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. SPENT

    I think this is worth a role in a Hollywood drama series.

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

    dumbest. legislation.ever. It's not about preventing births, but preventing deaths. Abortion legislation would apply to men if they had a womb.

    February 22, 2012 at 10:20 am | Report abuse |
  3. Nick

    See we have contradictory laws, on one hand you may have an abortion and its ok. On the other you k ill a pregnant lady and you get double murder no matter how far along she is. Just sayin.

    February 22, 2012 at 10:20 am | Report abuse |
    • Kathy

      When a person murders a pregnant woman and the fetus dies, he should be charged with a double murder. Abortion is about choice and a pregnant woman who is killed does not have that choice.

      February 22, 2012 at 10:41 am | Report abuse |
  4. Old Gaffer

    Parasite: an organism living in, with, or on another organism – cite

    Sounds like the perfect definition of a fetus to me

    And btw, I had my vasectomy 28 years ago, and my health insurance paid for ALL of it. One can pay for a lot of vasectomies and abortions before approaching the cost of one more criminal or liberal.

    February 22, 2012 at 10:20 am | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      Good for you.
      How many children have you given birth to?
      None?
      Then pipe down.

      February 22, 2012 at 11:40 am | Report abuse |
  5. Ralph in Orange Park, FL

    I believe this is what is called "reductio ad absurdum".

    February 22, 2012 at 10:21 am | Report abuse |
  6. Andrew

    I think a better connection to vasectomies is getting your tubes tied, not abortion or contraceptive. See how the left makes anything about women a rights thing. Men get vasectomies, women get their tubes tied. Abortion of contraceptives are not an opposite gender equal here. More whining from the left about wanting more equality for women.

    An anology would be if women can abort babies, then men can abort their parental responsibilities. You won't ever hear a left winger talk about real equality, because their just whining. What part of equality does the left not understand.

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

      Actually, as a "lefty", not only do I believe that a women has the legal and social right to a medical abortion, I also believe that men should have the legal and social right to abort their parental responsibility if a women refuses to have an abortion.

      Don't forget, it's conservatives that are always pushing for anti-abortion, and anti-birth control.

      February 22, 2012 at 10:38 am | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      I think that's fair.
      I wouldn't have a problem with that, as most thinking people won't.
      OK, we're agreed, then right, Andrew?
      It's about women's CHOICES.

      February 22, 2012 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
  7. freelance

    As true conservatives we should only restrict women's bodies.. not mens!!

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

    I would like to know how many children pro lifers have adopted? I would rather some one take birth control or get an abortion than to have a baby they can't care for or don't want. Yes in a ideal world these women could put their baby's up for adoption. But what percentage of women actually do?

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

    The next step is to make it a criminal act to j@$$ O$$. The shower drains in every swingin weeners house could be considered a crime scene!

    February 22, 2012 at 10:23 am | Report abuse |
  10. Cobra-212

    So a responsible male, trying to ensure that he only brings into being children he can afford to support and educate is going to be told, "you don't have that choice." We, the almighty liberal politicians are going to remove your ability to control the size of your family. People, don't be blind! There is already a over population problem and rather than doing the opposite of requiring reversible vasectomies until someone proves they have the means to support and educate kids, we will simply ensure that the poor, uneducated, government benefits dependent people have as many babies as they possible can. Our politicians have gone absolutely insane.

    February 22, 2012 at 10:25 am | Report abuse |
    • AKSean

      I totally concur and the same can be said for abortions for the exact same reasons. I believe that is one of Mrs. Neal's points. Thanks for summing up part of her argument.

      February 22, 2012 at 10:30 am | Report abuse |
  11. Andrew

    Getting your tubes tied is covered. And that's the female equivalent to vasectomies, not abortion. They're just trying to tie abortion and contraceptives to anything they can, what weak minded people their are on the political left.

    If they were serious about equality on this issue they would introduce legislation that would let men terminate their parental responsibilities up until the fourth month or so, whatever the time period is for abortions in your state.

    February 22, 2012 at 10:25 am | Report abuse |
    • Rbnlegnd

      Your comparison is exactly backwards. If the legislation says that the woman has to bear and raise the child, the corresponding legislation should also not let the man out of his share of the burden. If your proposal is complimentary to the availability of abortion, then you would have a point.

      For an good companion bill, it would go the other way. The woman could demand to have any man she names as the potential father tested for paternity, and if the test provides a match, that father would be subjected to a variety of medical procedures comparable to those involved in childbirth, would be set to simple menial labor for an amount of time similar to the effort involved in raising a child, and would have his wages garnished to provide for the child's upbringing, equivilant to the mothers contribution, or a minimum amount needed to rais a child, whichever is greater.

      February 22, 2012 at 10:45 am | Report abuse |
  12. tess

    She should have also added that ED medication must be paid at the same rate as birth control.

    February 22, 2012 at 10:25 am | Report abuse |
  13. larfinator

    black women are stupid and spitefull.

    February 22, 2012 at 10:26 am | Report abuse |
    • AKSean

      no, comments like yours are.

      February 22, 2012 at 10:32 am | Report abuse |
  14. AKSean

    Awesome. And for Rep McKillip, I don't think the bill was introduced in jest, but was intended to create a broader discussion about reproductive and personal rights. Good luck Rep Neal.

    February 22, 2012 at 10:26 am | Report abuse |
  15. ConcernedNetizen

    They cook up these ridiculous "heated" arguments to waste time in the Capitols of our states and our country to distract from the inevitably untenable debt loads on every facet of our country. They debate these "issues" to enrage at least half the people all the time. so as we have something else to talk about beside fiscal responsibility. It is a redirect.

    February 22, 2012 at 10:27 am | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      Yep.

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