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. SmokeyWaterz

    Representative Neal's misuse of the legislative system is reprehensible.

    February 22, 2012 at 10:40 am | Report abuse |
    • Bruce

      The war on women is reprehensible.. Stop whining.

      February 22, 2012 at 10:49 am | Report abuse |
    • Epidi

      Legislators misuse of the system to control the reproductive choices for women based on thier religious views is even more reprehensible.

      February 22, 2012 at 10:50 am | Report abuse |
    • Jim

      Amen +1 .. How do these people get elected?

      February 22, 2012 at 11:12 am | Report abuse |
  2. Itreallydoesntmatterwhatwethink

    Fair enough it seems

    February 22, 2012 at 10:40 am | Report abuse |
  3. Andrew

    I don't know why they flag my comments, probably because its not liberal enough. The male equivalency to abortions would be if a male could terminate parental responsibility for the unborn baby before 20 weeks. Tubal ligation is the female equivalent to vasectomies. Nobody really expects women's rights groups to actually think straight though, they just twist issues to get more more more. Hey women, what about responsibility for your own body. No male can terminate after the fact.

    February 22, 2012 at 10:41 am | Report abuse |
    • Sick of Bigots

      They flag your comments because you are and a$$hat who should be put on a barge and set adrift with all the other people who think that women should be told what to do with their bodies.

      February 22, 2012 at 10:47 am | Report abuse |
    • RayFerguson

      Andrew, perhaps you should look into the statistics of men who, in fact, exercise the very option that you articulated. Men can, and do, walk away with no intention of responsibility everyday.

      February 22, 2012 at 10:47 am | Report abuse |
    • Andrew

      Men are made to pay if the female decides she wants his money or she goes on social assistance.

      February 22, 2012 at 10:49 am | Report abuse |
    • Epidi

      Hmmmm, then why didn't they wear a condom if they don't want a baby? I guess the women have to do everything for you. Do you need your nose wiped now, or any other orifice?

      February 22, 2012 at 10:53 am | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      That's what women want...to take responsibility for their own bodies.
      Thanks for making that point.

      February 22, 2012 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
  4. RayFerguson

    I have greatly enjoyed reading the various responses, however,this legislator is simply exercising a smart way to combat invasive legislation. This bill must be taken in perspective of the Republican fight to prevent birth control to be covered by insurance for all women. Now, let's add in that all things for ED are covered by insurance when in fact it is in now way a life saving medication. It is not a necessity. There is no social value nor pregnancy avoidance with those medications. It is not about a pro-life or pro-choice argument. Her legislation is about equal rights under the law. A woman's body should be hers to control, yet it is not. Even a single woman under 40 who wants a tubal, is told by physicians to wait until she is 40. Why not tell men that the same is true of them? Equal advantages and equal restrictions. To my conservative counterparts, can you help me justify why a male should have greater rights under the law than a woman?

    February 22, 2012 at 10:44 am | Report abuse |
    • momoya

      When it comes to pregnancy, we women have more rights than men; we can terminate the fetus regardless of what the sperm donor would like us to do. Men don't have that right, and if the woman wants to carry the fetus to term, she can force the father to pay quite dearly for many years. That's just the way it is.

      February 22, 2012 at 10:48 am | Report abuse |
    • Sick of Bigots

      Well said. Thank you

      February 22, 2012 at 10:48 am | Report abuse |
    • Andrew

      Smart in your world maybe. The equivalent to vasectomies is tubal ligation, not abortion.

      February 22, 2012 at 10:58 am | Report abuse |
    • Lee

      Ray, Insurance coverage for Viagra is approved only in the cases of nerve damage and the patient is still fertile – able to impregnate female(s). The argument on abortion is tax payer funded, ie., Planned Parenthood is a federally funded organization providing health care for, among others, women. The care provided includes abortion as well as breast exams, pap smears and pregnancy related issues.

      February 22, 2012 at 11:17 am | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      Lee, maybe I misread your post, but you are aware that you tax dollars that go to PP are NOT used to fund abortions, aren't you?

      February 22, 2012 at 11:59 am | Report abuse |
  5. Mike

    The funny thing is that this could back fire on them since the biggest opponent of abortions (Catholics) are also against vasectomies.

    February 22, 2012 at 10:45 am | Report abuse |
    • Lee

      Catholics are not against vasectomies....Mormons are. Catholics are against artificial means of birth control...such as condoms and the pill....

      February 22, 2012 at 11:20 am | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      And vasectomies occur naturally?

      February 22, 2012 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Andrew

    If you want equality, why not allow a man to terminate his parental responsibility if the woman does not want to get an abortion. That's a little too equal for leftys and feminists.

    February 22, 2012 at 10:48 am | Report abuse |
    • Bobbert

      I like name calling. Keep it up brother. You tell those communists!

      February 22, 2012 at 10:52 am | Report abuse |
    • Epidi

      Women already have the equality with men of being stupid not to use contraception to at least try to prevent pregnancy. I got pregnant while on the pill (too low a dosage) but my hubby didn't want to wear a condom and then guess what happened. Both partners need to use contraception. Condoms, unlike women's contraceptives also prevent diseases. Cover it up or STFU.

      February 22, 2012 at 10:58 am | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      what is this, 9 times now?
      You're whining.

      February 22, 2012 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Bobbert

    So sick of the whinning about womens rights. This is why we shouldn't let them run for office. Rediculous.

    February 22, 2012 at 10:51 am | Report abuse |
    • Epidi

      So sick of men who spend the rest of thier lives desperatly trying to climb back into the type of hole they crawled out of at birth and then whine about it if we say no. Troll!

      February 22, 2012 at 11:00 am | Report abuse |
    • Darw1n

      Wow, why don't you head on back to the 50's Bobbert

      February 22, 2012 at 11:03 am | Report abuse |
  8. Andrew

    If they want true equality men could terminate their parental responsibilities if the woman doesn't want an abortion.

    February 22, 2012 at 10:52 am | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      10 times. Shhhh....

      February 22, 2012 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Steve

    Ms Neil is an idiot. There isn't any other explanation.

    February 22, 2012 at 10:52 am | Report abuse |
  10. Andrew

    She can have an abortion and kill the baby, but a man can't even walk away from the legal responsibility. And leftys and feminists whine about equality on this issue. They're plain S T U P I D.

    February 22, 2012 at 10:56 am | Report abuse |
    • Viv's Mommy

      Nowhere in this article does it whine about equality...simply that a Va-lady-part is not your responsibility, its mine and I can be responsible by terminating a pregnancy that wouldn't be financially, or emotionally right for either me, my Va-lady-parts or the would be child. Do you want more welfare babies??? 'Cause that's what it creates. Look at facts before you get a whole bunch of feminists cackling.
      As indicated by my name here....I have a perfect 'surprise' little girl. She has only one parent, and because of that if I had decided not to go through with having her because I didn't feel as though I could handle it...that would be me and my Va-lady-parts choice.

      February 22, 2012 at 2:29 pm | Report abuse |
  11. colt45

    Where are all the comments, CNN? Only a few came up.

    February 22, 2012 at 10:58 am | Report abuse |
  12. Jane

    When it comes to pregnancy, we women have more rights than men; we can terminate the fetus regardless of what the sperm donor would like us to do. Men don't have that right, and if the woman wants to carry the fetus to term, she can force the father to pay quite dearly for many years. That's just the way it is

    February 22, 2012 at 10:59 am | Report abuse |
  13. Jenny

    If a man doesn't want to have children so be it. There are too many unwanted children out there anyways.

    February 22, 2012 at 10:59 am | Report abuse |
  14. bairdduvessa

    this is brilliant!

    February 22, 2012 at 11:01 am | Report abuse |
  15. Les

    "every sperm is precious" to quote Monty Python. Every ejaculation is the death of hundreds of thousands of children....sarcasm indicated....

    February 22, 2012 at 11:03 am | Report abuse |
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