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. Hunter

    I LOVE it! If men deny their sperm the right to fertilize an egg, they have committed murder!! LOL!

    February 22, 2012 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Dave616

    Lets get this straight .... abortion is after the fact.... horses are out of the barn by then... that is the point of Pro-Life the termination of life. (After the fact)

    Now the daft idea to equate Vasectomy with abortion rights is beyond the pale.

    Vasectomy is permanent reproductive ability of a male. Tubal Ligation is the female equivelant .... Not abortion rights...) Shouldn't Tubal Ligation then be part of the bill.as well Fair is fair....

    (Since I'm sure is the point try to be made..... what a big waste of time and taxpayer money

    February 22, 2012 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
  3. DfeatObama

    It would be easier to teach your children not to be who res

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

      And men not to sleep with who res?

      February 22, 2012 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
  4. fcarr

    And women have a say: women say no = man – zip or unzip, and there are rubbers for woman. Why is the use of a rubber always the man's responsibility? I have no real say as a male over my reproductive rights, once she's pregnant she has all the say. Why do I have to suffer for the next 18 years based on another persons decision? She wants the baby and he doesn't, why is he forced the be a parent? She doesn't want to be a parent and she doesn't have to be. Why can't I opt out like she can?

    February 22, 2012 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • momoya

      It's not fair, fcarr. Nothing in life is. Wear protection unless you are 100% sure that you want to pay out a large sum of money every month for 20 or so years. If your partner wants you to not assume the contraceptive responsibility then have her sign an agreement that she will not come after you for child support and get it notarized.

      February 22, 2012 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
  5. beagle

    IT is very interesting that this debate is about abortion at 20 weeks. In my opinion, creating this limit could actually increase the number of abortions. 20 Weeks is a very important number, the reason is that 20 weeks is important is that it is the first time that you can get a good look at the babies cardiovascular and lymphatic system using 3D ultrasound. Why is this important? It is important because many people have abortions who actually do want to have a baby. These unfortunate people have an abortion because their baby showed an abnormal early ultrasound and upon further testing tested positive for Trisomy 13, Trisomy 18 or a whole host of other, less common, genetic anomalies (problems of extra or missing chromatin material on a chromosome other than 13, 18 or 21). I these cases, the parents choose to terminate the pregnancy to prevent the unwanted suffering of their baby; however the extent of the damage to the baby cannot be determined until a 20 weeks US can be taken. This 20 weeks US is the only way to determine if the child has major congenital heart or lymphatic brain defect. Many parents choose to wait until 20 weeks, and if there is a chromosome abnormality but no physical signs of severe life threatening problems such as a cardiac defect, then they choose to have the baby even if there are other major problems but none that will result in still birth, horrible torturous death of the infant in the first few days/years of life, or complications risking the life of the mother. It seems to me, that if you call it murder after 20 weeks, then many more people will not wait and see, knowing they wont have the option of preventing their baby horrible suffering after the 20 weeks results come in, and instead will just terminate before 20 weeks to avoid having to watch their poor baby die because the government thinks it knows better than doctors. In my opinion this will increase the instances of abortion, not decrease them. It is also interesting that most states (including Texas where I live) limit abortions at 24 weeks. This is not an arbitrary number either. 24 weeks is chosen, because that is the youngest age at which a baby can survive outside the mothers body. They choose 24 weeks because after that point the baby would actually have to be killed in utero, or delivered and then killed. This is a logical limit. 20 weeks has no basis other than hurting people who are already suffering. In my opinion, people who support these sorts of things, without having experienced the misery and sadness of this type of situation are heartless monsters. They think that they have the right to impose their ignorance based beliefs on other people. This is America; however, and in America we don't impose our beliefs on others. In other words, keep your opinions off of my freedom!

    February 22, 2012 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • derr

      beagle, the age of viability is considered to be anywhere between 19-23 weeks. 20 weeks is the "half way" point in the pregnancy. and don't get it twisted, a lot of parents who decide to have an abortion over the possibility of a child with a defect don't do it to avoid the child's pain and suffering, they do it to avoid having to deal with it.
      this is a disgusting use of position and a blatant misuse of taxpayer time and money. Purposely proposing a crap bill that they don't intend to even try anything with other than use as a spiteful jab at males is petty and stupid. they people need to take their whiny asses home, as if the reps aren't wasting enough time and resources as it is. because apparently there isn't serious work to be done.

      February 22, 2012 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Phil

    This is ridiculous. There is no comparison for an abortion to a man. So don't go for the next closest thing. Just admit that it is a priviledge to carry a child, a priviledge that no man can have. You have the right to chose if you have a child or not before you become pregnant. If you chose not to have a child, than chose not to do anything that would make you pregnant, it is that simple. Be responsible.

    February 22, 2012 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Zowe

      Actually it is about the government meddling in personal medical decisions and procedures – regardless of what the procedure is government has no right to get involved in an adult's decision about their body.

      February 22, 2012 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Phil

      Zowe – actually the government does have the right to do that. Did you know that it is illegal to commit suicide? If you attempt it, you are sent to jail...it is against the law even though it is something between you and your own body. Also, killing another person is against the law. Why then, is it ok to kill an unborn that is by all accounts alive? Why is an unborn not considered alive until they come out of the womb? Or until they look like an adult, these are just things that help women sleep at night.

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

      Phil, you have NO clue what you are talking about. There are times when things work OPPOSITE of what we are told they should. I've been pregnant 4 times. EVERY SINGLE pregnancy happened WHILE I was on the pill. My son (the only living baby) was conceived while ALSO using a condom.

      While my 2nd pregnancy ended in miscarriage, the 1st and 4th did not.

      Anyone else reading this who hasn't had an abortion. You THINK you know what you are talking about, but you don't. My first and fourth pregnancies were terminated for my health and safety. The first one was done at an abortion clinic simply because I didn't have insurance. It wasn't bad enough that the protesters were shoving pictures of dismembered 26 wk fetuses in my face. It wasn't bad enough that I was distraught over killing my baby. The clinic had to make SURE I knew what I was doing by making me sit through a counseling session AND another ultrasound before taking me back to see the Doctor. After they had me situated on the table, he gave me a shot of NOVACAINE in my cervix before shoving metal rods inside to dilate the cervix. It HURT very very much. The Dr and nurses kept telling me that there's no way it hurt that much, that the cervix has fewer nerve endings, that the novacaine was taking care of the pain, that I was being a big baby, and I needed to suck it up. THEN, he used a vacuum to remove the baby .. and THAT hurt.

      So, no. Abortions aren't a matter of "convenience". Abortions are gut wrenching decisions made WITH a Doctor as well as family members. Abortions are hideous from beginning to end. Do I regret mine? No. If I hadn't aborted the 1st baby, the father would have killed me the next week (Yes, literally and yes, the police were notified. They said they couldn't help until he actually DID the deed.) AND I was only 17. If I hadn't aborted the 4th baby, my Fallopian tube would have ruptured, thus killing both of us and leaving my son motherless.

      So, just because a woman does her part in preventing a pregnancy, it doesn't always work. Just because die hard pro lifers are against abortion, that doesn't mean that it's wrong. It just means that THEY have not had to face the same difficulties that I, and those like me, have had to face.

      February 22, 2012 at 5:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Phil

      Joy – That sounds aweful. I am sorry for your experiences, and I wouldn't wish that on anybody. I still think that abortion is a terrible thing, and it seems that you do too.

      February 22, 2012 at 5:51 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Anne

    First, just let ME decide what I want to do with my body. If I want advide, I falue that of other women. If I am pregnant with my husband's child, we will discuss. BUT, don't let a majority of men (most who never consider the feeling of a pregnant woman) decide an abortion issue. And, if placing a bill before the GA Congress limiting vasectomies will get some attention, go for it! It is a form of birth control.

    February 22, 2012 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
  8. OldAsDirt

    The comparable female surgery is tubal ligation. Leave ti to the Democrats to think abortion is comparable to pregnancy prevention surgery for either gender.

    February 22, 2012 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bubba

      "Leave ti to the Democrats to think abortion is comparable to pregnancy prevention surgery for either gender." They don't think that, Gramps. Not loud enough? THEY DON'T THINK THAT, GRAMPS. HER BILL IS A JOKE. I SAID, A JOKE.

      February 22, 2012 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ron

      Actually, the sad thing is that they DO THINK THAT. Since these people do not see a fetus as "life" until after birth, they DO treat abortion as birth control. Get pregnant, no problem, just abort.

      February 22, 2012 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • garc

      And leave it to the repuglicans to talk about how invasive the government is in all our lives and come up with new legislation over our BODIES.

      February 22, 2012 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Jordan

    I find this extremely clever. As a man, i find it ridiculous that other men are trying to tell women what to do with their bodies. Hopefully, this will highlight the problem AND GAIN TRACTION in mainstream media to show that it is extremely unfair to legislate someone's body

    February 22, 2012 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bubba

      "it is extremely unfair to legislate someone's body" They do it for the same reason a dog licks his balls: because they can.

      February 22, 2012 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
  10. momoya

    This bill isn't equating contraception with abortion; it's exposing the locus of power and control. Evidently the author should have dumbed down her message much, much more.

    February 22, 2012 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
  11. fcarr

    @momoya
    because it won't hold up in court. Thats the problem, I would have to trust her to keep her word..... check is in the mail, I love you.... sound familiar?

    February 22, 2012 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • momoya

      Wear protection, then. Women lie, and you are right that the notarized agreement may not hold up in court. Since you have so much to lose, either wear protection or opt out of the act. Nature says that you can't get pregnant; the law says that you can't opt out fatherhood like women can opt out of motherhood.

      February 22, 2012 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Sean

    I can totally see how altering a reproductive organ's effectiveness can be equated with killing a life and vacuuming out its remains.

    February 22, 2012 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
  13. fcarr

    @momoya

    This bill isn't equating contraception with abortion; it's exposing the locus of power and control. Evidently the author should have dumbed down her message much, much more

    She needed to chose a better comparison.

    February 22, 2012 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • momoya

      Like what? As I said previously, she did not dumb down her message to the level she needed to.

      February 22, 2012 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Lauren

    The only real question is at what point does a fetus become a person. Because at that point an abortion stops being something that a woman does to her own body and something a woman does to her child's body. Until there is an answer to that question this issue will never be resolved. Something I have never understood, however, is why the murder of a pregnant woman is double murder if the fetus isn't a person. Seems like a double standard.

    February 22, 2012 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • chris

      @ Lauren....thank you. I scrolled through all of these illiterate moronic posts before getting to yours. Sounds like someone actually read Roe v Wade! Abortion is one of the toughest issues of our time. It pits religious rights and views against the individual's rights. Either way, the state is stepping on someone's rights. But until the state determines what "life" is, then this issue will never be resolved. Either that, of these baby boomers need to get out of the way, they've been screwing this country up since the 1960's, and we're still having the same arguments today. In 50 years, we are still at square one.

      February 22, 2012 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
  15. AnnieM

    What's fair for the Goose...

    February 22, 2012 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
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