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. Mike Johnson

    Is this what we are paying our government officials to do? Good god people! Get a grip!

    February 22, 2012 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Punkass

    Really? So aborting a fetus is the same as taking away (non-permanently) a mans sperm is the same thing? That doesnt make any sense....

    February 22, 2012 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Dave Moffett

    What's fair for the gander is fair for the goose.

    February 22, 2012 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Oh my...

    I guess if a mother smokes or drinks during pregnancy and it results in premature birth with injury or death to the baby, she should be charged criminally.

    February 22, 2012 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Thinks2010

      That has been tried. I forget which state tried it though.

      February 22, 2012 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • rose rasmussen

      It makes more sense to hold someone accountable for drinking, smoking, or doing drugs while pregnant than it does to try to regulate birth control. Many of the babies born to women who abuse their bodies with the above mentioned vices end up needing special education or special needs, which isn't fair to the children or tax payers.

      February 22, 2012 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
  5. jeremiah w

    Fight fire with fire why didn't I think of that lol.

    February 22, 2012 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
  6. r-hope

    Every woman has right to her own body.
    The problem is that the fetus is not her own body
    chapter closed.

    February 22, 2012 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lectore

      I want to use your kidneys. Give 'em here, you can have them back in nine months. What? Why should fetuses be the only ones to be allowed forcible use of somebody else's body? Fair's fair, and I want your kidneys.

      February 22, 2012 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Thinks2010

      Looked at purely scientifically, the relationship of a fetus to its mother is essentially the relationship of a parasite to its host. I guess if Georgia's legislators really want to pass legislation that would treat men in an analogous manner they should pass one prohibiting men from removing any ticks from their bodies requiring them to just let them fall off after they have sustained and grown themselves on the men's bodies. The period of time the men would be required to carry their parasite would likely be much shorter than the 9 months women carry theirs, however, men would be risking their own health and likely experiencing lifelong changes they would not otherwise have experienced just as women do.

      February 22, 2012 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Okgal

      To whoever said that the fetus is not part of her body i would like to say that's incorrect, isn't the fetus attached to the body via the umbilical cord? One other question, isn't the fetus a parasite?

      February 22, 2012 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Frank

    Sorry, but an abortion is not the same thing as a vasectomy. FYI the Obama administration is making free (as in, doesn't cost anything) contraception available to women. This is just stupid grand standing.

    February 22, 2012 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • rose rasmussen

      And who pays for the vasectomies? They should not be covered by insurance if female birth control methods are not. By the way, does the Catholic Church pay for vasectomies?

      February 22, 2012 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Mr Mackey

    This is awesome. "Men can avoid the rewards of unwanted fatherhood"

    February 22, 2012 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
  9. X

    Oh and for those saying a vasectomy or a bill about ejaculation is nothing like an abortion, of course it isn't. There is no male equivalent to abortion. Men cannot carry children. That is why they tried for the next closest equivalent. Continue arguing the wrong point. It's your choice. It's nice being able to make your own choices isn't it?

    February 22, 2012 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Jamie

    Everything about this is ridiculous. In a world this overpopulated, the last thing we should be doing is making it harder to control the population. Classic example of ancient religions and dogmatically intolerant/ignorant mindsets continuing to hold back the civilized world.

    February 22, 2012 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Andy

      Do you feel in a 'civilized world' we should kill babies and dump them into plastic buckets? Has nothing to do with religion, but rather to do with compassion for a helpless baby.

      February 22, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Al

    How long before the politicians will want to prohibit masturbation? I guess that will be an end to the sperm bank.

    February 22, 2012 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
  12. victor

    It is right and fair that women can make decisions about their body, but the problem here is they can't use that right to murder a fetus. Rep. Yasmin Neal, is that all you can do to help??? you were once a fetus as well!!!!

    February 22, 2012 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
  13. tacjam5

    Good for her!!!! Looks like she's giving the perfect excuse and reason for the lack of African American fathers caring for their children. What is it now 70% of black children born out of wedlock? You would think she would put in a bill to make African Americans get sniped until they're responsible enough to have children...then have an operation to reverse the cut.

    February 22, 2012 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Halle

    if abortions is considered "murder" then miscarriage should be considered "involuntary manslaughter"

    February 22, 2012 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Katie

    If we can separate procreation from the woman's womb, then this whole abortion debate would be moot. But it's not. So it's ridiculous for someone to try and define "fetal rights" when that fetus is, by scientific standards, a parasite feeding off of a woman.

    February 22, 2012 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
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