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. Andy

    I agree that the federal government should have less power over how we live our lives. However, I also feel that our government should be able to protect those that cannot protect themselves.

    February 22, 2012 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • shootmyownfood

      Great! Sounds like you want the government to take over the ASPCA. Those poor animals cannot take care of themselves, and don't have the same powers of reason as human beings.

      February 22, 2012 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Andy

      As humans, we have God-given right to rule over the animals. In turn, we should rule over them justly and wisely. It is not our place, however, to take human lives.

      February 22, 2012 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
  2. DB

    I am pro-choice, I think that if abortion services were easier to access and more affordable for women, abortions after 20 wks would be a moot issue.

    While many see this bill as ridiculous and a waste of time, first let's recognize that this IS the belief of certain religions (particularly Catholicism). So many stayed glued to the TV to watch the Duggar woman pop kids out like a pez dispenser because it is their religious belief that God wants her to do so. This law wouldn't seem out of line at all for those people.

    While I don't believe abortion after 20 weeks is at all appropriate, and I would be angry as a citizen of Georgia that politicians seem to be playing a game of "nanny-nanny-boo, let's see how YOU like it" with my tax money, it IS interesting to see some tables turned.

    When it comes down to it, pro-life folks believe abortion is murder, the same as if someone broke into a home and shot an infant in it's crib. No amount of games played in the House of Representatives will disuade that belief or change any minds.

    February 22, 2012 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Zabbot

    How about this as a compromise. Women can abort up to the 9th month but in return will be involuntarily sterilized (to be clear for the 20% of the population capable of reading words but not understanding nuance, this is sarcasm).

    This whole article is stupid. If you haven't made up your mind by 5 months you're going to regret the abortion anyway.

    And for the record I'm 100% pro-choice, I just have no problems placing some restrictions on the scope of the choice. I don't think that banning abortions after 5 months is the least bit unreasonable provided that this isn't the start of a slippery slope toward outright ban.

    February 22, 2012 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • lynne

      I completely agree; I am pro-choice as well but I don't see any problem with a stipulation on how far along the pregnancy is. Anything from the point at which a fetus is viable SHOULD be wrong. At that stage there are brain waves and voluntary movement. Pro choice is one thing, but it has to stop somewhere.

      And also... while funny, and I get the point they're trying to make (again: me=pro choice), but a vasectomy prevents conception, abortion is terminating a pregnancy that has already been conceived. That's my major problem with this particular analogy.

      February 22, 2012 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • BG

      If you're willing to put restrictions on it, then you're not pro-choice. hth

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

      Wrong.

      There is no excuse for term limits on abortion. It is the woman's body, it is her right to choose what to do with a parasite. And make no mistake, an unwanted child is a parasite. If you don't agree, perhaps you need to check a dictionary.

      February 22, 2012 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Laura

      At 5 months, the mom can actually feel the baby kicking. The baby responds to sound, changes in the mother's position, everything. The baby might not be viable using today's technology, but it is definitely a living being.

      February 22, 2012 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Matt

    Vasectomies and abortions are not even close to comparable.

    Vasectomies prevent conception. Abortions prevent birth after conception. The equivalent procedure for a woman is having the tubes tied, NOT an abortion.

    I get the point they are trying to argue, but they should really stay away from logical fallacies. Fallacies can only serve to taint their argument.

    February 22, 2012 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Neal is an idiot

    Neal is making a bad comparison. Vasectomies are not the same as abortions, vasectomies are the same as a Tubal ligation or tubectomy, which are not restricted in Georgia.

    February 22, 2012 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sarha

      Yet doctors can limit when you are able to get a tubal litigation. I had one kid and I want no more, but because I'm under 30 and not married I'm forced to take contraceptives until I've reached a "prime" age. I think a little bit more "choice" could be used to prevent unwanted pregnancies. I was hassled about getting an IUD because I am not in a "steady relationship".

      February 22, 2012 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Brad

    The comparison of abortion and vasectomy is ridiculous. There is no comparable bodily act on a man like that of an abortion. Vasectomy would compare to hysterectomy, not abortion. A man getting a vasectomy done is choosing to never have children, or to have no more children. A woman aborting a child at 20 weeks old is not doing an equivalent act. That being has already grown to the point of having fingers and toes, and eyes and a mouth. They swallow, and they digest. They have a functioning brain. Representative Neal is completely ridiculous in this proposal. A vasectomy is not ending the life of an already FORMED child. In fact, it's not ending the life of a child at all. It's just ending the ability for sperm to be released in the semen from a man. Here's a proposal that's equal to a man and a woman with regards to abortion... If you opt for an abortion, the man who got the woman pregnant is required to receive a vasectomy and the woman who got pregnant is required to receive a hysterectomy. Food for thought.

    February 22, 2012 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
  7. sue

    this woman is briiliant...now on to the other 49 states!

    February 22, 2012 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • SC

      Brilliant in the same way a box of rocks are.

      February 22, 2012 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Josh

    Wow, leave it to feeble-minded Democrats to not understand the distinction between a beating-hearted fetus and sperm.

    February 22, 2012 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Observer

      Josh,

      Wow, leave it to feeble-minded Republicans not to care about the mental and physical health of the mother who is a thnking person and not a fetus.

      February 22, 2012 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
  9. LetsGetReal

    Ouch!

    February 22, 2012 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Drowlord

    Wouldn't a vasectomy more closely mirror a woman's right to have a hysterectomy? What does a vasectomy have to do with abortion? For that matter, what does this kind of abortion (note that this is only about abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy) have to do with a woman's choice about her body. At this point in the pregnancy it's certainly and clearly a question of how much value we place on a child, and there has been plenty of opportunity to have an abortion when the baby was less developed.

    February 22, 2012 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
  11. John

    WHAT ABOUT A FATHER'S RIGHT??? WHAT IF I DON'T WANT THE MOTHER TO KILL MY CHILD???

    February 22, 2012 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • momoya

      tough

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

      Maybe you should have thought of that before you put your d- in her.

      February 22, 2012 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hello?

      Then pick a better "mother" to swap bodily fluids with.

      February 22, 2012 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Alfie

    Oh my god!! This is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard! Rep. Yasmin Neal is clearly on another planet somewhere on the other side of LaLa Land. Tell me I can't have a vasectomy will you? Ok, How about I father approx 1 child per year throughout the remaining years of my life after we have the 2 or so kids that we plan for our family. Hmmm, after about 4, I will be knocking on your door Rep. Yasmin Neal looking for the cash etc to support and raise all these kids! Concerned the worlds population growth is unsustainable as it is? If politicians like Rep. Yasmin Neal implement ludicrous laws like this, we are in for big trouble!! I have to wonder if Rep. Yasmin Neal has stock in the condom industry...

    February 22, 2012 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • lynne

      Alfie,
      I read this post TWICE, trying so, SO hard to make sense of it.... but there is no sense to be made. This has, quite literally, NOTHING at all to do with the article or its subject. This law, first of all, is not intended to be passed, it is intended to make a point regarding the right of an individual over their body. Second, I fail to see (and believe me, it's not for lack of trying) what all this talk is about cash to support children that the Rep. (who, ironically, is attempting to make a PRO-CHOICE point) wants you to have (by passing an anti-vasectomy law??).
      I cannot help but to conclude that you are either a)trolling, b)one very ignorant (but militant) teenager, or even more sad, c)one INCREDIBLY ignorant adult.

      February 22, 2012 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Lean6

    First off, I say leave the abortion battle on the field where it was decided already long ago. Secondly, I say that these straw man arguments are just growing more ridicule-us and counterproductive as every day goes by...not to mention that elected officials are being paid and spending money and time to engage in it. There are no benefits of using these kinds of tactics as argumentative devices because the opposing positions are rooted in belief systems. Keep religion out of government.

    February 22, 2012 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
  14. snowdogg

    Whole thing is uncalled for.

    February 22, 2012 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
  15. TrueAmerican

    Typical liberal nonsense. Such children.

    February 22, 2012 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
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