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. 2muchfun

    “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."

    There's no other place I would rather be...

    February 22, 2012 at 5:36 pm | Report abuse |
  2. CdrDave

    Equating 'what someone can do with their body' to the murder of the most innocent life on the planet is typical liberal, atheistic 'reality.' Asinine.

    February 22, 2012 at 5:38 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Joe

    Prohibiting vasectomies is like prohibiting a tubal ligation. This is completely different and a great example of how the sides aren't close to understanding each other or close to a compromise. Conservatives think the living thing inside the woman is a human being worthy of protection since it has a heartbeat, brainwaves, blood type, dna, etc. The location of someone doesn't make him/her human.

    Conservatives don't think sperm is human, or eggs. They don't think sperm or eggs will grow to look like humans. They don't think a period means a loss of a human. They don't think sperm is a potential human. Barring a natural or non-natural abortion, the fertilized egg with food and shelter will grow to look like a human. At 20 weeks it has many feature of living creatures we consider human, except the location.

    It's a cute story by someone who I guess is seeking a little time on tv but it's a completely different thing to equate vasectomies and abortions. Call being against abortions at 20 weeks mean, hateful, mean spirited or whatever term you'd like to avoid the argument if you'd like. Humanity isn't determined by location. A body isn't determined by location.

    February 22, 2012 at 5:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Katya

      No - the issue is government interference into what should be a decision reached by a patient and his or her physician.

      February 22, 2012 at 6:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • PhillipsFanNYC

      So your definition of conservatives doesn't include the COUNTLESS number of Catholic conservatives who think that birth control of any kind should be prohibited? Or are you narrowing your argument to not include conservatives of this type but only conservatives of another type?

      February 22, 2012 at 6:27 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Common Sense

    Ugh! This is just stupid. I get the intention, but it's an apples to oranges comparison. I'm for Choice, but idiots like this desensitize me to any sort of "plight" they may be facing..stupid..just plain stupid

    February 22, 2012 at 5:41 pm | Report abuse |
  5. tiddingwright

    How in the hell do stupid people like this get elected ? Guess its a rhetorical question.

    February 22, 2012 at 5:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • marge

      It's a 'tongue in cheek' point out how they see our gov't seeks to limit female choice.. Lighten up guys, have no fear women will never vote against men having vasectomies......

      February 22, 2012 at 7:12 pm | Report abuse |
  6. tiddingwright

    Maybe shes made no one wants to have a baby with her

    February 22, 2012 at 5:46 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Rob

    Without even touching the debate about when "life" begins, there is one irrefutable difference between an abortion at 20 weeks and a vasectomy. The abortion at 20 weeks will end the natural development of a joined egg and sperm, 20 weeks along. Conception has already happened and the process has started. That is not the case with a vasectomy.

    February 22, 2012 at 5:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • femtel


      You failed science, ethics or both. Frightening.

      February 22, 2012 at 6:00 pm | Report abuse |
  8. NB

    Too many assume that those who bring God" into the "right of choice" argument are uneducated and thoughtless people conditioned to promote a form of social control in the name of a fairy-tale. We aren't dumb. We believe. We know archaeological evidence clearly concludes that there were no Hebrew slaves, we realize the Egyptians never mentioned Exodus because it never happened, and we understand that not a single remnant of our forty-year wandering through the barren desert exists. Every Christian with a valid university degree realizes that the Old Testament is a story book, nothing more.

    We realize Abraham is the product of a fiction written by an Alexandrian and we have no doubt, none, that he who did not exist was summoned by God. This all makes perfect sense to us.

    Those who fail to recognize this reality are hence known as the "sub 70s". 70 is just a number,... 30 below average.

    Christ's people were always at war. In our 5000 year history, we of the bible have peacefully occupied our holy land for a mere 600 years. Christ's real implored his people, Judaen, to let the Romans have Israel and keep their souls. To divorce faith from politics and improve our species with each motion, each notion. Everything beyond that is marketing and everyone who has given a dime in that name has been swindled.

    I feel stupid. It doesn't feel that bad, but it does feel.

    February 22, 2012 at 5:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • jenny

      wha YOU fail to recognize is that your g-d is fictional as well.

      February 22, 2012 at 6:23 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Jerry

    The only argument against abortion is a religious one. I for one, am so tired of watching one group try to legislate their religion onto everyone else. If you don't want to have an abortion, don't; but my religion has no problem with it. The vast majority of Americans believe in the use of contraception, and a majority of Americans believe that abortion should be legal, yet a small (but vocal) group of religious wing-nuts keep trying to force their bizarre views of morality upon everyone else. If you're against abortion, contraception, and gay marriage – then you should be willing to fully fund healthcare for the poor (especially all those unwanted children that will result), childcare subsidies, and be willing to outlaw divorce (if you're so worried about "protecting marriage").

    February 22, 2012 at 5:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • femtel

      "The only argument against abortion is a religious one."

      I don't need a man in the sky to tell me that if something is a genetically distinct, feeling human animal that we should give pause before killing it. Strange that you do.

      February 22, 2012 at 5:58 pm | Report abuse |
  10. fcarr

    it's been fun but I have to get back to work. Two more kid's to finish raising and putting through college.

    February 22, 2012 at 5:57 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Kaci

    Actually, it makes perfect sense. I cannot believe I hear no feedback from the Catholic Church. The church bans all forms of artificial contraception for the faithful. The church believes these measures go against the proliferation of life. A vasectomy is a form of artificial contraception. They should be all over this is agreement but I haven't heard a peep. Whereas the church has been extremely vocal regarding contraception and women, I haven't heard a peep about contraception and men.

    February 22, 2012 at 6:02 pm | Report abuse |
  12. James

    And this is why we need to remove ALL politicians from office – this woman is making a mockery of our system – and wasting tax payer money in the process. I hope she's voted out next GA election.

    February 22, 2012 at 6:02 pm | Report abuse |
  13. NB

    Americans need to learn to ignore more. 40,000 new laws went into effect on Jan 1,... how many of these provided Americans with more freedom?
    Ignore the anit-freedom, anti-choice people. Let's find another party or two or three and take America from the Demopublicans. Let's focus on the lack of difference between these parties and create one that ends corporate rule and promotes tolerance, intelligence and liberty.
    We need to ignore more. The media is not to be trusted and the politicians use the media.

    February 22, 2012 at 6:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • MBrown

      I agree! It is time for a new party, I am sick and tired of these same old arguments. Our country has been trapped by these two parties and we just debate back and forth the same old crap while behind the scene, the elite are robbing us blind, we are fighting pointless wars, and our education and health is falling to 3rd world levels.

      February 22, 2012 at 6:26 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Yeah Babeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

    What a way to get even with those old white dudes! Love it. Keep going and after a while they might even realize that fun is being poked at them. The rest of you people lighten up!
    No one should tell another person what to do with their body PERIOD, got that NO ONE!

    February 22, 2012 at 6:23 pm | Report abuse |
  15. DTS

    Go right ahead. For the Catholic male (a REAL Catholic – one who knows his Catechism) – vasectomies are prohibited too.

    February 22, 2012 at 6:24 pm | Report abuse |
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