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. Teri

    They aren't really trying to prohibit vasectomies. They are just pushing this to try to prove a point – either regulate men and women or don't regulate either.

    That said, last time we checked into a vasectomy, you had to be over 30 and have had at least 2 kids and the wife had to sign off on it. But, I honestly don't remember if this was a state rule or a military rule.

    February 21, 2012 at 7:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nah

      teri: "They aren't really trying to prohibit vasectomies. They are just pushing this to try to prove a point – either regulate men and women or don't regulate either."

      And the point they're proving is a fallacy. Why? Because the scenarios aren't analogous.

      People who are against abortion are against it not because they want to "legislate women's bodies" but because, in their view, abortion involves two people: the mother and the child. And preventing harms, if you remember your Mill, is the proper aim of legislation.

      It'd be nice if abortion proponents stopped misconstruing the issue.

      February 21, 2012 at 8:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • George

      Vasectomy for men is same as tubal ligation in woman. Not that same as an abortion.

      February 21, 2012 at 8:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nonia

      Teri, there's no 'rule' to vasectomies. It's just up to the clinic whether or not they want to do it and what conditions they want to have met. My husband and I both are in our early 30's, and neither one of us has kids, nor do we want them. They did have me sign a slip, but it wasn't a permission slip. It was a slip making sure that I understood what the procedure was and what it would do to make sure we both knew that it was permanent and not just something we could have reversed if we decide later to have biological children.

      February 21, 2012 at 8:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nah

      george: "Vasectomy for men is same as tubal ligation in woman. Not that same as an abortion."

      Exactly. They're not analogous. And the people who think they are - and who think the legitimacy of vasectomies legitimize abortions - really have no intelligence to speak of.

      February 21, 2012 at 8:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Margaret

      Both prevent conception and that is against the rights of the egg and sperm to become a human. This is all so ridiculous.

      February 21, 2012 at 10:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • LOL

      The issue is if the government has the ability to regulate what a person is able to do with their body. Whether vasectomy or abortion are analogous is not the point. To what extent is the government to be involved in what we do with our own bodies, man or woman? That is the issue. Roe v. Wade, read it, learn it.

      February 22, 2012 at 10:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • geekgirl42

      @Nah-"People who are against abortion are against it not because they want to "legislate women's bodies" but because, in their view, abortion involves two people: the mother and the child". Exactly the point. It involves the mother and her body. You can't legislate what happens to a fetus without also legislating what happens with the woman's body. And by the way, pro-choice proponents are not "pro-abortion", we just think the government has no place in this issue. Individuals should be able to make these reproductive decisions for themselves, as difficult as they are.

      February 23, 2012 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
  2. abcdxyz

    Dudes, she introduced this bill not because she wants it to be passed, but because she wants people to see how ridiculous this kind of invasion of personal privacy is! She'd be horrified if it passed!

    February 21, 2012 at 7:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bob Knippel

      Stupid bills should not be introduced no matter what the reason. Such stupid actions make a joke of a position which voters deserve to have maintained at the highest level of seriousness at all times. Given ample enough opportunity in being presented, sooner or later a stupid bill will pass and be law.

      February 21, 2012 at 8:19 pm | Report abuse |
  3. yaysayer

    Why not any man that creates a pregnacy that requires an abortion is also guilty as an accessrory to the infancide. Why make the woman sholder all the blame. It takes two.

    February 21, 2012 at 7:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jean

      Exactly. Some people have forgotten that men are equally responsible for pregnancies.

      February 21, 2012 at 8:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • A

      Actually, when it comes to child support, forcing men to support children that aren't their own, and giving custody primarily to women, as a country we seem to have a firm grasp that it takes two to tango. But only one apparently pays.

      February 21, 2012 at 9:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      Provided that the man is given the "right of refusal" over whether or not the woman aborts his offspring, I see no problem making it a joint liability.

      February 22, 2012 at 10:32 am | Report abuse |
    • Kt

      There are many men who never know that the woman is even pregnant. He's not responsible for the abortion if he never knew the pregnancy to exist to begin with. Thats the womans cross to bear.

      February 22, 2012 at 11:33 am | Report abuse |
    • mom of 2

      Thank you for that, I keep reading about how an abortion is between the mother and her unborn baby, what about the father of that unborn baby? He bears no responsibility for his part?

      February 22, 2012 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Me

      @A: "Actually, when it comes to child support, forcing men to support children that aren't their own, and giving custody primarily to women, as a country we seem to have a firm grasp that it takes two to tango. But only one apparently pays."

      I assume you refer to the father having to provide financial responsibility when you say "only one apparently pays". I find it incredibly offensive that you feel that money is all that is required to raise a child. Obviously, you either have no children, or have had little involvement in their upbringing (which might be a good thing given your limited understanding of what it takes) because raising a child on your own is no walk in the park buddy.

      I have a spouse that helps support our family financially, emotionally, and mentally. However, when his job takes him away for three of four weeks every month, I do become the one and only to raise our one child and it's damn hard. I can only begin to scratch the surface of what a true single parent has to go through day in and day out without any of these support systems.

      I challenge you, A, to try and take an active role with you children for just one week on your own with no one there to help you, then come back to this board and let everyone know if it really only take money.

      February 22, 2012 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • B

      A, the mother pays too. The child support paid by the man is just that – support. It does not cover all the expenses of a child. Well at least for the average wage earner. You men are so caught up in being the "victim" in all of this because you have to pay a pittance out of your paycheck to help provide for a child that YOU played a part in creating. Yes, there are those women out there who want to get pregnant and will go to any lengths to get that way, so that is why you must protect yourself and start thinking with the head on your shoulders and not the one between your legs.

      February 22, 2012 at 5:45 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Ken margo

    All jokes aside. WHO IS GOING TO PAY FOR THESE KIDS! Kids cost money. I know because I have two. CNN/Money had an article that stated it cost over $225,000 to raise a child form birth to 18. (That doesn't include college) If the parents can't afford it, guess who pays it (THE TAXPAYER) This country should be handing out birth control pills, RU486, Morning After and condoms like they were in PEZ dispensers. I'm tired of all this conservative crap. I don't see pro-lifers offering any money to help those babies they want so badly to be born.

    February 21, 2012 at 7:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lynn

      I've said that for years. When the anti-abortionists were picketing a women's health clinic years ago, I passed a legal pad for them to sign on the line, how many kids they would adopt and raise if a woman was prevented from an abortion because of their picketing. They looked at me like I had 2 heads, they didn't understand the connection. Women don't go around getting abortions for a fun thing to do, they all have personal reasons. It's not for any one else to question their motives. Butt out.

      February 21, 2012 at 7:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • ladybear

      Not sure about where all you folks live, but in our part of the world, when friends of mine, well qualified, loving people, financially secure wanted to adopt, they were told there was a very long waiting list. About 2500 people ahead of them at that time, it took about 5 years before they made it to the top of the list. So not likely anyone would have to raise a child they didn't want. The reason there are so many overseas adoptions is because of the shortage of children available for adoption here. Because of the large numbers of abortions. 20 weeks should be more than enough time to make the decision about a pregnancy, keep it or loose it. After that, bring to term and give it a wonderful life by letting some one who wants a child adopt.

      February 21, 2012 at 8:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Occupy Wall Street for Senate 2016

      Or maybe make it more affordable to raise a kid?

      You know, keep food commodities out of reach of the greedy bankster day traders.

      You know, keep oil commodities out of reach of greedy bankster day traders.

      You know, keep housing affordable for the masses instead of money making schemes for the bankster day traders.

      February 21, 2012 at 8:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nah

      lynn: "Women don't go around getting abortions for a fun thing to do, they all have personal reasons. It's not for any one else to question their motives. Butt out."

      Brilliantly fallacious argument.

      First, whether someone is a hypocrite has no bearing on the issue. Or if an alcoholic said "alcoholism is bad" would you seriously contend that alcoholism is, therefore, good?

      Second, the issue isn't about adoption, it's about whether or not abortion should be permissible. The two questions are entirely divorced.

      February 21, 2012 at 8:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • csajhr

      Ladybear,

      I agree that the number of purely white, newborn babies are probably pretty small, and that makes them in high demand. I think you could go to any decent sized city and find any number of children in the system that are looking for a loving family to take care of them. The problem is that your white friends don't want to take care of one of those kids. It's the old saying: beggars can't be choosers. In this case, they are choosing, so they have to wait a long long time for their choice.

      It's pretty disgusting to hear you say that there is a shortage of children in this country who needs caring people to take them in.

      February 22, 2012 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • geekgirl42

      @Ladybear, it's a fine thing to encourage and support mothers who are considering abortions to carry their babies to term so that they can be given to a good home, but leave the government out of it. How many of these so-called "soldiers of God's will" on this issue would put down their picket signs and volunteer to financially support and help a woman in this situation? My guess is very few.

      February 23, 2012 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      That is not a true statement, there are 5 couples or more trying to adopt for every child available for adoption. I know this because my wife and I are trying to adopt. My comment is not intended to take sides in this issue, but as an individual that would love to have the opportunity to raise someone else's biological child. I take issue with statements that would suggest that those of us that encourage individuals to consider adoption instead of abortion be willing to "offer money to pay for those kids" we already are willing to.

      February 24, 2012 at 5:29 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Andrew Vrba

    So, basically it's okay to moan and complain about the women's rights, but what about the rights of the baby?

    February 21, 2012 at 7:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lynn

      Until it can live on it's own and not connected to an umbilical cord, it's a parasite, living off of another. Using the term baby is a hot-button term, meant to create hostility. Again, butt out.

      February 21, 2012 at 7:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Patriarchae

      Nobody is, or has, been discussing babies. This is about fetuses and zygotes. They are not babies, they cannot survive independently, so they do not and should not have the same rights as viable, independent, developed humans. What you are suggesting is absurd.

      February 21, 2012 at 8:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nah

      lynn: "Until it can live on it's own and not connected to an umbilical cord, it's a parasite, living off of another. Using the term baby is a hot-button term, meant to create hostility. Again, butt out."

      Another ironic fallacy.

      Using the word "parasite" is loaded language. Using it is only "meant to create hostility". Much less, it also applies to newborns who live off their mother's milk.

      And in fact, because this "parasite" was a life that was created by you, it seems you have the utmost duty to make sure it lives and survives until it's independent.

      "Until it can live on its own"

      Ah, yes. Until it can live on its own. So if a person is on a ventilator - and cannot live on their own - it's permissible to kill them?

      February 21, 2012 at 8:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nah

      patria: "This is about fetuses and zygotes. They are not babies, they cannot survive independently, so they do not and should not have the same rights as viable, independent, developed humans. What you are suggesting is absurd."

      Nah. It's about babies. You know, the things fetuses turn into. You know, the things that are killed when you abort a fetus because *gasp* the baby that would have been born is gone forever.

      Much less, if your definition of a "human" is someone who "independent" and "viable", then newborns are fair game for killing. The same is true for people with mental and physical deformities. After all, both of them are hardly "developed", are they?

      It's not surprising that someone so totally incapable of using logic would be pro-abortion. It's just sad that you think you're being intelligent with your arguments.

      February 21, 2012 at 8:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      The use of the term "fetus, zygote," and now "parasite" (someone sounds like they're off their medication) simply serve to dehumanize the murder victim. It's a common technique that dictators and serial-killers have used for centuries.

      February 22, 2012 at 10:35 am | Report abuse |
    • MrHanson

      Wow Lynn. You really have a low view on human life. A parasite? Really? By your definition of parasite the same would go for infants who are still breastfeeding off of their mother. If given the choice, maybe they should be able to terminate their infants life because it is no longer wanted.

      February 22, 2012 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
  6. chrissy

    @ n2video, lmfao, very good point!

    February 21, 2012 at 7:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • youloze

      A Nah: Very stark contras but i get your point. A person breathing from a ventilator isn't living off of another human being per say as a fetus does in the womb ..At 20 months, carry the baby to term and put he/she up for adotion..I do believe that anything after 20 months is killing a baby..Just my personal view point. agree to disagree.

      February 22, 2012 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • xvet

      youloze I've reluctantly come to the same conclusion as you 20 months is definitely murder since the child would be 11 months old at that time and well past the point of abortion. Unless you are talking about elephants who have a gestation period of 22 months.

      xvet

      February 26, 2012 at 6:19 pm | Report abuse |
  7. GiGi

    OMG!! Janet Howell is BRILLIANT with her amendment for Viagra! The MEN in power aren't going to vote for anything that will put restrictions on them. Way to go Janet, wish I lived in your state and could vote for you!

    February 21, 2012 at 7:55 pm | Report abuse |
  8. John McGill

    Why do they want to give babies vasectomies?

    February 21, 2012 at 7:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • god

      they're fighting teeny pregnancy. it's epidemic!!!

      March 7, 2012 at 12:45 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Angry American

    This has to be the most idiotic thing I've seen come from a legislator in a long time, and lord knows that is one long list. The very fact that she can compare >20 week abortions to vasectomies is just further proof that intelligence & common sense are in no way, shape or form a prerequisite to holding public office.

    February 21, 2012 at 7:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • susan a

      Actually the idea that men should have the right to control women's bodies is the most idiotic thing I have heard/seen in quite a long, long time. That is the absurdity this legislator is highlighting.

      February 21, 2012 at 8:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • youloze

      I read the article and nowhere did I read where she compared > 20 pregnancy to vasectomy..The comparison that i came away with is that if men can write legislation for women bodies then women can write legislation for men bodies.. If they are required to have test performed before an abortion procedure then men should have a procedure before being prescribed viagra..

      February 22, 2012 at 12:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Zabbot

      This law could give two shakes less about the woman's body, it's concerned with the unborn child be it boy or girl..

      February 22, 2012 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Aucausin

    It's really sad when our government has to use satire to show how ridiculous our government is getting.

    February 21, 2012 at 7:57 pm | Report abuse |
  11. anonymous

    Somehow I don't feel safe when these idiots are trying to figure out what is right and wrong for everyone else.

    February 21, 2012 at 7:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • James

      Just you wait -with the current trends in liberalism it will soon be criminal to express opinions other then theirs!

      February 22, 2012 at 6:05 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Jean

    Finally! If we're going to dictate what women can or can't do to avoid a pregnancy, it is only fair that we also determine what men can or can't do. Equal justice for all.

    February 21, 2012 at 8:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Angry American

      Avoid: to prevent from happening. If you need an abortion, you are long passed the point of preventing pregnancy, seeing as you ARE pregnant.

      A vasectomy avoids pregnancy. Tube ligation avoids pregnancy. Clearly such basic elementary concepts are lost on Miss Neal.

      February 21, 2012 at 8:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jean

      Not exactly different. There are those, including one of the presidential candidates, that want to make birth control for women illegal because it is "unnatural."

      February 21, 2012 at 8:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Zabbot

      Women still have more options than men in the department of deciding whether or not to be a parent.. You don't want equality you want extra special rights.

      February 22, 2012 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • BG

      @ Zabbot

      Hey, if you could take your ignorant, misogynistic comments and, Idk, stop having them? That would be awesome.

      February 22, 2012 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Bob Knippel

    Stupidity by any other name is still stupidity.

    February 21, 2012 at 8:01 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Anomic Office Drone

    Amusing

    February 21, 2012 at 8:01 pm | Report abuse |
  15. mark B

    vasectomies are awesome... i continually say it was the best money i ever spent...i would recommend it

    February 21, 2012 at 8:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan B

      I totally agree!! IMO spermbanks are the way to go. That way if a child is wanted then its takes the two potential parents to agree. No more entrapment and no more accidents. Not only do I have a say in when she gets pregnant but she has an equal say.

      February 23, 2012 at 9:56 am | Report abuse |
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