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. Eli

    @John McGill they won't grow up and produce more stupid and overcontrolling politicians.

    February 22, 2012 at 10:28 am | Report abuse |
  2. Andrew

    To CNN this is about equality, to anyone with a brain their is no connection. A connection to abortion for men would be for them to be able to terminate their parental responsibilities before the 20th week. But the left isn't really interested in real equality, just more more more for women so they don't have to take responsibility for their own body.

    February 22, 2012 at 10:28 am | Report abuse |
    • Miss Such-and-Such

      Your right Andrew, men should have the right to impregnate women and walk away from the babies. That would be a societal benefit and not a case of a dead-beat dad. One question: How do you propose that the woman bear and raise the child without any help?

      February 22, 2012 at 10:31 am | Report abuse |
    • Sick of Bigots

      Really Andrew?
      Women don't want to take responsibility for their bodies and any woman who wants the rights to her body is a "Womens's rights whiner"? I think perhaps you should move to a country where women are considered chattel, your views would be welcome there.

      February 22, 2012 at 10:42 am | Report abuse |
    • Andrew

      They get your beloved abortion. I suppose now it's not about equality, its about the kid all of a sudden. What a hater you are.

      February 22, 2012 at 10:43 am | Report abuse |
    • cronewinter

      Responsibility for their own bodies? That is what birth control and abortion is all about..responsible decisions to not bring an accidental or totally unwanted/unneeded child into the world. No birth control is 100% and womens passions run as deep as mens. Sometimes the responsible thing to do is to undo the pregnancy. A baby is not needed to work the farm any more..each child should be born because it is wanted and will be cherished and if it can't be wanted and cared for it should not be born. That is what responsibility is...often uncomfortable, sometimes sad but still the right thing to do.

      February 22, 2012 at 10:44 am | Report abuse |
    • Andrew

      Hey Miss Such-and-Such, it just shows how silly this bill is and how silly your position that this is only about women's rights, until men want the same rights.

      February 22, 2012 at 10:45 am | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      Why don't you worry about who YOU impregnate, and let the other women of the USA decide what they want.
      What a misogynist you are.

      February 22, 2012 at 11:48 am | Report abuse |
  3. Gamer Geek

    The day a government body tries to decide what I can do with my genitals, or my right to have, or not have children by responsible action and adult decision... is the day I die in a horrendous gunfight.

    Things have gone from ridiculous, to ludicrous, to absolutely nuts!

    February 22, 2012 at 10:28 am | Report abuse |
  4. APH

    How many friggin' unwanted babies do these religious nuts want to see born in this world?!? Are they going to care for all these babies when their fathers abandon them? How soon before they outlaw condoms, too?


    February 22, 2012 at 10:29 am | Report abuse |
    • cronewinter

      You must understand that Every sperm is sacred and very sperm is good. It's not about children really, it's a control thing to keep women subdued. If men could get pregnant, there would be no debate at all and darn few children born.

      February 22, 2012 at 10:34 am | Report abuse |
  5. Miss Such-and-Such

    I think she should give up all hope of men ever understanding (or caring) where women are coming from. Men are all about control and domination. They do not care about anyone else.

    February 22, 2012 at 10:29 am | Report abuse |
  6. Todd in DC

    Love this. Why should men decide how a woman handles herself?

    February 22, 2012 at 10:30 am | Report abuse |
  7. Jeff

    No, an appropriate response (if you want to keep abortion) would be to create a law saying that if the man didn't want a baby screwing up his life for the next 18 years, he got an out on paying child support. After all, it isn't really fair that the woman gets the last say in what the man is going to be forced to do for the next many years, when she has an out.

    This legislation would be an appropriate response if you were trying to keep only the woman from making a baby in the first place.

    February 22, 2012 at 10:30 am | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      I'm sure thinking people would be behind that.

      February 22, 2012 at 11:51 am | Report abuse |
  8. cronewinter

    Love it..the part about the rectal exam and stress test would for sure get my vote. If women must be tortured to get the care they require then so should men. The unborn must be protected at all costs and any act against them should be a crime. LOL...Very funny and very very good.

    February 22, 2012 at 10:31 am | Report abuse |
  9. Drowlord

    Wow. My baby daughter was born at 22 weeks - severely premature. However, she survived and is healthy and happy. Seems that "after 20 weeks" is pretty far along for someone to be making an abortion decision, and definitely in that gray area where abortion and murder start to become the same thing. The wording of this bill sounds very reasonable to me. Serious physical risks justify abortion after 20 weeks, but otherwise delivery must be attempted.

    February 22, 2012 at 10:31 am | Report abuse |
    • cronewinter

      At 20 weeks many things could have changed in her life, That's early enough that some women would not even realize for sure that the pregnancy was real. Many women are very erratic and skip periods frequently. I'm very happy for you and your little one, so glad she is ok but that was your experience and as wonderful as it is to you we can't make judgement for everyone based on personal feelings. A beloved daughter is not the same at all as an unwanted child.

      February 22, 2012 at 10:52 am | Report abuse |
  10. Andrew

    The only way to make men get equality on abortion is if they could terminate their parental responsibilities before the 20th week of pregnancy. Tubal ligation is the female equivalent to vasectomies. But don't let facts get in the way of leftist politics.

    February 22, 2012 at 10:33 am | Report abuse |
    • Miss Such-and-Such

      "Terminate their parental responsibility". But then what would happen to humans?

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

      Gee Andrew, they terminate their responsibilities all the time, both the financial and the moral. Add in abuse, drunken rage, drug addiction and laziness and you've got a great many men. If men did their part to prevent pregnancy and stood solid beside their mate when the birth control failed the need for abortion would drop like a stone.

      February 22, 2012 at 10:56 am | Report abuse |
  11. Kathleen

    The next logical step is to ban all over the counter forms of birth control, including condoms. All males must submit to DNA testing; the databank would establish paternity and financial responsibility for offspring.
    The inmates are running the asylum....

    February 22, 2012 at 10:33 am | Report abuse |
  12. Nobody N. Particular

    This is too funny, but exactly to the point; when then onus placed back on the anti-abortion he starts spouting off about people making light of the abortion issue. First off, abortion isn't an issue; women should have the right to determine when THEY want to have children, and not have some self-righteous idiot in the capitol dictating when and under what condition she can terminate her pregnancy. In an ideal world all children are wanted and every expectant mother is excited about her child, but there is no such place; people make mistakes and to force them to bring a life into this world that they would rather not, is cruel to the child (not to know a mother's love is the cruelest thing you can do to a child). People need to keep their religious convictions to themselves, not everyone agrees that every embryo is a baby, as a matter of fact several embryos and even some fetuses are lost each year to miscarriage, what are you going to do now, investigate each miscarriage as a potential murder?

    February 22, 2012 at 10:34 am | Report abuse |
  13. Stevie

    I hope this law passes. I would never have a vasectomy anyways, because as a man I have the ability to procreate 'til the day I die. Why would I ever want to give up such a wonderful gift?

    February 22, 2012 at 10:37 am | Report abuse |
  14. Shesaidwhat

    Even though she did this trying to illustrate a point, someone – somewhere is taking her seriously and considers this to be worthwhile legislation.

    February 22, 2012 at 10:37 am | Report abuse |
  15. Andrew

    A lot of whining about abortions. The only equivalent to a female having an abortion would be if male could terminate parental responsibility. Vasectomies are the equivalent of tubal ligation. Don't let facts get in the way of the women's rights whiners.

    February 22, 2012 at 10:37 am | Report abuse |
    • Epidi

      You should get one – I'll even pay for it. I'd hate to see any more woman hating crybabies like you come into the world.

      February 22, 2012 at 11:03 am | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      You have now repeated this about 7 times.
      Sounds like whining to me.

      February 22, 2012 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
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