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. Food for thought

    The majority of woman deprived of access to free or low cost birth control are those dependent on the government for the basics like food, shelter and healthcare. 45% of these woman are "african american" whose culture shys away from adoption becuase they see it as purchasing a baby. These poor women produce 75% of the children that wind up in foster care and hope for the slim chance of adoption. If they had access to free or low cost birthcontrol the number of children in foster care would drop by say 50%. and the abortion rate might drop 35% as well. I don't condon abortion, but some woman find it the only way to climb out of poverty, one more unplanned child could be the death knell of their hopes for a better life.

    February 23, 2012 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
  2. dhall

    What will politicians think of next? And just how ridiculous does the idea of "no vasectomy wiithout government approval" sound to the rest of us? The idiot who is trying to introduce this idea has no business in government. rather, he belongs in an asylum. Anyone can tell the difference between pregnancy prevention and abortion. Duh!

    February 23, 2012 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
  3. John

    Government needs to stay out of women's bodies. Once a fetus is capable of living in the read world without artifical life support then the mother no longer has the right to terminate pregnancy IMO. Until that point of time the child and the mother are as one... the fetus is dependent on the mother in a literal sense for breathing and for nutrition.

    Here is a simple test. If the mother would stop breathing and the fetus would die without her breathing... it is her choice to terminate that pregnancy. You can't do the breathing for the fetus. only she can.

    February 23, 2012 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
  4. John

    Conservatives are missing the point. There are many of us who are personally against abortions but we realize once you allow government the right to decide what you do with your body they can turn it against you down the road. This bill is an example of how that can occur. At some point 'liberals' will be wanting to control SOMETHING about your body... be it what you can eat or what you can feed your kids or perhaps fine you if you don't exercise during pregnancy. There are COUNTLESS ways that liberals can use the right for the government to force a woman to carry a child to then extend to the government controlling all aspects of child birth, child raising, and how you live YOUR life.

    February 23, 2012 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sari

      Exactly.

      February 23, 2012 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Just the Truth

      LOL.... most women WANT the "man" to get the Big V so they don't have to take the pill, as it messes with their body chemistry. (like we need more of that) It's Laughable that this woman thinks that this is some kind of way to "get back at US men" for some percieved wrong doing in trying to do the RIGHT thing......

      February 23, 2012 at 5:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Robert M. Simon

      If there is no obligation to an unborn child that one creates through their own voluntary action,why is there an obligation to others(through taxes)?And why if abortion is truly an action involving one's own body.the pro-abortion crowd is not pushing for drug legalization,suicide and prostitution?Those involve one's own body....

      February 23, 2012 at 7:08 pm | Report abuse |
  5. John

    Next thing will be Republicans demanding proper nutrition, prenatal care, drug testing, and that you must quit smoking as well. It isn't just good enough to ban abortions... you have to legislate how people carry their fetus once you have the government responsible for forcing the mother to carry the child to term. Because we all are going to be paying through the nose for children born with defects and malnutirtion when the crack addicts and trailer trash start having the unwanted children.

    February 23, 2012 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      John, I really hope this was an attempt at sarcasm. The Dems are already trying to control proper nutrition, prenatal care, and that you must quit smoking as well. Have you not seen what is in the Obama care? Have you not heard Michelle Obama trying to get legislation passed on what kids should eat? And not to mention what Obama has done to cigarette companies advertising.

      February 23, 2012 at 5:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Just the Truth

      OMG....we can't have that..... Then what would the DEMS do with themselves all day? (whack, whack, whack-it)

      February 23, 2012 at 6:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Holly Golightly

      @Chris who replied to John – Chris completely misunderstands the notion of the Affordable Care Act that doesn't force expectant mothers into anything; but provides for access to services like nutritional counseling that was not previously included as cover under pre-natal coverage. This is a good thing. The First Lady's involvement with children's programs is primarily as advocate, just as First Ladys who preceded her. It is a good thing to encourage schools and parents to involve children in physical activities when there is competition by video games. Although Mrs. Obama is focusing on opportunities for children to "move", as she calls it, she is pressing that the hugely expensive federal school lunch programs to include more than just foods that are laden with fat and starch, and include fruits and vegetables, as long as the meals are underwritten by federal tax dollars. Chris is offended by this, why?

      February 23, 2012 at 6:34 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Mike

    I really wish that the headline mentioned that this bill was meant as satire.

    February 23, 2012 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Bill

    Apples to Apples, people. The anti-abortion bill is legislating what hppens AFTER an unwanted pregnancy occurs. a vasectomy is a PROACTIVE decision to not have a child. If you want to make the comparision, a vasectomy for a man is the equivalent of a voluntary hysterectomy for a woman. NO ONE should be trying to legislate a responsible, pre-planned method of birth control. I beleive Ms Neal has just lost her next election

    February 23, 2012 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • pchsbenz

      Then why are they trying to ban contraception also. New Hampshire is and every other cooky Republican legislature.

      February 23, 2012 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bert

      @Bill,
      Constance Johnson in Oklahoma proposed this amendment to the OK Personhood Bill:
      "F. In the spirit of shared responsibility in issues of reproduction, if a woman declares that she is pregnant non-consensually, the sperm donor shall be required to undergo a statutorily mandated vasectomy, shall be fined Twenty-five Thousand Dollars ($25,000.00), and shall also be financially responsible for the offspring of such pregnancy until the age of twenty-one (21)."

      February 23, 2012 at 5:28 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Paul

    Every sperm is sacred,
    Every sperm is great.
    If a sperm is wasted god gets quite irate.
    Let the heathens spill theirs on the dusty ground
    god will make them pay for each sperm that can't be found.
    -Monty Python and the theme song of the Religious Right.

    February 23, 2012 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Paul

    The easiest solutions is to require Republican legislators at the state and national level to adopt all unwanted babies in lieu of abortions. Given their indescribealbe level of concern for every single miracle baby (and average personal wealth) they should be delighted to introduce this legislation.

    February 23, 2012 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
  10. John Rodriguez

    The legislature has never banned a woman from sterilization such as hysterectomies. It is their body to make that choice just as a man can have a vasectomy.
    The problem is when irresponsible adults use abortion as a birth control method.
    The life growing inside them is not theirs nor their males. It is life that belongs to the defenseless child inside.
    To take that human life is to murder it. That's right abortion is clearly the murder of innocent children.
    Please be responsible for the life you create. If you don't want to create a life get fixed.
    Many irresponsible take absolutely no precautions, then have numerous abortions(Murders) without any care for the child they murdered inside themselves. They pretend this is not human life. How absurd we all know better.

    February 23, 2012 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Martin

      If its not theirs then they don't have to be responsible for it after its born so who is going to take care of it now, You?
      You can't have it both ways

      February 23, 2012 at 5:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Christina

      interesting. so, all the (economically) poor women, sometimes in abusive relationships, should not have recourse to abortion when it clearly impacts their lives for the better. you prefer that every child conceived of duress or to parents who don't have the economic means to care for them, be brought to term and then given up? even this causes great stress & hardship to parents, only one of whom may want the child (and even he – for it's usually the man, especially in developing countries – is not prepared to nor wants to care for it).
      abortion – ideally this wouldn't happen, but it can be and is a lifesaving measure, if only you have eyes to see. (i say a little more about this in a bit)
      contraception – reduces the incidence of abortion, in fact, and i laugh at those who say sperm are living beings. seriously. or rather... why not embrace the continuum? we eat fish, and i don't see you yelling about it. we eat cows, and pigs – and pigs are smarter than dogs – but that, that is no problem. a human sperm, a packet of genetic material (and not in the slightest sentient... they don't have nerves, so they don't feel pain) with a rototiller. billions of them are lost daily, or by the minute. will you outlaw masturbation? i didn't think so.
      start looking with your heart and your gut. i believe you have good intentions. but look around at the world in which we live, and soon you'll see that while some actions and intentions are definitely and indisputably harmful, in this particular case there are many shades of gray; more than the unborn life is at stake; and if you outlaw abortion this is directly linked to deaths in which women, hoping for an abortion via other means, insert a four-inch-long twig in their uterus.

      February 23, 2012 at 9:03 pm | Report abuse |
  11. larry5

    With John Holdren as Obama's Science Czar this will never be allowed to happen. Holdren, a man that Obama admires and supports, believes in and writes about the value of forced abortions and sterilization. He believes that having children should be a right granted by the government and those that don't qualify should be sterilized. Since Obama has been in the business of states rights this idea is a non starter.

    February 23, 2012 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Kurt

    The logic is comparable to making it illegal for women to menstruate! Depriving millions of children from birth.

    February 23, 2012 at 5:09 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Graeme

    This is a comedy article right, I mean it's not serious is it?

    February 23, 2012 at 5:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Annaliesa

      The article is serious. The lawmaker was just trying to prove a point. Dramatic method of doing so, yes, but it is simply a point.

      February 23, 2012 at 10:40 pm | Report abuse |
  14. b will

    As a democrat, this is a disgrace. I can't believe this. If life was ever growing inside of a man, then this would make sense. But since we don't carry it, COMPLETELY DIFFERENT. Why don't people see that abortion is not birth control? unless detrimental to the woman's health, have the baby. Exercise discipline! Its crazy to know how some women will wait until the 6th or 7th month to abort the baby. It would be a fair comparison if women weren't allowed ANY birth control. They have the pill and vasectomies, and men just have vasectomies...No validity in her argument or point that she is trying to make, WHATSOEVER

    February 23, 2012 at 5:52 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Christina

    Hi. So, as a woman, this bill seems to me quite plainly idiotic.
    What if I want to have one child, and then to adopt? I would rather not take contraceptive pills the rest of my life; I fully plan anyway to have my tubes tied at some point so I need not worry about another unplanned pregnancy; and you're saying you'd outlaw the analogous procedure for a man?
    I thought as an adult citizen of the United States (or anywhere, ideally), freedom of conscience is a right; freedom of reproductive control, should most definitely be a right, no matter that fanatics or idiots say different. Yes, there are millions of the unborn. We don't know what may be, or even what should - and to legislate for the masses, with these blanket directives, misses the greys that permeate our lives and that truly make some situations right for some, and others right for others. Mandatory sterilization would evoke outrage. Why does the other extreme, not?

    February 23, 2012 at 6:18 pm | Report abuse |
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