A conservative Alabama politician and former gubernatorial candidate has been slammed by reports that he had secretly been donating sperm to lesbian couples in New Zealand.
As the New Zealand Herald is reporting, Bill Johnson -- who ran for governor of Alabama in 2009 -- has spent most of this year in Christchurch helping run the earthquake recovery without his wife, Kathy, all the while using the online persona "chchbill" to meet women who want help to get pregnant.
The Herald quotes the 53-year-old Johnson as saying the urge to become a biological father inspired him to donate sperm, after revealing that his wife couldn't get pregnant following a hysterectomy. "There is nothing my wife would want to give me more in the world than a child of my own," he said. "Every person who is a father and a mother knows why I am doing this. If life's circumstances had dealt me a different hand I wouldn't be doing this. It is not the hand that life has dealt my wife. Reproduction and having children is as basic a human need as eating."
The Sydney Morning Herald reports that Johnson discussed making donations to at least nine women, and three are now pregnant, while he has also assisted a further three with donations in the past month. Though Johnson had campaigned for governor on a conservative Christian platform which opposed same-sex marriage, the New Zealand Herald reports several of the women interviewed were in lesbian relationships. When pressed, Johnson only noted he did not know the "relationship status" of the women he donated to, according to the publication.
One of the pregnant women, who is in a same-sex relationship, is quoted as saying of Johnson: "We found Bill to be really nice. He's a really supportive guy."
Johnson's wife has declined to comment on the case, telling the Alabama Press-Register, "This is a really, really difficult time for our family. I'm still in disbelief and very hurt, and our family has a lot of healing to do.”
Watch a 2009 video of Johnson on the campaign trail below: