year but the House voted to repeal it.
On Tuesday, Hansen said he did not regret what he wrote, saying that the whole thing had been blown out of proportion.
“My point in the choice of words was twofold: One was shock content, and the other was to try to get into the mind of the perpetrator,” he told The Telegraph of Nashua.
But a day later, Hansen apologized for his remarks, explaining to his constituents and female colleges that his comments were “blatantly offensive, insensitive, and frankly, stupid language.
“I am embarrassed, to say the least,” he wrote in an email statement.
His comments hit hard in New Hampshire, which has a female governor and where women hold the state’s two U.S. House and two U.S. Senate seats, making New Hampshire the first state in history to have an all-female delegation in Washington.
Although he eventually apologized, the women of New Hampshire are not letting Hansen slide with those remarks. NARAL Pro-Choice NH, a national group that supports abortion rights, is now calling for his resignation.
“The people of New Hampshire deserve more than a representative who clearly does not respect women,” a petition on the group’s website reads.
“Women are more than their reproductive organs. They are daughters, sisters, mothers, friends, professionals and community leaders. They are human and they deserve more than being referenced by their body parts.”