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. nothing new here

    BTW, I have friends and relatives that live in the state of Virginia.
    I have heard that there are a lot of angry people (esp. women) that are upset with the state politicians, and the governor as well.
    I say – GOOD DEAL!!!!
    All the more reasons to start stripping the rights and privileges of CAREER POLITICIANS.

    February 22, 2012 at 12:07 am | Report abuse |
  2. LMD

    ROFL...this is the best story I have read yet!! Playing hard ball just where it hurts.

    February 22, 2012 at 12:13 am | Report abuse |
  3. Scottish Mama

    Vasectomies should not be paid for by insurance.

    February 22, 2012 at 12:20 am | Report abuse |
  4. Thinks2010

    Isn't it interesting that the states with laws that are most intrusive and limiting on a woman's rights to control her own body and destiny are the same state that were among the last to ratify the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote: Virginia did not ratify until 1952. Georgia, North Carolina and Louisiana didn't ratify until 1970 and 1971. South Carolina ratified in 1973, but Mississippi did not ratify until 1984. These conservative states filled with religious fundamentalists have a historical disregard for the rights of women.

    February 22, 2012 at 12:22 am | Report abuse |
    • Eric

      For historical context these states were also part of the solid south. Mostly because democrats until the 50's. This was due mostly to the fact that the left did not agree with the civil war and freeing slaves. There history lesson for ya the left is and has supported as evil a things as this in its past present and future.

      February 22, 2012 at 1:14 am | Report abuse |
    • Thinks2010

      @Eric–I am aware of the sorry history of Southern Democrats. I'm just saying that these states, which are conservative today, have a long history of being backward regarding women's rights.

      February 22, 2012 at 1:33 am | Report abuse |
  5. mamaoffour

    I actually could see men being ok with this.. That way their "boys" don't have to get cut and the woman would have to either risk contraception failure or have major surgery to prevent pregnancies...

    February 22, 2012 at 12:23 am | Report abuse |
  6. Jeff Frank (R-Ohio) "Right Wing Insanity"

    Was it last week, while making a last ditch social effort to get votes, Obama or one of 'em started choking on a diaphragm, condom or something? I'm probably wrong.

    February 22, 2012 at 12:32 am | Report abuse |
  7. Michael White

    Tax dollars to crap like this....No wonder why the economy is crap.

    February 22, 2012 at 12:35 am | Report abuse |
    • Hilary cathcart

      You completely missed the point...

      February 22, 2012 at 12:53 am | Report abuse |
  8. Thinks2010

    If these same conservatives who pass legislation infringing on women's rights to control their own bodies are truly serious when they claim they are doing so to protect the rights of the child, they should pass laws that prohibit male circ@mcision until males reach the legal age of consent and can decide for themselves if they want the procedure or not.

    February 22, 2012 at 12:36 am | Report abuse |
    • Scottish Mama

      Good point! Mutilation of genitilia.

      February 22, 2012 at 12:53 am | Report abuse |
    • Eric

      It is not required by law for one. Second jews are predominantly left leaning and are required to get them... Also what you are saying implies only the right gets them which is false and I would argue the difference between the left and right in regard to cutting the skin is probably 50/50 or within the error margin. So you should look in your own nest for people violating their children's rights before persecuting a huge majority of our country.

      February 22, 2012 at 1:17 am | Report abuse |
    • amazed

      No, this is about human beings concerned about the protection of human life. Why do the pro-abortion folks always fall back on the women's rights argument? I'm still waiting on someone to explain why the child doesn't have any say on whether it lives or dies. Can you explain that to me? We know, as it is scientific fact (and common sense) that an unborn baby is still a human has the same potential as a born infant and can feel, move, react just like a baby that has been birthed. It's amazing that folks still fight so hard to keep laws that promote the killing of a human life.

      February 22, 2012 at 1:25 am | Report abuse |
    • Kate

      @amazed Well, maybe that's because the clump of cells that forms a zygote in the first few weeks after conception has absolutely no concept of life, nor would it be able to survive on its own outside the mother's womb. Your statement "an unborn baby is still a human has the same potential as a born infant and can feel, move, react just like a baby that has been birthed" is ridiculous because it's pretty obvious to any person with any knowledge of how the whole process of pregnancy works that it is impossible for a two-month fetus to feel, move or react like a two-month old post-birth infant. I'm not sure what your grades were in science class in high school, but its not rocket science to understand this.

      A woman has the right to terminate a pregnancy if she so desires. Don't agree? Well, it's not your body. Don't get an abortion yourself, but don't deny another woman her right to choose.

      February 22, 2012 at 1:33 am | Report abuse |
    • Thinks2010

      @Eric–I'm just pointing out that religious conservatives are pretty selective when it comes to protecting the rights of children. You are correct that circ@mcisions are not required by law; neither are abortions or the use of contraceptives. However, if one is so concerned about protecting the rights of fetuses because they cannot consent, why not protect the rights of children against bodily mutilation once they are outside the womb until they are legally able to consent?

      February 22, 2012 at 1:43 am | Report abuse |
    • Thinks2010

      @Eric–In the United States, circ@mcision is the most common operation performed on males. It is routine following birth and is performed in the neonatal nursery mostly at the wishes of the parents, unrelated to religion. A 2010 report found 86% of U.S. parents favor neonatal circ@mcision. (info from circinfo)

      February 22, 2012 at 1:58 am | Report abuse |
  9. Andrew

    Gamete/zygote, potAEto/potAHto, am I right? So, if we're going down this route...wouldn't this also mean that any woman who menstrates without getting pregnant has also violated the law?

    February 22, 2012 at 12:40 am | Report abuse |
    • Robrob


      February 22, 2012 at 12:49 am | Report abuse |
  10. Miroh

    Another reason why I can't wait to leave this pathetic state.

    February 22, 2012 at 12:46 am | Report abuse |
  11. Robrob

    "planned to introduce a bill Wednesday that would prevent men from vasectomies unless needed to avert serious injury or death."


    February 22, 2012 at 12:48 am | Report abuse |
    • Scottish Mama

      And no more free viagra. If god does not want you to get it up it shall stay down.

      February 22, 2012 at 12:55 am | Report abuse |
  12. Winston5

    This is brilliant. And no crayzier than the p ro li fe a s s hats. Anyone see Santorum implode on "Meet the Press" over the weekend?

    February 22, 2012 at 12:57 am | Report abuse |
    • Scottish Mama

      He reminds me of someone who never learned about anything in a health class and still thinks the storck brings babies.

      February 22, 2012 at 1:07 am | Report abuse |
  13. Dr. Berg

    I was going to make a comment other than this but I give up.

    February 22, 2012 at 12:57 am | Report abuse |
  14. Otto von Wienerklipper

    What limitations? You only get one per customer. Are people actually coming back for more?

    February 22, 2012 at 12:57 am | Report abuse |
  15. Richard Rogers

    I google "20 week old baby" then also "20 week old fetus". I saw no womens body.

    February 22, 2012 at 12:59 am | Report abuse |
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