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. Steamer

    She is missing the point and is trying to sidetrack the real issue. Vasectomies are a contraception...like the pill and condoms. They don't involve "taking away" or ending a life that has already begun. Even the catholic church doesn't consider contraception as ending a life, but rather preventing the creation of life while expressing love. My daughter or wife can have an abortion and doesn't have to tell me. However; when I tried to get a vasectomy, the Air Force required that my wife and I attend a counseling session together and that she agree. When will men get the right to their own bodies? Her real issue is with late term abortions. Early abortions are one matter. But late term abortions should consider the rights of the child. It is all just a slippery slope. Next she will be arguing that we should be allowed to abort children up to a year after birth! She would be better served to compare relatively similar acts than to compare apples and oranges.

    February 23, 2012 at 6:31 pm | Report abuse |
  2. ?.

    Can people even have kids anymore? Or is our environment so toxic that you have to pay pharma for shots?

    February 23, 2012 at 6:36 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Holly Golightly

    Apples and basketballs. Although Democratic Legislators may think they are making points, restricting access to vasectomies is just as problematic as restricting access to contraception and abortion services because most times the vasectomy is elected in by couples wishing to curtail further growth to their family and the ability to stoop oral contraceptives which have serious consequences for women over the age of 35. This is not helpful, but hurtful for women and a bit juvenile on the part of the Legislators: Biting of the nose to spite the face.

    February 23, 2012 at 6:43 pm | Report abuse |
  4. dee cla

    Since when does a 24 -week old child survive on its own?

    February 23, 2012 at 6:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • mememe

      It does with medical help but most grow up with disabilities. Since when does it take a women over 20 weeks to kill her baby. It is legal do it as soon as you find out. not when you can see a perfectly formed little baby. I have friends loosing their twins at week 20 and we are all praying for a miracle.

      February 24, 2012 at 12:36 am | Report abuse |
  5. Robert M. Simon

    There is a reason that the symbol of the Demonrats is a jackass.This is just more evidence.How in the world does permanent contraception equate the slaughter of an unborn child?And why is the ONLY freedom Demonrats endorse is the "freedom" to kill an unborn child with somebody else's money?Pathetic....

    February 23, 2012 at 7:03 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Gabriel Duba

    Physical causes might include heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, neurological disease, along with other health conditions. A number of the medicines used to treat these conditions can also trigger erectile dysfunction.

    February 23, 2012 at 7:32 pm | Report abuse |
  7. fjeoiujga

    i think, no matter what views a man has on abortions, either prolife or prochoice, they should NOT get a say (whether it's passed or not, not in the personal relationship decision). if you don't have a vagina, you don't get a vote. just like if a person doesn't have a penis, they don't get to decide what men can medically do with it.
    being a female, i don't want the government to tell me whether or not i can terminate an unwanted pregnancy. am i risky and have multiple sexual partners? no. i am married and we are very safe with our birth control, but if i were to get knocked up right now it would be awful. neither of us are in a place where we could raise a child, and it would be heartbreaking for both of us. but i sure as hell wouldn't want to be labeled as a baby killer or immoral with my husband because we are financially unable to care for a child.
    that being said, i do believe there should be a deadline on termination. does it really take 20 weeks to realize you're pregnant? or does it really take that long to decide what you want to do with it? either way, if the fetus CAN survive outside of the womb, a woman shouldn't be able to terminate. (now, i don't know how long that is but i'm pretty sure a person can make up their mind with that time frame).

    February 23, 2012 at 7:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Thinks2010

      @Tex Gritter–I actually love children. I was just trying to address some things discussed in other people's posts in a thought provoking way. Many posters talk about a fetus as if it is part of a woman's body like a limb, while others casually discuss carrying a child as if it has no more consequences for the woman than carrying around an apple in a lunch box or than a a hen's egg has for an incubator. If you step back and evaluate the purely physical nature of the relationship of a fetus to its mother (disregarding its humanity), you will see it is scientifically the relationship of a parasite ("noun: an organism that lives in or on another organism (its host) and benefits by deriving nutrients at the host's expense.') and not physically symbiotic (though definitely mentally and spiritually symbiotic in most cases).

      Since human males can neither conceive nor gestate a fetus, the closest analogous parasite to host relationship that a male might experience that most people are familiar with are ticks. Like a human egg and then the fetus, they attach to their host and derive the nutrients needed to sustain them without providing any physical benefit in return. Carrying around a baby or a tick has both short term and long term consequences for the host. Once the baby leaves the womb or the tick falls off the body, both the mother and (using my analogy) the man will most likely be dealing with many consequences for the rest of their lives. For example: both a working man and a working woman might have to take time off work for hospital visits: the mother to take the child in for treatment and the man to get treatment for lyme disease. As a consequence, the careers of both might be affected by having to take off more time than their co-workers who do not have to deal with additional medical issues because they never carried a fetus or carried a tick.

      No, I do not really think children and ticks are comparable in any way beyond this limited analogy. Children are wonderful . Ticks are not.

      February 24, 2012 at 7:53 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Melissa

    Sorry, Jason Cushman, Manny! (and I'm sure a litany of others) that fetus -not child – is a part of MY body, attached to MY body, and can't survive without being a part of and attached to MY body. Therefore it is NOT a separate "life and body". It is a part of MY body and I (and ONLY I) will choose what to do with it.

    February 23, 2012 at 8:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Concerned

      I suppose, Melissa, that in the case of you getting pregnant with a boy, that means you would have a penis and testicles for nine months?

      The argument is just scientifically flawed. The fetal human is genetically distinct from her mother. It is, by the standards of any embryology textbook, a separate living organism.

      February 23, 2012 at 8:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Thinks2010

      Looked at from a scientific perspective, the relationship of a fetus to its mother is essentially the relationship of a parasite to its host. I guess if Georgia's legislators really want to pass legislation that would treat men in an analogous manner they should pass one prohibiting men from removing any ticks from their bodies requiring them to just let them fall off after they have sustained and grown themselves on the men's bodies. The period of time the men would be required to carry their parasite would likely be much shorter than the 9 months women carry theirs, however, men would be risking their own health and likely experiencing lifelong changes they would not otherwise have experienced just as women do.

      February 23, 2012 at 11:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tex Gritter

      Thinks2010: If you can equate a human baby with a tick, you are indeed sick......Melissa, please think some more about what you have posted. Yes, if the life of the mother is in danger, or if the infant would almost certainly be born terribly deformed, ect. I can see a reason for the aborting of the infant at the mother's discretion. But let's be very honest: I know of several different women(a few that I am kin to) who go out and play the field(I guess that they are just doing what they want with their bodies) and then abort one or more CHILDREN. I have a friend who would LOVE to have a child, but can't.

      February 24, 2012 at 5:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Thinks2010

      @ Tex Gritter–for some unknown reason my response to your comment regarding my comment seems to have attached itself to an earlier comment by fjeoiujga. If you are at all interested in reading my response, that is where you can find it.

      February 24, 2012 at 8:02 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Mlocks

    It doesn't matter anyway, banning abortions outright before the third trimester has already been held unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court in Planned Parenthood v. Casey. This new Georgia law, even if it passes, will inevitably be struck down. This is a total waste of time and taxpayer money.

    February 23, 2012 at 8:04 pm | Report abuse |
  10. sane

    Vasectomies prevent the abortions you pretend you don't want...not sure it makes any sense to try and prevent this. Logic would have it that if you truly believed what you say, that things that prevented abortion (vasectomy, morning-after pill, birth control pill) should be celebrated rather than limited.

    But you don't really want to prevent abortions, do you? Didn't think so. Why don't you all shut up then, we're not falling for it any more.

    February 23, 2012 at 8:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fae

      I have to agree that this defeats the purpose. I am full supporter of birth control. I think if they really wanted to be politically correct they should have done something such as trying to prevent male impotency drugs such as Viagra. This would have had a better effect. Tell a bunch a guys that after 50 they may or may not be able to have sex no more and watch what happens! lol.

      No all joking aside I am a liberal but against abortion. There is a reason for birth control. In cases of rape, incest, or where the mothers life is in danger than it should be her choice, but outside of that I am against it. Once again I do agree that the vasectomy issue only worsens the entire issue of women's rights and family planning period as it denotes it. This was not the smartest move in making a point, as yours is well argued.

      February 23, 2012 at 8:54 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Todd

    From the sounds of it most of you are agreeing with this bill. So all of you that agree should have an additional tax out of your pay to pay for the extra welfare, foodstamps, and other government "help" that these families will be receiving. If it was up to me if you don't have a job, don't plan on having a job and just plan on living off the government because you are "disabled" then it should be mandatory for you to have a vesectomy or histerectory. I am tired of dealing with worthless humans at work who have 5 kids, no job, collect wic, foodstamps, and disability because they are "bipolar" or some other b.s. made up diagnosis. I know bipolarism in a small percentage of people is truly dibiltating but for most its just a b.s. excuse not to work. So if someone truly wishes to not bring a child in this world before they.are even conceived because they are grown up enough to know they aren't gonna be able to support it or care for it they way they should, what is wrong with that. A visectomy is nothing like an abortion. All you people that think it is are complete morons. I have a family of my own and it is hard enough to support them as it is now, why should I have to pay for someone else's kids because they are to lazy or ignorant to get a job

    February 23, 2012 at 8:20 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Virginia

    How about a woman telling another woman what to do with her body! That is AFTER it involves the life of a poor little defenseless baby! BEFORE the baby was involved she could do what ever she wanted with "her" body – sell it on the street for all I care – but AFTER – its not "just" her body anymore! BEFORE she could have taken measures to prevent this from happening – AFTER well its too late now! Live with it ! AND before you even ask – I feel the same way in the case of incest and rape. It should still be illegal! Sorry but a life is a life – no matter how you try to twist it! I am sorry for the women that have to go through that but – ya know bad stuff happens -( I know bc I had a pretty bad childhood/life myself!) but that doesn't mean you should be able to "murder" a baby just because it is too painful for you!

    February 23, 2012 at 8:43 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Brandon

    Figure out the difference between a living, kicking, screaming, potential, and making a decision that would prevent you from having the option!!! For starters women have an option, get your tubes tied. That is the equal to a vasectomy. Trying to prevent yourself from a circumstance that could cause detrimental problems to a child shouldn't be controlled by the government. There are those women out there that intentionally get pregnant to hold a man down/take everything they own, just because they are vindictive. And when they don't get their way decide to have a late term abortion so there is no more attachment to said male should be illegal. There should be strict guidelines to abortion (rape, harm to mother,etc). Trying to control how a male chooses birth control is disturbing, when there are plenty of options of birth control that VINDICTIVE women tamper with and create intentional pregnancies. A vasectomy is the only form of male birth control that a woman cannot alter or forget to take on purpose/ poke holes in etc, etc, etc. The only question I can come up with is why would you want to stop those men out there who have no place having children in the first place, from having a vasectomy??

    February 23, 2012 at 8:44 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Toby

    this is all about control, my big question is if everyone is so concerned about the child then why dont they concern themselves with the ones that are already born, the ones that are being abused and beated everyday by their parents. The ones that are being used a salves. When you have that under control then worry about the unborn but i think for now there are pleanty of childern that are already born that need your help. Go help them now because no one really seems to care about the ones who are in trouble now.

    February 23, 2012 at 8:49 pm | Report abuse |
  15. SteveInMN

    100% good with tightie rigthies telling women they must deliver the fetuses – just so long as these ID10T yappers also accept that there may someday be one of these babies left on their doorsteps to raise to adulthood.

    Pretty easy when it isn't your lifelong problem, isn't it?

    February 23, 2012 at 8:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • mememe

      ok leave one on my door step. I will love, care and raise it well beyond age 18. Now tell me how long have we had birth control? Who in the world is shocked that they are pregnant? Only those that are selfish, clueless and immoral. you have 20 to get an abortion. what the heck why don't you? hey I can make the argument why not just kill the fetus, baby, child, teenager, adult an not call it murder. after all it came from your body. Yes abortion is legal it is not going away, why oh why can't women just do it as soon as they find out this baby is an inconvenience in their so call worthy life.

      February 24, 2012 at 12:21 am | Report abuse |
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