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. jingles

    The irony is that the average prison time for someone convicted of murder is 37 months... and they want to give up to 10 years for killing someone who doesn't yet exist?

    February 22, 2012 at 6:26 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Doc

    Anyone who wants to even try to equate a sperm with a human being is just not worth the effort of even trying to have a reasonable debate. And it would help the pro-choice movement if they would find an argument other than "a woman has a right to decide what to do with her body" when this really isn't just about HER body, it's also about the entire body of a new human being growing inside her.

    February 22, 2012 at 6:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • momoya

      The issue is not vasectomies versus abortion or a comparison of those two procedures. The issue is who controls other people's bodies. Neal's mistake was in not dumbing it down enough. Too many posters, like you, Doc, are arguing over the example instead of the issue it highlights. It'd be like the presidential candidates arguing over the height of the podiums the whole debate long.

      February 22, 2012 at 7:00 pm | Report abuse |
  3. JiminNM

    Every male on the face of the earth should choose to get a vasectomy and deprive the blood sucking elite of their future slave labor force.

    February 22, 2012 at 6:31 pm | Report abuse |
  4. hippediva

    The hell with vasectomies! Limit Viagra!

    February 22, 2012 at 6:35 pm | Report abuse |
  5. daredevil

    Every idiot that is pro-life needs to get off her or his high-horse and adopt a child or foster child. Once all of the children that are wards of the state are adopted then I will reconsider my pro-choice stance. Until then shut up and dont tell anyone anything. We do not have enough money to take care of the unwanted children as it is.

    February 22, 2012 at 6:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • mc

      Now that is stupid.

      Here's your sign

      February 22, 2012 at 7:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • DwayneL

      How about women be more responsible for their bodies!! Personal responsibility...what a novel concept to you liberals!

      February 22, 2012 at 7:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tome

      I like!

      February 22, 2012 at 7:37 pm | Report abuse |
  6. dion

    If they limit vasectomy then COSTCO will have freezed sperm right in your freezer section ready for application next to the frozen sausages and meatballs. They sell caskets for the dying – why not something for the living?

    February 22, 2012 at 6:51 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Mike P.

    This is beyond stupid. Stopping abortion has nothing to do with what a woman does with HER body. No woman in the history of the world has ever gone to abortionist looking to have HER body killed and thrown in the garbage.

    February 22, 2012 at 6:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Morbus

      Pregnancy has nothing to do with a woman's body?

      February 23, 2012 at 12:15 am | Report abuse |
  8. michael

    If the government wants to stop paying for mens vasectmies, thats one thing, but to outlaw it.ARE YOU F#$% CRAZY ! If a man makes a responsible choice to not add to the worlds over population, whats the harm. makes more sense than most things our government does. Get with the program people in office. Fix the important stuff, play with your own balls , leave ours alone.

    February 22, 2012 at 7:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bab

      You should read the entire article, not just the headline. The representative was trying to make the point that just as men ought to be allowed to make responsible decisions regarding their bodies (i.e. the choice of getting a vasectomy) so too, ought women be allowed to make a responsible decision regarding their bodies (i.e. the choice of getting an abortion.) The proposal was intended to be ludicrous. Just as the republican's proposal should be seen as equally ludicrous. Unfortunately this specific issue (abortion) has been so twisted and distorted that people no longer view it as something that 1/3 of women choose to do, but as a political "In" that is guaranteed to bolster votes. Pathetic really.

      February 22, 2012 at 7:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Like a G-6

      You believe in overpopulation?

      Seek psychiatric help mate, it isn't right to self-loathe...

      February 22, 2012 at 7:57 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Wayne

    I think women should make decisions about their bodies, I support any decision they would make...But just don't expect everyone else to pay for your decision....I agree politics should be kept out of it, and so should funding, so if a woman 'decides' to have a child...why should the state (my money) help her support, house, cloth and feed that child? If a woman wants to take harmful drugs....why should the state support, feed cloth and retrain her or care at all that she wants to kill herself with illegal and harmful drugs? And that goes for men too! Hey if you wanna kill yourself smoking cigarettes why should the health insurance premiums for non-smokers go up to help support your medical bills while you are recovering (or not) from lung cancer, heart disease etc....I think that if you smoke cigarettes you should be barred from participating in health insurance or be placed in an assigned risk pool like people who have car accidents. Personally I'm annoyed that I have to pay for other peoples lack of self control. But I can't refuse to pay my taxes or I'll go to jail...Who is really being held hostage here? Women? Hardly! I am being forced by radical liberals to support a bunch of lazy stupid donothings who lay around and procreate and yammer about their rights.....Just one more opinion.

    February 22, 2012 at 7:06 pm | Report abuse |
  10. missadr

    it is EXACTLY the same thing. Every one of those little sperm is living human dna.

    February 22, 2012 at 7:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nick Naranaja

      Technically every egg released without fertilization would be an abortion and in keeping with the bible we should banish every women on her period out of the house.

      February 22, 2012 at 7:38 pm | Report abuse |
  11. JZ

    The most reasonable argument against abortion is that if a woman aborts a fetus, it is no longer only her body, but another body inside of her which suffers the consequence of her volition. Whether or not this is valid, I can't say for certain; but, if this is the argument, then the principle doesn't apply to vasectomies, unless you consider the mere potential to produce a fetus equivalent to a fetus, in this context. The point is Neal's analogy appears false and, frankly, silly.

    February 22, 2012 at 7:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • momoya

      The issue is not vasectomies versus abortion or a comparison of those two procedures. The issue is who controls other people's bodies. Neal's mistake was in not dumbing it down enough. Too many posters, like you, are arguing over the example instead of the issue it highlights. It'd be like the presidential candidates arguing over the height of the podiums the whole debate long.

      February 22, 2012 at 7:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Morbus

      Well, the anti-choice nutters constantly equate a fetus with a child, so it's not much more of a stretch to equate a sperm with a fetus.

      February 23, 2012 at 12:17 am | Report abuse |
  12. JZ

    The most reasonable argument against abortion is that if a woman aborts a fetus, it is no longer only her body, but another body inside of her which suffers the consequence of her volition. Whether or not this is valid, I can't say for certain; but, if this is the argument, then the principle doesn't apply to vasectomies, unless you consider the mere potential to produce a fetus equivalent to a fetus, in this context. The point is Neal's analogy appears false and, frankly, silly.

    February 22, 2012 at 7:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • umm no

      Actually, if a woman aborts a fetus it is no longer inside her body, so your argument is flawed.

      February 22, 2012 at 7:50 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Hello

    I guess the crazy religious want to have mass starvation. Imagine 100 people now standing where 1 is now.
    We already have way to many people for this planet to support. I am glad I will not be here in 100 yrs.. it will be
    an insane planet for sure....Those who support over population are insane.

    February 22, 2012 at 7:10 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Darrel

    This is a ridiculous attempt at making a point. First of all, comparing a vasectomy to aborting a fetus is like comparing Apples to Oranges. Her argument would make sense if the “Anti-Abortion Bill” was trying to ban Tubal Ligation or Hysterectomies. Vasectomies prevent fertilization from happening, they don’t remove unwanted fetus’s. While I understand what she is doing, it seems rather ignorant for a state legislator to make this kind of comparison.

    February 22, 2012 at 7:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • umm no

      It's also pretty ignorant to tell women they are required to bear children.

      February 22, 2012 at 7:52 pm | Report abuse |
  15. tothestarz

    Why is it the ones whining about "Obamacare" intrusion into your private healthcare decisions now want the government to intrude into your private healthcare decisions? It's immoral & against my religion to kill people and go to war, but my tax dollars still get spent on a massive military industrial complex. Where's the outrage about that? Where are the clergy declaring the peace & fellowship of their faith before Congress? Big, fat, mysogynistic hypocrites just pick on women, treating them as if they're good for nothing but breeding livestock. They should all be sterilized.

    February 22, 2012 at 7:42 pm | Report abuse |
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