Georgia Democrats propose limitations on vasectomies for men
State Rep. Yasmin Neal's bill comes in response to an abortion-restrictions bill that Georgia legislators are considering.
February 21st, 2012
06:23 PM ET

Georgia Democrats propose limitations on vasectomies for men

As members of Georgia’s House of Representatives debate whether to prohibit abortions for women more than 20 weeks pregnant, House Democrats  introduced their own reproductive rights plan: No more vasectomies that leave "thousands of children ... deprived of birth."

Rep. Yasmin Neal, a Democrat from the Atlanta suburb of Jonesboro, planned on Wednesday to introduce HB 1116, which would prevent men from vasectomies unless needed to avert serious injury or death.

The bill reads: "It is patently unfair that men avoid the rewards of unwanted fatherhood by presuming that their judgment over such matters is more valid than the judgment of the General Assembly. ... It is the purpose of the General Assembly to assert an invasive state interest in the reproductive habits of men in this state and substitute the will of the government over the will of adult men."

“If we legislate women’s bodies, it’s only fair that we legislate men’s,” said Neal, who said she wanted to write bill that would generate emotion and conversation the way anti-abortion bills do. “There are too many problems in the state. Why are you under the skirts of women? I’m sure there are other places to be."

Personally, Neal said, she has no qualms with vasectomies.

“But even if it were proposed as a serious issue,” she said, “it’s still not my place as a woman to tell a man what to do with his body."

The anti-vasectomy bill was a response to a bill that would punish abortions performed after the 20th week of pregnancy with prison sentences between one and 10 years. Georgia law currently prohibits abortion after the second trimester, except to preserve the life and health of the mother. Neal's bill borrows some language directly from the anti-abortion bill.

The anti-abortion bill makes exceptions to avert death or “serious risk of substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function” of the mother, but doesn’t include “diagnosis or claim of a mental or emotional condition.” If an abortion occurs after the 20th week, the bill requires doctors to attempt to deliver a living baby.

Earlier discussions about the bill have been “outstanding,” said Rep. Doug McKillip, a Republican from Athens, Georgia, who introduced the anti-abortion bill this month. He said legislators are “drilling down" on questions about when a fetus can feel pain and what exceptions can allow abortions later in pregnancy, and he expects more testimony late this week.

“I’m just disappointed in my colleague, that they would take this opportunity to make light of a very important topic,” McKillip said. “I believe this is a serious topic deserving of serious debate. It feels like a poor attempt at humor.”

Neal said she's serious about making legislators recognize women's rights to make private decisions about their bodies.

"I hope that through the madness this has caused, it gets him to understand where the woman is coming from," she said. "There are a number of women in other states trying the same ploys we’re trying here."

Earlier this month, Democratic Oklahoma Sen. Constance Johnson added - then withdrew - a provision to an anti-abortion bill that read "any action in which a man ejaculates or otherwise deposits semen anywhere but in a woman's vagina shall be interpreted and construed as an action against an unborn child." The state Senate passed the bill this month.

In January, as the Virginia state Senate debated a bill that required women to have an ultrasound before an abortion, Democrat Janet Howell attached an amendment that required men to have rectal exams and cardiac stress tests before they could receive prescriptions for erectile dysfunction medication like Viagra. The amendment was rejected in the Senate, 21-19.

CNN affiliate WAVY reported that hundreds gathered this week to protest the ultrasound bill,  which is up for a vote in Virginia's House of Delegates, and another that says life begins at conception.

On the Georgia House floor, Neal doesn't anticipate her anti-vasectomy bill will generate much serious debate.

"If it moves anywhere," she said, "that’ll be a very interesting day."

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Filed under: Abortion • Georgia • Health • Politics
soundoff (1,943 Responses)
  1. Susan Pellman

    i worked in an abortion clinic for 12 years.....in all those 12 years we never did one abortion to save a womens life. it was only for birth control.

    February 22, 2012 at 2:11 am | Report abuse |
    • Thinks2010

      It makes sense that you would not see abortions performed to save a woman's life being done at a clinic because those women are most likely hospitalized and the abortions are performed there.

      February 22, 2012 at 3:00 am | Report abuse |
    • jake

      What Thinks2010 said.

      February 22, 2012 at 9:33 am | Report abuse |
  2. Scottish Mama

    Susan I have never been to an abortion clinic, I do not think we should take away a womans right to choose though. I think we have to change the culture of the way we teach our children, think and act.

    February 22, 2012 at 2:19 am | Report abuse |
  3. nolimits3333

    50% of American women will have an unwanted pregnancy in their lifetime. The Republicans want the government to force these women to bring their pregnancy to term. Unwanted children are MUCH more likely to be abused.

    Therefore, Republicans are pro child abuse.

    And don't tell me an embryo is a human being. If it was, the thousands of frozen embryos in fertility labs in this country would have the right to own guns.

    February 22, 2012 at 2:31 am | Report abuse |
    • Rossko

      The absence of logic in this post is monumental. I am pro choice but what most pro choice people do not comprehend is that a pro life person looks at a fetus no different than a 1 year old baby – only more defenseless. So all of us would not allow a mother to kill a 1 year old child – to break it down – 1 second before birth – it's not a human – 1 second after birth – it is a human? The question is, when does life begin, then we don't have a debate so it's not a "rights" issue, or a "gender" issue – it is an unanswerable question which is why i'm pro-choice – make up your own mind and face your own god if you believe.

      February 22, 2012 at 2:56 am | Report abuse |
    • John

      I support a woman's right to choose because I cannot speak for anyone but myself, but of course abortion troubles me. Nonetheless your argument is weak. What do these terms have in common?-infanticide, homicide, forced euthanasia, abortion: they are all forms of killing another human being, the ONLY distinction being TIME. Even a zygote is, except as a function of time, a human being in that it cannot turn to frog or butterfly instead. So to me it is imperative that we practice birth control, in order to avoid the moral quandary that is abortion.

      February 22, 2012 at 3:15 am | Report abuse |
    • gaunt

      Quote" a pro life person looks at a fetus no different than a 1 year old baby"

      Yes. we know they do, and they are wrong. They are wrong, not because I say so, but because the world's medical and scientific community says so. There are strict biological criteria for defining a life form, and they do not apply to a fetus until week 23 or 24, when they gain independent survivability, also known as viability.

      This is why EVERY single major professional medical associetion in the US is pro-choice, and why EVERY single national medical associatrion in the first world is pro-choice. Its why, even though roughly 52-55% of the general population of the US is pro-choice, 78% of the US medical health community is pro-choice.

      You can feel free to not like abortions if you want, and if so, then dont have one. Thats your CHOICE. But dont try and impose your illogical, unscientific morality on others.

      February 22, 2012 at 3:38 am | Report abuse |
    • Randy Paré

      After 20 weeks, the odds of a developing fetus surviving a premature birth rise dramatically. My own first child, Genevieve, whose turning 14 soon, was one such – she born at 1 pound 4 ounces and as long as my hand. So how can such a baby NOT be a life?

      February 22, 2012 at 8:43 am | Report abuse |
  4. thanos

    Keep giving your rights away America. Just let the government control everything.

    February 22, 2012 at 2:35 am | Report abuse |
    • Dover5789

      Oddly enough, the party that claims to be the party of less government intrusion is the same party that wants to regulate what we do to ourselves and whom we can love and marry. Hypocrites=GOP

      February 22, 2012 at 4:00 am | Report abuse |
  5. Darlene Ayars-Feazell

    The invasive government is coming from the GOP. The freedom to persue one's path and opportunity is of the concensus of the people. WHO does the GOP represent?

    February 22, 2012 at 2:46 am | Report abuse |
    • jake

      The "good and moral Christians" of course. Do you expect anything less from the people who devote their lives to an invisible wizard in the sky? Incapable of taking control, they need a book and moronic legislators to guide them through life.

      February 22, 2012 at 9:40 am | Report abuse |
  6. Consistency!

    Insurance shouldn't cover vasectomy either for the reasons mentioned above. It's also against my religion for insurance to cover Viagra etc. To paraphrase a certain presidential candidate, "it doesn't work and it's bad for men." Who cares about facts? That's my religion and you have to respect it. It's also unnatural and against the will of God who is on speed dial and told me.

    Santorum for Ayatollah!

    February 22, 2012 at 2:51 am | Report abuse |
  7. Rossko

    point may be taken but don't our governments (even state) have some real issues to deal with? It is the same argument – we all agree life is worth defending – the question is when does life begin – some argue it exists within the "potential" (I think the Catholic church has this viewpoint) – I you believe in that then vasectomies and condoms would be the same as an abortion and this arguments holds water – on the other hand, I would suspect most people would argue it is after conception – and therefore unless a man has a fertilized egg this is not a valid comparison – but they are not after logic – they are trying to turn it into a gender versus gender issues.

    February 22, 2012 at 2:52 am | Report abuse |
    • Lee

      It is to a very large extent a gender vs gender issue. Most legislators voting to prevent choice are men telling women what they can or cannot do with their bodies. I think it's time we realize that we men do not own women or their bodies. That line of thinking should have gone out the window 100 years ago but I see some still think that way.

      February 22, 2012 at 3:07 am | Report abuse |
  8. Mad Cow

    Birth control prevents abortion.

    Support Planned Parenthood.

    February 22, 2012 at 2:56 am | Report abuse |
  9. John

    I am forever amazed how people want things both ways. No abortion, but ALSO no sex education. Good luck with that. Another one is this, that a miracle occurs when sperm meets egg (and I agree, what is created IS a miracle), but until that instant all you've got are separate bags of chemicals. I would say you have a moral obligation to prevent the miracle, prevent their meeting, if you can, until such time as you've thought about it and want it to happen. As long as it is un-wanted you must do something to prevent it, in fairness to yourself, your existing or future children, and the world you live in.

    February 22, 2012 at 3:05 am | Report abuse |
  10. Jacko

    Yasmin, as in the birth control pill ?

    Too funny

    February 22, 2012 at 3:06 am | Report abuse |
  11. Moral Compass

    Abortion should not be used as a form of Birth Control. A woman does have a right to choose. A right to choose to keep her legs closed. This is not a religious issue this is a moral issue and frankly if you are pro-choice you lack moral guidance.

    February 22, 2012 at 3:13 am | Report abuse |
    • Kate Johnson

      Wow, women have a right to keep her legs closed.....how about men keep it in their pants....that would also solve the problem. What we really need is the mandatory dna collection of all men, and when a baby's born, it's paternity is established, and that man is forced, by significant and severe penalty to support all of his offspring legitimate or otherwise. Since less than half of men pay child support for their legitimate children, this might do more to solve the problem. It seems to me, that women are always the ones who bear the primary penalty for the lack of a "moral compass" in the majority of men. It would be lovely if men actually took responsibility for there own lack of moral behavior instead of blaming women for it all (kind of like all those abusive men who blame their partner for having to beat her up). Though it is pretty typical, especially for the particularly weak and ignorant of the male species.

      February 22, 2012 at 3:24 am | Report abuse |
    • Thinks2010

      It would serve these sanctimonious fanatics right if women followed your plan and kept their knees locked tightly together except when they wanted to procreate. Of course this is the same group that advocates all unmarried women should do the same at all times. This would mean most men's "needs" would go unsatisfied most of the time. We also know that these same sanctimonious fanatics preach against all the alternative methods of satisfaction as well, so no joy there for anyone under their rules either. Somehow I think this would enjoy the same success as Prohibition and wouldn't last anywhere near as long. My guess is you would be among the first to sing a different tune if everyone started practicing what you preach.

      February 22, 2012 at 7:20 am | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      Ah, another misogynist rears its ugly head.
      The 'blame the woman' syndrome.

      Please don't breed, and if you already have, I feel sorry for your daughter.

      February 22, 2012 at 8:22 am | Report abuse |
  12. Kate Johnson

    You know, I'm pro life, however the idea forcing a transvaginal ultrasound on a woman as a punishment for having an abortion (which is exactly what it is) is profoundly vile, distasteful and revolting. Personally, I think the only reason this has been considered is because our government, especially in the south is a total sausage fest. I think the senator that added the amendment to require anal examines and cardiac stress tests in order to get Vigra was inspired. Medically, they should be getting an anal exam (to check for prostate cancer) and a cardiac stress test (to make sure they are healthy enough for sex) before getting Viagra, it's just not currently required. There's actually a more legitimate need for men to get these exams before receiving Viagra. There's absolutely no evidence that requiring an transvaginal ultrasound (which when given without consent is the equivalent of rape), would reduce abortion in the slightest. It probably just guarantees the women will go to a different state. It also probably assures that a woman that is assaulted in this manor, will never forget, that is was the "Christians" who advocated this assault, and while she most likely will still get an abortion, she will never want to listen to anything anyone ever wants to say about God again, ever.

    February 22, 2012 at 3:13 am | Report abuse |
  13. The Truth

    Murdering children is not a right it's a crime! If you're adult enough to have sex then you're adult enough to deal with what may happen as a result. These anti-life nuts need to stop.

    February 22, 2012 at 3:16 am | Report abuse |
  14. Artfulskeptic

    Foolishness. The abortion debate has never been about protecting fetuses and has always been about controlling women. The argument always always always comes down to the assertion, "She should have kept her legs shut." That's what the pro lifers want.They want to hurt and to punish women. Period.

    February 22, 2012 at 3:27 am | Report abuse |
    • Susan Pellman

      no actually some people believe a 8 month old baby should not be aborted on moral grounds...it has nothing to with controling wemon

      February 22, 2012 at 3:40 am | Report abuse |
    • Cynthia

      Right you are.

      February 22, 2012 at 5:40 am | Report abuse |
    • Cynthia

      I mean, right you are, Artfulskeptic.

      February 22, 2012 at 5:41 am | Report abuse |
    • Randy Paré

      No it is about recognizing certain uncomfortable truths. After 20 weeks, the odds of a developing fetus surviving a premature birth rise dramatically. My own first child, Genevieve, whose turning 14 soon, was one such [born at 1 pound 4 ounces and as long as my hand]. So how can such a baby NOT be a life?

      February 22, 2012 at 8:45 am | Report abuse |
  15. Gaunt

    Quote: "a pro life person looks at a fetus no different than a 1 year old baby"

    Yes. we know they do, and they are wrong. They are wrong, not because I say so, but because the world's medical and scientific community says so. There are strict biological criteria for defining a life form, and they do not apply to a fetus until week 23 or 24, when they gain independent survivability, also known as viability.

    This is why EVERY single major professional medical associetion in the US is pro-choice, and why EVERY single national medical associatrion in the first world is pro-choice. Its why, even though roughly 52-55% of the general population of the US is pro-choice, 78% of the US medical health community is pro-choice.

    You can feel free to not like abortions if you want, and if so, then dont have one. Thats your CHOICE. But dont try and impose your illogical, unscientific morality on others.

    February 22, 2012 at 3:39 am | Report abuse |
    • Susan Pellman

      if a society finds abortions offensive they can outlaw it..........that what society is.

      February 22, 2012 at 3:41 am | Report abuse |
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