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. TravelSheryl

    Semen is not a life regardless of when life begins and I'm VERY pro choice. This is a totally stupid idea of hers and a total waste of taxpayer money.

    February 22, 2012 at 3:47 am | Report abuse |
    • ananomous

      never met anyone with the first name "Travel" before.

      February 22, 2012 at 4:56 am | Report abuse |
    • MetalEdge

      The ignorance of politicians amazes me. A vasectomy is equivalent to a woman getting a tubal ligation. To say that making vasectomy illegal is equivalently invasive of one's rights as making a 20 week abortion illegal is ridiculous. Sperm is merely the potential for life; however, a fetus is life.

      February 22, 2012 at 9:48 am | Report abuse |
    • Veritas

      You missed the point. This bill isn't a serious attempt to restrict men from having vasectomy; it's an attempt to bring attention to turn the tables and point out how it would look if the state prohibit men's reproductive choices the way they are to prohibit women's reproductive choices. The point is the state has no legitimate right to do either.

      February 22, 2012 at 9:49 am | Report abuse |
    • SuZieCoyote

      And the bills you favor to control my body are a waste of taxpayer dollars as well.

      February 22, 2012 at 9:50 am | Report abuse |
    • pattyo27

      Peronsally, I love this! It's no more a waste than the HUNDREDS of hours, using my money, to determine what I can do with my body. I get why she's doing this and I applaud her. She's just trying to show men what women are currently being faced with. This is important because the majority of these "pro-life" lawmakers are MEN. So, let's hit them where it hurts so they can understand what they're doing to us. I think the whole debate is archaic and it makes me embarrassed to be an American. But, hey, I needed a good laugh this morning.

      February 22, 2012 at 10:02 am | Report abuse |
  2. Anita

    If women had better access to and more knowledge about birth control, so many abortions could be prevented altogether. The groups working so hard to keep young women in the dark regarding sex for "moral" reasons are actually causing abortions. If abortion really does start becoming illegal, women are just going to turn to illegal methods, which will end up risking the mother's life. If so-called pro-life people really cared about life, they would work to preserve the lives of those who are already living.

    February 22, 2012 at 4:39 am | Report abuse |
    • WiscBadger

      "preserve the lives of those who are already living." I'm sure you mean the unborn child.

      February 22, 2012 at 9:48 am | Report abuse |
    • lordpet

      How about this? If you force women to follow through on unwanted pregnancies, then you have to adopt unwanted babies. You seem to care so much about fetuses, I'm sure there's more than enough love in your heart for an actual baby.

      February 22, 2012 at 9:59 am | Report abuse |
    • WiscBadger

      Absolutly I have 3 babies.

      February 22, 2012 at 10:05 am | Report abuse |
  3. ananomous

    If abortion is about one's sovereignty over their body... why then are individuals not free to use whatever drugs they would like? I mean it is THEIR own body. It is not the place for a fat, old, white, politician to decide what I can and can't do when it comes to my body. The lack of principle is astounding sometimes...

    February 22, 2012 at 4:54 am | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      They are free to do that already.
      It's some of the drugs themselves that are illegal, not the act of using them.

      February 22, 2012 at 8:33 am | Report abuse |
  4. Eddie

    This is why we don't need any women in politics.

    February 22, 2012 at 5:06 am | Report abuse |
  5. Lost in space

    When I saw the headline I thought this was about the country of Georgia.
    Now I realize this it is about a province in Republistan, formerly the United Confederate Socialist Republics.
    What is good for the goose is good for he gander, nice move democrats.

    February 22, 2012 at 5:56 am | Report abuse |
  6. Lost in space

    McKillip, as you are "drilling down" on fetus pain, see if republicans have empathy for property called women.

    February 22, 2012 at 6:08 am | Report abuse |
  7. Jason

    HA, HA, the joke is on those trying to pass this law. Most men that I know don't want to get vasectomies. Pretty please pass this law. The woman who introduced this bill didn't fully think this issue through. Men don't think like women. We will gladly have this law passed. I've got a friend who wishes that this law had existed last year so his wife wouldn't have complained to the point that it essentially forced him into getting a vasectomy. When a man gets a vesectomy it is usually because his female partner no longer wants to be involved in the birth control process. Again, all of the men that I know want this law passed. Thanks lady for making yourself a laughing stock and keeping our family jewels intact. LOL.

    February 22, 2012 at 6:15 am | Report abuse |
    • Felix

      I think the criticisms involved in this bill went over someones head.

      February 22, 2012 at 8:36 am | Report abuse |
    • Mary

      you must be speaking about the two flat tires on the volkswagaon.

      March 1, 2012 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Sid Airfoil

    This debate will never be settled until we all agree on when life begins. THe "pro-lifers" think it begins at conception, which is a patently silly idea based solely on religious interpretation. By the way, I don't believe there is anything in the Bible about life beginning at conception. If I'm wrong, please give me chapter and verse. Not even St. Augustine or St. Thomas Aquinas, the two most important Christian theologians, thought that the soul entered the body at conception. But GIVEN that this is the assumption of the "pro-life" crowd, then it follows logically that abortion is murder. But there is no point in discussing this with them since that belief is one based on FAITH, not EVIDENCE. And there is no arguing with faith.


    February 22, 2012 at 6:24 am | Report abuse |
    • Randy Paré

      After 20 weeks, the odds of a developing fetus surviving a premature birth rise dramatically. My own first child, Genevieve, whose turning 14 soon, was one such [born at 1 pound 4 ounces and as long as my hand]. How can such a baby NOT be a life?

      February 22, 2012 at 8:41 am | Report abuse |
    • BobBarker

      I've seen this passage referred to by many proponents of "life at conception." I don't personally believe that to be true, but I know that those who do have some scripture to support their beliefs. It's like any theology, all it takes is one verse for people to build an argument.
      Psalm 139: "13 For you created my inmost being;
      you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
      14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
      your works are wonderful,
      I know that full well.
      15 My frame was not hidden from you
      when I was made in the secret place,
      when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
      16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
      all the days ordained for me were written in your book
      before one of them came to be.
      17 How precious to me are your thoughts,[a] God!
      How vast is the sum of them!
      18 Were I to count them,
      they would outnumber the grains of sand—
      when I awake, I am still with you.

      February 22, 2012 at 8:52 am | Report abuse |
    • lordpet

      So Randy, if a woman miscarries after 20 weeks, is she guilty of involuntary manslaughter? After all, a life has been lost.

      February 22, 2012 at 10:01 am | Report abuse |
    • JoeG

      The evangelical position on abortion is relatively new. As late as the 1960s, they subscribed to the belief that a fetus had no soul until birth. I believe this was based on some passages in Exodus 21, among others. There is nothing in the bible that says when life begins. Like many things with the bible, it is rather ambiguous and open to interpretation.

      February 22, 2012 at 10:09 am | Report abuse |
  9. Randy Paré

    After 20 weeks, the odds of a developing fetus surviving a premature birth rise dramatically. My own first child, Genevieve, whose turning 14 soon, was one such [born at 1 pound 4 ounces and as long as my hand]. So how can such a baby NOT be a life?

    February 22, 2012 at 8:39 am | Report abuse |
  10. Average Joe

    Vasectomy does not equal abortion.

    Vasectomy is MUCH more closely related to a woman having her tubes tied, which is not illegal last time I checked. Both of those procedures PREVENT the creation of life rather than ending a life.

    This is yet another ploy by democrats to trivialize a serious issue. Jonesboro, wake up and realize what your representative is spending her time on. Sounds like she needs to 1. Refocus on the issue at hand and bring a realistic solution to the problem, or 2. Find a new line of work courtesy of the voters

    February 22, 2012 at 8:41 am | Report abuse |
    • jake

      Your ability to think outside the box and pick up on subtleties to prove a point are surely nothing more than average, JOE.

      February 22, 2012 at 9:30 am | Report abuse |
    • They don't get it

      @Jake and Felix:

      Jason and Average Joe live in Republistan.
      They are unable to get it; it not allowed to think there.

      February 22, 2012 at 10:21 am | Report abuse |
  11. Anonymous

    All of you are clearly not getting it!! The whole point of this sham Anti-vasectomy bill is to create a buzz around the government making decisions for a man's body as they do for a woman's! I agree that, unfortunately, it does not have the shock value that any anti-abortion bill does, but at least this SMART FEMALE is trying to go head to head with her disgusting MALE, RELIGIOUS RIGHT counterparts!!

    February 22, 2012 at 9:08 am | Report abuse |
  12. fernace

    The issue is Not abortion, it is Not even about when an embryo is "alive" or a fetus is viable outside the womb! The Issue is that, in the 21st Century, women must be allowed to Own our own bodies w/out Strangers trying legislate our reproductive rights! I truly don't care what your convictions are about the matter of abortion, the matter of lawmakers & pro-life groups insinuating themselves in my private life & decisions has to stop! Thanks, Yasmin Neal for doing what I have long suggested, Legislate mens Tes.ticles! The agenda here is to control womens s.e.x.uality, by making abortion illigal again, making birthcontrol an out of pocket expense (as it has been until recently), but all the while catering to mens s.e.xuality, by offering Insurance paid Viagara (as it has been doing), so men can get their "swerve on" anytime they feel like! IOW, the religious right want us all to join them in their "time machine" for a trip to Last turn of the century, when women couldn't even vote! I'm not taking that trip!!

    February 22, 2012 at 9:35 am | Report abuse |
  13. FleetingTX

    How about just putting salt peter in the water and then we wont have any of those pesky pregnancies!

    February 22, 2012 at 9:45 am | Report abuse |
  14. Kansas

    It seems to me that most Republicans are pro-life, but they are also pro death penalty. They are just as willing to take life away as they are to protect it. Not very Christian, but they're Republicans. What can you do?

    February 22, 2012 at 9:48 am | Report abuse |
    • Lala

      Uh, are you serious? Pro-life is protecting an unborn (and innocent) life. The death penalty is punishment for an illegal CRIME. HUGE difference there Sherlock. Try using that brain again...

      February 22, 2012 at 9:56 am | Report abuse |
    • Thinks2010

      @LaLa–That's the kind of thinking that killed Jesus and many people of conscience of many faiths who acted on their beliefs in opposition to the laws or powers of their day.

      February 22, 2012 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
  15. rightospeak

    Government agencies need to get out of mandating business which tells people how to run their lives. Vote Ron Paul 2012 or live in government mandates.

    February 22, 2012 at 9:55 am | Report abuse |
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