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. Sharon

    Don't waste taxpayers' good money on this moron's little joke.

    February 22, 2012 at 9:57 am | Report abuse |
  2. Matt

    Since anti-abortion activists are so concerned about fetuses feeling pain, I hope this is the Trojan Horse to give PETA the precedent they need to outlaw meat. Not that I want to live in a world without meat, but pro-lifers are truly as ridiculous, annoying and intrusive as PETA.

    February 22, 2012 at 9:57 am | Report abuse |
    • Spud

      You're smart... when you were in your Mothers belly, you would be your worst enemy. Chew on that...Meathead.

      February 22, 2012 at 8:28 pm | Report abuse |
  3. TrueReality

    This just shows the power of rhetoric, and how much difference phrasing makes in political conversation. Not to mention the idiocy of liberals, whether willful or not. The entire point of the pro-life position is that it IS NOT only the woman's body! It's also the baby's body. This is not about birth control, or preventing pregnancies from happening; it's about not destroying people that already exist. Prevention is her business, or at least between her and whoever she's sleeping with. In fact, if women were more concerned with that, there would be fewer abortions to argue about.

    February 22, 2012 at 9:58 am | Report abuse |
    • yuri pelham

      support planned parenthood to prevent the need for abortions. What about all those embryos created as part of the in vitro fertilization program? What about those little critters. They are human but have very very little chance to progress any further. They are doomed. If you have a high horse leap upon his back and ride against a program which dooms countless thousands of embryos.

      February 22, 2012 at 10:14 am | Report abuse |
    • Loren

      Except that the same people who want to restrict abortions are usually *also* opposed to teaching about or providing means of contraception. Particularly to women.

      Change *that*, and maybe your argument would hold a bit more water. Or amniotic fluid.

      February 22, 2012 at 10:14 am | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      You may have something there, TR...legislate away when the baby can be viable outside a women's body...until then, not so much...and in any case, it is nobody's business what a woman does with her own body...unless it's the father, usually nowhere to be found.

      February 22, 2012 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
    • Tanya

      Prevention is HER Business!!! HER BUSINESS!!! The man plays no part in prevention!!! Are you kidding me??? Maybe men should keep it in their pants! That's prevention!! Get is the responsibility of BOTH men and women!!!!

      February 22, 2012 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Joseph

    We do not regulate womens bodies, we protect the rights of children.

    February 22, 2012 at 10:03 am | Report abuse |
    • George

      False, they are one and the same. That's how pregnancy works.

      February 22, 2012 at 10:15 am | Report abuse |
    • Rick

      False. We are not salamanders re-growing a tail.

      February 22, 2012 at 10:34 am | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      No CHILDREN are harmed by a woman's choice.

      February 22, 2012 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
    • Rick

      Just offspring

      February 22, 2012 at 11:39 am | Report abuse |
  5. Rob

    What BS. You can't compare a vasectomy to the choice a woman makes to have a living human being ripped to shreds inside her body and sucked out through a vacuum.

    February 22, 2012 at 10:06 am | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      You're right.
      You can't.
      Oh, BTW, HOW many chidren have you given birth to?
      How many times have you been pregnant?

      February 22, 2012 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
  6. oldtech

    Abortion ends a life.... It's murder... No more.... No less......

    February 22, 2012 at 10:07 am | Report abuse |
  7. conradshull

    Of course vasectomies should not be covered by "standard" health insurance, unless the insured wants to pay extra for the coverage.

    February 22, 2012 at 10:08 am | Report abuse |
  8. yuri pelham

    For a moment I thought this was serious and now I do realize southerners aren't quite as primitive as Afghans.

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

    We probably wouldn't need to have this debate if we actually taught appropriate education about contraception and made it more readily available. If you have fewer unwanted pregnancies, there will be fewer abortions.

    February 22, 2012 at 10:10 am | Report abuse |
  10. David

    It's just dumb. The statement was made to increase controversy. It's a way for the Georgia Democrats (and others) to show that they can still throw a fit like a little child. They even acknowledge that it's not the same thing, but they want everyone to think that having an abortion is just like removing an unwanted tumor. At what point is a baby a baby to those that don't think it's a baby? Only after a successful birth? You can't make bad choices and expect to not deal with the consequences.

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

      For them, it's never been about whether or not it's a baby. It's all about people who value their own selfish pleasure more than other human lives. They're so concerned with "women's health" that they think it's okay to ignore or actively destroy babies' health and religious liberty.

      February 22, 2012 at 10:25 am | Report abuse |
  11. jason

    its ridiculously awesome that democrats are using satire within govt to point out the absurdity of the republicans' proposed legislation

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

      I'm waiting for the appropriately satirical (and equally historical) response: an amendment to the proposal that only the 'missionary' position is legal.

      February 22, 2012 at 10:32 am | Report abuse |
    • Randy Paré

      I don't think the proposed legislation, on late-term abortions is all that crazy. 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 10:45 am | Report abuse |
  12. silly

    we don't limit hysterectomies on women so this does not really make sense. the reason abortion in an issue is that another life exists not just the woman.

    however that being said, enforcing rules about this is not the way to win, touching that person's life when making the decision is the best approach. when will people realize forcing does not generally work.

    February 22, 2012 at 10:12 am | Report abuse |
  13. Marcia Greenwood, IN

    The Repulicans want to shrink the government small enough to fit in a woman's vigina-I agree with this congress woman but I think we need to stop funding viagra and cialis

    February 22, 2012 at 10:13 am | Report abuse |
  14. Bob T

    OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOKlahoma, where the sperm comes sweepin' down the plain.......

    February 22, 2012 at 10:15 am | Report abuse |
  15. moribundman

    I foresee a rise in DIY home vasectomies. 😛

    February 22, 2012 at 10:15 am | Report abuse |
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