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. Pete

    You people are freaks of the highest order! Is this the absolute crap the 24 hour printing of money allows you to focus on? This stuff makes the Iranian government look normal. Debating the legality of a wayward C shot...on the taxpayer dime? Best of luck neighbors!

    February 22, 2012 at 7:45 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Ann

    Ptooie. Cute idea and snarkily put, which I respect a ton, but abortion and vasectomy aren't the same thing. At the moment, we mostly all agree (apart from the Pope) that eggs and sperm aren't people. Birth control prevents the creation of people but doesn't kill them once they exist. Abortion does, on the other hand. You can debate until the cows come home about when a fetus becomes a person, but the fact is, it does at some point. And that's some point *after* egg and sperm have met.

    The whole pro-choice/pro-life thing boils down to when you think a fetus becomes a person. I think it does right off, personally, because no one's yet offered a suggestion as to what the hell it was the day before it became one. Or how "looking like" a person means being one. I am totally sympathetic to the pro-choice stance and used to be one myself, but ultimately, I just don't go in for it because it makes no sense.

    February 22, 2012 at 7:49 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Neurotoxin

    I'm 100% pro-choice, but this is just plain stoopid. There are millions of pro-choice men, and this militant feminism approach to the debate that seeks to make a point by proposing to step on men's liberties will be misinterpreted and drive men into the enemy camp, not because they are pro-life but because they don't want vascesctomies banned. Like black militants who think they are "balancing out" white supremacists, these whiny liberals don't understand that as a minority, you need to build coalitions to beat the oppressors rather than alienate the unaffiliated.

    February 22, 2012 at 7:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • umm no

      Any man who would be offended by this legislation should probably return to school and work on their reading comprehension. As a man I find this bill hilarious and appropriate. Fair is fair and if the government can regulate what women do with their bodies then they absolutely should do the same thing to men, or stop with the nonsense altogether and leave medical decisions up to doctors and their patients.

      February 22, 2012 at 7:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • rodericksmom

      You aren't getting it. They are protesting the same thing happening to women in congress.

      Its insulting to men to do this right?? So its also insulting to women.

      I think it would be only fitting to only allow women to discuss this issue and bar men congressional members from having any male witnesses

      February 22, 2012 at 8:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hodge

      Liberals aren't a minority. At least not in regard to abortion rights. Polls consistently show that people want the government out of this decision. If introducing bills that stick the government's noses into men's reproductive health can make a point that otherwise won't get made, then I'm all for it. Most people won't pay any attention to you unless you impact either their wallet or their sex life.

      February 22, 2012 at 8:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lewis

      These are two entirely different things. One protects the viable life of a human baby the other simply addresses sperm which is not considered a viable human being by the scientific community. Semen is not a person any more than sweat or blood cells are considered to be a human. One protects an unborn child, the other is immaturity at it fullest.

      February 22, 2012 at 9:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • carpday

      The problem with this approach is that it highlights an irrelevant and misleading aspect of the debate; the issue isn't gender politics it is the politics of religion. What many left leaning women who see this in terms of gender fail to acknowledge is that a significant percentage, and in some cases an outright majority, of pro life activists and conservative Catholics and Christians who hold similar views in this country are women. In a similar vein a great many men in this country are pro choice and actively support access to free and safe birth control on demand. It is counter productive, self defeating and grossly reductionist to continually characterize this debate in the language of gender politics.

      February 22, 2012 at 9:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • CeCe

      Hey Neurotoxin – Just grow up and get a life! This is a joke. You are so "stoopid"! You can't even spell it right!

      February 22, 2012 at 9:13 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Mike

    This is absolutely insane. Instead of debating the trouble with bills you introduce an intentionally stupid bill to waste time and taxpayer money? Furthermore, abortion is not the equivalent of a vasectomy. No where limits tubal ligations which is the actual equivalent. I have no strong feelings on abortion but to make light of the situation by introducing a stupid bill is not only poor politics it is in poor taste in general.

    February 22, 2012 at 7:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • sharky

      Nope, it is actually spot on. The female right to have an abortion is slowly being eroded and Planned Parenthood is being attacked. People are sitting there blaming the women for getting pregnant and having an abortion as it takes two to make a baby. Men do not have these laws on them because they cannot give birth. But right now, fair is fair, if the woman's right to have an abortion is under attack and men are involved in that attack, then they need to have a dose of their own medicine.

      February 22, 2012 at 8:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      Sharkey that is so dumb I almost dont want to comment. First not all men are pro-choice and tons of women are pro-life. Polls show women are generally 40% in favor of pro-life with another 5-10% being undecided. Men are around 40% pro-choice. This notion that its a man vs woman issue is insane. WOmen politicians vote against abortion all the time. The state of CA couldn't have passed prop 8 without women voting for it. Furthermore, abortion is not the same as vasectomy. They are completely unrelated. Contraception and abortion are two different issues, and its not only insulting but ignorant to state the comments you are making. Contraception should not be limited to any woman, abortion is a debate that either side can make legitimate arguments off science/medicine without even evoking religion.

      February 22, 2012 at 8:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Leave my junk alone

      And you expected something different from a Liberal?

      February 22, 2012 at 8:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bb8371

      You are correct...someone needs to find something of value for GA..law makers to work on !! This is the biggest waste of time and money...BUT on a different note !! it is scary where do these guys get the idea to get so involved in these issues, that are a personal issue.

      Ga has a difficult time taking care of the children they have, and their legal system is non- existent.... Basically their way or their way...

      February 22, 2012 at 9:09 pm | Report abuse |
  5. tothestarz

    Oh sure, a fetus is a "person" - until you try to claim it as a dependent on your tax return, or count as an extra passenger in the carpool lane, or apply for a social security number, or charge it rent for using your womb...or, of course, until its born. After you're born, you're disposable.

    February 22, 2012 at 7:56 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Gene Cole

    The leftist Democrats have finally jumped the shark.

    February 22, 2012 at 8:05 pm | Report abuse |
  7. RWRistheAC

    Only from the state that pokes its eyes in every bedroom:) Only in GA, where this slimy bunch could besmirch the reputation of one of their own war heroes.

    February 22, 2012 at 8:17 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Samantha

    Once your 20 weeks, you've dang well KNOWN you've been prego for awhile, so really adoption isn't the next best thing before you decide your just going to kill something!! You can feel it move for godsakes, there is no way your going to convince me it won't feel pain, especially if scissors were pierced through your skull, or you were burned alive. Im all for this bill, the fact that the clause put in there for "a mother's health" is good, it protects our rights!! You've had 19 weeks to decide what you are going to do, take responsibility. And I agree the "vasectomy" bill is just plain outrageous and a waste of taxpayers money, your not proving a point, your making yourself look like an idiot.

    February 22, 2012 at 8:17 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Ellie

    More in favor of a bill requiring mandatory vasectomy after the second live birth. Although I would be glad to have amendents for those who do not fall into the "good ole boy" category. I say this in jest, but I think it might offer some men a much needed perspective on how it feels to have so little control over many aspects of one's reproductive health. The old double standard has been around way too long!

    February 22, 2012 at 8:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Leave my junk alone

      I'd be more for vasectomies for liberal men. They need to stop breeding.

      February 22, 2012 at 8:29 pm | Report abuse |
  10. MikeSp

    Another foolish liberal notion.

    February 22, 2012 at 8:41 pm | Report abuse |
  11. ajk68

    I'm all for banning vasectomies. It is a form of mutilation. Just get some self -control !
    Let's be clear on this: having a vasectomy is not a right (neither is an abortion).

    February 22, 2012 at 8:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ramsen

      Having a vasectomy or abortion is not a right, you are correct there. However, you as an individual do not have the right to tell me as an individual that I cannot have either one performed. You may not agree with either for whatever reason, but that is your personal view. Both proceedures should be available for those that wish to use them.

      February 22, 2012 at 9:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • xeno

      If you are serious, then going to the doctor for any sort of surgery is also "not right."

      February 22, 2012 at 9:17 pm | Report abuse |
  12. d

    Are you out of your mind??? More men SHOULD be having vasectomies and so many problems would be solved!!

    February 22, 2012 at 8:46 pm | Report abuse |
  13. glu

    you gotta be fkg me, this is so ridiculous I cannot even start to comment. The planet is collapsing from too many people already and you want to stop men from being responsible? Fk yU Georgia

    February 22, 2012 at 8:47 pm | Report abuse |
  14. MidWestern Boy

    Fair enough Libs and Ladies. And a discussion on circumcision for infant females as well as males, Uh huh.

    February 22, 2012 at 8:53 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Gadflie

    Ok, who says Congress Critters don't have a sense of humor?

    February 22, 2012 at 8:55 pm | Report abuse |
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