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. Kyle

    “If we legislate women’s bodies, it’s only fair that we legislate men’s."
    Maybe we shouldn't legislate women's bodies, eh?

    February 22, 2012 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Katie

    "He said legislators are “drilling down" on questions about when a fetus can feel pain" Hmm, I wonder what McKillip thinks of c i r c u m c i s i o n, since that is undeniably a procedure that inflicts immense pain on a fully born, crying, screaming, breathing infant. Since most "pro-lifers" are hypocrites, my guess is that he's all for it!

    February 22, 2012 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Thinks2010

      Exactly how are these legislators "drilling down?" Who are they asking? The fetuses? Are they polling born humans (like anyone can remember their fetal time)? Are they asking the scientific community that has not reached a consensus?

      February 22, 2012 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Katie

      I have no idea what "drilling down" means. Hence, why it's all pretty ridiculous, especially when they most likely advocate a procedure that without a doubt inflict pain on newborns. THAT was my point.

      February 22, 2012 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
  3. no nothing

    Once again the south and Georgia in particular shows the rest of the world how backwards we are.

    February 22, 2012 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sean

      Considering both side of the argument are taking place in Georgia I’d say it’s your outdated opinion of the south that is backward.

      February 23, 2012 at 8:18 am | Report abuse |
  4. jim

    Subtle point, really subtle. Stupid bltch!

    February 22, 2012 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
  5. LV7

    Here's my take on the whole abortion subject: it seems that those opposed do so on grounds that it is morally wrong because in their eyes, life begins at conception. Those who are not opposed (I used that wording intentionally since I don't think anyone is really pro-abortion) believe that life doesn't begin until birth. Since that is a debate that will never be settled to everyone's satisfaction I believe that it should be legal. This is a nation built on personal freedom so we should be cautious when prohibiting something that doesn't inflict harm on those that no one will dispute is actually alive. How would me having an abortion affect you? It doesn't so why should you care?
    In case it matters to anyone, I am female and have and cannot have children. My personal opinion is that it is tragic that so many people find abortion necessary when there are so many ways to prevent pregnancy. If you tried and it didn't work I can understand considering it, but you should think long and hard before going that route.

    February 22, 2012 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • TonyB

      The opposition to abortion isn't about when life begins. By any clinical definition, it begins at conception. The "object" at conception has a completely unique strand of DNA, and therefore is neither part of the mother or the father. It has movement on its own, cell division, metabolism. Even a bacterium is considered alive.

      I don't really care what a woman does with her own body. She can get tattoos, chop off her legs, pierce whatever she wants, etc. The fetus is not part of the woman's body. It is a completely separate living being. It does happen to live inside the womb, but it is not part of the woman. It is a unique human being, and looks like all human beings look at that age. Just as the fetus doesn't look like a baby, a baby doesn't look like a child, who doesn't look like a teenager, who doesn't look like an adult.

      The scientific fact is that the fetus inside the womb is a unique human life. There are no scientific counter arguments. Whether that human organism is worth of being born is a separate discussion, but it is life.

      February 22, 2012 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • TonyB

      You state "how would me having an abortion affect you?" Well, how would me killing my one year old child affect you? Why should you care?

      It matters to the pro-life movement because they are trying to protect innocent human life. The fetus in the womb has never hurt a soul, so doesn't it deserve a chance to live? If you don't want a child, then give it up for adoption. I understand it may be traumatic to carry the child for nine months only to give it away, but there are many worse things in the world. It is nine months of sacrifice in order to give someone a chance at life.

      February 22, 2012 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
  6. bob

    Okay, let's ban abortion and contraception. All men must then report to the nearest hospital and have DNA samples taken. Those DNA samples must be put into a nationwide genetic database. If the paternity of a child is disputed, the child's DNA will be run through the system. The resulting match will then show who the father is. The father will then pay half of his paycheck to the mother and child.

    If a woman cannot decide whether she wants to be pregnant, a man cannot decide whether he wants to be a father.

    Sounds fair to me!

    February 22, 2012 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Brittny

    Until you're put in the position to decide between an abortion and parenthood, you can't predict how you will feel. I have known many women who have been very Pro-Life and became pregnant, and suddenly realized that they weren't ready to be mothers. You never know how you will react to being pregnant until you are. So, leave the decision to the woman and her partner. Religion and politics should not play a role in a woman's or a couple's decision.

    February 22, 2012 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jess

      I don't think a story about a person deciding against having a baby during pregnancy is a very good example of why abortion should be legal. My first pregnancy, I was miserable, scared and emotional. I am sure a lot of people feel that way and may change their minds about this topic. I bet there are many women who almost went through with an abortion and are glad they didn't now. That is not the question. The question is whether the baby has any rights before it is born.

      February 22, 2012 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • TonyB

      If you aren't ready to be a mother, then give the child up for adoption. For me it isn't even a matter of religion as much as a matter of science. The unborn child, regardless of what stage it is, is still a human life. I have four children from IVF, which means I've seen pictures of them at five to seven days after conception. To look at those pictures and now see my children playing happily has really made an impact on me.

      I ask those who are in favor of abortion to consider the science behind pro-life. I used to be pro-choice, but after a lot of consideration I have changed my mind. Seeing eight cells turn into a wonderful baby is amazing.

      February 22, 2012 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Court

    This is ridiculous! What do we want MORE fathers who don't want to raise their kids! There is a CLEAR difference between abortion and a vasectomy. Lets see an Abortion kills a baby a vasectomy prevents its from happening!

    February 22, 2012 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Harvin

      That's the problem: Abortion laws are now carrying over into women's contraceptive rights in general. I think Neal's bill would be more effective in state's that are trying to limit birth control options for women, but hopefully it will at least begin a dialogue in Georgia (and beyond).

      It's very easy for people to hail condoms and vasectomies as a method for preventing pregnancy and unfit men from becoming fathers. On the flip side, conservatives are now throwing a stink at female-centric birth control methods (the pill, IUDs, etc) that prevent pregnancy and unfit women from becoming mothers. This is the debate that really scares me and other women (and hopefully men!) trying to make the smartest decisions about our reproductive health.

      February 22, 2012 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
  9. X

    I have another question to pose. A woman has a miscarriage because her body chooses to attack the fetus, seeing it as an invader.
    A shot is created to prevent such a reaction.

    Does the shot go against "god's will" that she not have children in that case? Is it morally wrong of her to get that shot? Is she a murderer because her child's rights were not considered by lack of carrying to term?

    Why is using science acceptable for fertilization, but morally unjust in the reverse scenario?

    February 22, 2012 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • TonyB

      Morals aren't so much an action as much as an intention. Killing is not morally wrong, if done for the right reasons such as self-defense.

      February 22, 2012 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • X

      TonyB: Then abortion as self-defense is quite justified, and the matter need simply be dropped.

      February 22, 2012 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      TonyB: Then if I should become pregnant, I will claim self defense. After all, I am in fear of my life, my paycheck, and my mental sanity.

      February 23, 2012 at 9:19 pm | Report abuse |
  10. chicago2010

    Actually, I think it should be the opposite. If the state prohibits abortions and refuses to pay up in terms of increased benefits to unwanted kids, then it should make men to have vasectomies if his income is less than some minimum or he already has a child to whom he does not pay alimony. That would make it fair. And that would be interesting to watch to unfold.

    February 22, 2012 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Katie

      They actually already did this for women up until relatively recently, like the 70's in some states. Women would be forcibly sterilized if they were thought to be "feeble minded" or had too many kids already, were on welfare, etc. On the flip side, women who DID have stable lives but wished to be sterilized (before reliable birth control was invented) could often not get the surgery, especially if their husbands didn't consent. While I absolutely get your point, we really don't want to go down that road again.

      February 22, 2012 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Dave D

    Typical liberal over-exaggeration. A man having a vasectomy is in no way similar to an abortion. It would prevent a man from being able to fertilize an egg. Women have every right to have their ovaries taken out and preventing themselves from becoming pregnant. Terminating a fetus that is 20+ weeks old is a whole other situation.

    February 22, 2012 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Raven

      Actually there are vasectomies the use a pinch method that can easily be reversed. If you don't want to get a woman accidentally why wouldn't this be a good thing? Then abortions would go way down.

      If a woman gets pregnant it means a man was involved which means he needs to be responsible and , pardon the pun, Man up. If you want to give the woman no choice on how the rest of her life is going to be affected, aka no free pass, then don't let the other genetic contributor get a free pass.

      One man can get many women pregnant in a very short amount of time, yet he should carry no responsibility. Oh and 88% of all abortions take place before the first trimester, usually between 4-8 weeks in. In the remainder a high percent have an abortion because of health risks, not just to skip out.

      February 22, 2012 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Alicia

      Removing ovaries is a bit more complex than a man having a few snips, leaving testicles untouched. Being menopausal in your 20's/30's/40's isn't a choice many women want to make unless it's absolutely necessary.

      February 22, 2012 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
  12. ElGiblet

    Georgia Democrats... ok, well, apparently somebody needs to explain to them how reproduction works so they'll stop wasting everybody's time. Perhaps a picture book?

    February 22, 2012 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Firetree

    Are these people nuts? Blatantly make a statement that the government knows better what to do with your body than you do? "Deprive babies of birth?" What sort of lunacy is that? Don't people understand that this is the sort of twisted thinking that got Germany a spiffy new leader (don't forget he was elected) back in 1933?

    February 22, 2012 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ja

      It is not real legislation, rather mocking of other legislators' stance on abortion. Whether you agree or disagree is up to you.

      February 22, 2012 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Korman

    So generally we don't regulate what a person can do to themselves. However we do regulate what people do to each other. So is an unborn baby just another part of the mother like a finger or toe. Or is it a different living thing inside the mother? Well, all know the answer whether we like it or not. This is not just a simple problem of telling women what to do with their bodies. The question is what rights does a mother have with respect to the unborn child. Should a woman have complete and total authority up to and including torture or death. If a fetus can survive outside the mother at say 22 weeks should this not count for something? Again this is not just some simple issue of messing with women's bodies like it is being portrayed by many an idiot on this page and in this country (including Congress).

    February 22, 2012 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • X

      A woman is born with two heads. The smaller and less functioning head has it's own individual brain, complete with a personality separate from her own. The woman decides to have the smaller head removed for reasons of her own choosing. The head cannot survive without the use of her body despite it's individualism.

      Is it murder, and should she be held accountable for not wanting to keep the growth?

      February 22, 2012 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Korman

      X – didn't quite follow the scenario, but conjoined twins have faced this issue (usually the parents face the decision making part). Most agree that it would be unethical to sacrifice one twin purely for the convenience of the other. I cannot imagine in this country a scenario where one conjoined twin would be allowed to decide to sacrifice the other simply because he/she was the more dominant twin.

      February 22, 2012 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • X

      So it's alright for parents to make a choice that could possible kill one of the twins outside of the womb, but unacceptable for a parent to make a choice before that point?

      What about this scenario: the other head was causing crippling paralysis and the decision was made to remove it because it would have killed the host body. Is it acceptable in that scenario? If so, why?

      February 22, 2012 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Hillerman

    John 15:12 & 13 This is MY commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.
    A mother surrendering her body for 10 months to give someone a shot at life...I consider that "laying down your life." A family adopting an "unwanted" human...I consider that an honorable sacrifice of time & money. We were created to love. We were created for greatness. Life and Love = Greatness. Life cannot thrive without love. Love cannot begin without Life.

    February 22, 2012 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • X

      So too should we love women who choose abortion, because they are choosing to lay down the potential life of that fetus so another unwanted child isn't born to potentially be adopted or left to fend for themselves until adulthood in the legal system.

      February 22, 2012 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
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