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. M in Oz

    Sounds right to me though since no other form of birth control is fail proof and Christians do love to tell women to take all the precautions and "deal with it" by getting married to the sperm machines. Don't want to get a woman pregnant blokes, get a vasectomy.

    February 22, 2012 at 10:40 pm | Report abuse |
  2. ms. G

    This bill reminds me of "A Modest Proposal" by Alexander Pope. I didn't think we had politicians that witty in this country. I'm pleasantly surprised.

    February 22, 2012 at 10:45 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Craig

    For all you Pro-Lifers out there... if you are SO upset about these "baby killing" women, why don't you push for a bill that requires Pro-Lifers to register for a state lottery that selects one of you to adopt a child that was born because YOU took THEIR choice away! You would also be required to repay them for any lost time and medical expenses. Bet that register would be pretty darn some!!

    February 22, 2012 at 10:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • 4Choice

      I agree with you 100% Craig.

      February 22, 2012 at 11:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • reasonable peeps

      We waite in line to adopt. There are none unless you go to Vietnam or Africa.

      February 22, 2012 at 11:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bein4real

      Reasonable: And what is wrong with adopting from Africa or Vietnam? A life IS a life, right? There are children here in the US now, waiting to be adopted....but wait there are a shortage of "traditional" (read healthy white newborns!) children to be now what?

      February 23, 2012 at 1:44 am | Report abuse |
  4. karma

    Wow, just when you think politicians couldn't get any more stupid, these guys go and prove you wrong.

    February 22, 2012 at 11:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • M in Oz

      This is a woman showing men what it feels like to be lorded over, the men won't get the message since they are blessed with not having to deal with anything after ejaculation.

      February 22, 2012 at 11:33 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Chris

    Apparently these religious zealots believe life begins at ejaculation.

    February 22, 2012 at 11:56 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Majav

    I just want to know how far these pro death penalty warmonger men are going to reach up into women's privacy. Will they convict an alcoholic woman who drank so much she miscarried? Will these men be so disgusted by her act of negligence that they will seek the death penalty?

    A woman gives life to the child. The state does not give life. If she chooses to end her pregnancy that's strictly her choice too. How she does it should be as medically safe as possible. Making it illegal will compel already vulnerable women to make extremely dangerous choices.

    We don't see the state giving life to a child, but we see life taken away by the state as in capital punishment and endless wars.

    Why are Republican men so pro-life with unborn babies but so calloused in taking away life with capital punishment and war? Guilty felons? What about innocent young men dying in the military?

    Maybe that woman drank so much because her husband and brother were both killed in combat and she couldn't stand to bring another life into a world that worships death and destruction more than decency.

    Pro-lifers should also be pacifists and anti-capital punishment. Yet, Catholic Santorum and Catholic Gingrich are staunchly pro gun pro military and pro death penalty- the latter being explicitly forbidden by the Pope.

    These men do not have consciences. They read polls and wager their campaigns on the most ignorant, backward, and irrational voters imaginable. After years of this opportunistic kowtowing they actually belief the rubbish that spills from their lips.

    February 23, 2012 at 12:06 am | Report abuse |
    • Raja

      I like the way you put it Majav. Women give life and it should be their choice to decide otherwise anytime they want. It kind of hurts me to say it but I think forcing a woman to do something with her body against her will shows we are not fully evolved in our thinking.

      February 23, 2012 at 12:50 am | Report abuse |
    • Decimal

      You dare stand on your soap box and wag your finger at conservatives over this issue? So the murder of unborn children is A-Ok with you, but putting a rapist or murderer to death is inhumane? I'll never understand where liberals think they hold the moral high ground on this issue, All you have to do to justify butchering a unborn child is dehumanize it by saying it's only a few months, it's no biggie right? It's funny because I remember when New York liberals made a big to do about banning trans fats because it is bad for your body, but they all stood united on the pro-choice debates because no one has the right to tell a woman what she can and cannot do with her body. Hypocrisy much? A man who chooses not to be a father is a dead-beat selfish jerk who abandoned his kids, but a woman who decides not to be a mother is pro-choice. Again, hypocrisy much? And don't give me that women bring forth life, they should determine if they want a life to continue self-righteous non-sense. By that standard, Anthony Casey should have never had to stand trial, I mean she brought her kid into the world, according to you it's ok for her to just off her kid anytime she wants.

      All the best.

      February 23, 2012 at 1:19 am | Report abuse |
    • rick

      I am a 48 yr old male conservative. I cannot believe how twisted around you are on this issue. What a shame. Go to college, take some history classes. Learn about your country. Learn about societies that have collapsed. Then form your own opinions. Now all you do is repeat the same ole crap your liberal friends say.

      February 23, 2012 at 1:30 am | Report abuse |
    • who cares

      Let's get back to the title of the article. Its about vasectomys not abortions. No different then telling you that you can't take the pill or get your tubes tied. What about the man and wife that have 3 children, jobs, and a mortgage and want a perment form of birth control. Why would the government want to take that away!

      February 23, 2012 at 1:56 am | Report abuse |
    • CL

      Majav and Decimal's comments show the complete hypocrisy of the two-party system. People aren't concerned with being morally right; they take positions on issues then craft a morality to fit those positions. At least the Catholic church makes an attempt to be consistent.

      February 23, 2012 at 3:42 am | Report abuse |
    • Dr. Ruth

      At rick:

      Au Contraire my friend may be you need to go back to college and take some history lessons. People that have religion on the cuff and pushed it on to others are the societies that are backwards or in decadence, just look around the world today.. Iran Syria, the middles east.
      Another thing Necons like you talk and talk about the rights of the unborn, but once the kid is here you opposed, Education for the Kid, Health services, for the Kid, Basic social services etc.. your position is Why should I pay for them.. so your position is bring them to this world, but once here “is not my problem except is there is a war, then send them and no my Kid..

      February 23, 2012 at 5:45 am | Report abuse |
  7. Debra

    I applaud Ms. Neal. It is ludicrous in this day and age we even have to have these conversations about birth control and abortion, about women's reproductive rights.

    February 23, 2012 at 12:06 am | Report abuse |
    • Raja

      I have to disagree with you Debra. Tit for tat is not the right thing to do. Fight for women's rights but dont take men's rights away and try to call it even. To me Neal is just an activist without any brain accumen.

      February 23, 2012 at 12:54 am | Report abuse |
    • rick

      Are you kidding me? We need to have all these conversations continually. It is called a democracy... wake up!!! You will not have this country to yourselves DEAL WITH IT!!!

      February 23, 2012 at 1:34 am | Report abuse |
    • Dr. Ruth

      Rick , Rick..

      Again... get a bit of education... go back to college so you can have an educated opinion and not rants

      Forcing you way of thinking on others “”is NOT democracy”” is called Tyranny.

      Get with it dude..

      February 23, 2012 at 5:50 am | Report abuse |
  8. VRage13

    This is silly. Abortion is the legal killing of a lifeform created by the joining of an egg and semen. Trying to legislate the semen would necessitiate the legislating of the egg too. Semen is not a lifeform by itself nor is the egg however once joined they make a lifeform. The question now is, should the killing of this lifeform be legal? If so, what if any limitation do we put on the killing of this lifeform? What, if any, rights or protections do we provide this lifeform?

    February 23, 2012 at 12:25 am | Report abuse |
  9. LogicalThinker

    There is another alternative in thinking of ways to reduce unwanted pregnancies. Snip potential fathers. Think about this. A woman may claim a certain man fathered her child. If a paternity test is done and proves paternity, then the man has a choice – support the child fully through adulthood or get snipped.

    February 23, 2012 at 12:36 am | Report abuse |
  10. Orin

    It is time for our governments to grow up. This article was a waste of time, but think of the time wasted by the politicians that should be dealing with the economy/environment/international boiling points/immigration to name a few. We have huge issues to deal with, and what do we get? Stalled government and Hollywood antics. Come on! There is too much at stake to keep messing around like this.

    February 23, 2012 at 12:52 am | Report abuse |
    • Hello

      just another dumb politician trying to provide job security for herself by wasting more tax money and time on fixing what is really NOT broke in our country.
      They focus on the crotch issues and ignore the REAL ones.. because they are too stupid and have no clue how to fix the REAL they focus on the crotch issues and get attention for being sooo stupid.

      February 23, 2012 at 6:02 am | Report abuse |
  11. gee whiz

    There is no issue that is more reflective of where we are as a society - technology, law, and our collective value system collide with this topic. Is abortion acceptable when the pregnancy risks the life of the mother? Should it be legal when the mother is the victim of rape? When science informs the parents the fetus will be born with deformations or disabilities that will make the child's life one of unending pain? Really difficult to argue against the procedure in those instances.
    Abortion as a means of general birth control - because the responsibility of raising a child is inconvenient? Well, under those circumstances, a scientific determination of when a fetus is an aware being becomes highly relevant. Killing a living being because it is inconvenient raises issues that strike at the foundation of our constitution - that we are guaranteed life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. If terminating a fetus is actually infringes upon that right - it must be considered in the debate.
    I myself believe strongly that individuals should be free to make their own decisions as long as those decisions do not infringe on that freedom for others. But as adults, let's all be perfectly honest with ourselves: the purpose of sex is to create offspring. Adults engaging in consensual sex know that pregnancy is a very real consequence. I don't know the answer to whether it should be legal - there are many instances where it's hard to argue against it - but I know having an abortion because someone forgot to wear a condom and now no one wants to deal with the consequences seems a wildly selfish way to avoid the responsibility.

    February 23, 2012 at 12:55 am | Report abuse |
  12. Just Annie

    Seems to me that forcing someone to have a preterm child rather than an abortion will result in a lot of babies with severe problems due to being preemies. At 20 or 21 weeks, infants are very fragile and the expense of keeping them alive is astronomical. Who is going to be footing this bill? The parent? The state of Georgia? The government who can't ensure heathcare for the millions who must go without?

    February 23, 2012 at 1:04 am | Report abuse |
  13. Jason Cushman

    This article is complete crap. Abortion is murder PERIOD. No woman OR man should have the right to kill an unborn child EVER. As for taking this to the extreme of vasectomies that is just ridiculous and makes light of the fact that this WOMAN is advocating MURDER.

    February 23, 2012 at 1:12 am | Report abuse |
    • M in Oz

      Legally early term abortions are NOT illegal. Cheers!

      February 23, 2012 at 6:05 am | Report abuse |
  14. NuwanSam

    US Constitution does not give rights to the goverment to enforce laws regarding reproductive lives of men or women. Our fouders knew that it was not the right place of the government. Now GOP engage in this hypocracy of forcing laws on women reproductive choice because they are trying to literaly enforce the teaching of the Bible on the people of this country. So simply put Social Conservatism is Teaching of the Bible and Social Conservatism is against US constitution. People must stop beling acting hypocratical and be true to the constitution in every way.

    February 23, 2012 at 1:31 am | Report abuse |
  15. DrEJG

    i hate to say this, but BOTH sides are wrong. why should the government, both republicans and democrats, have a say in an individuals body? that's not in the constitution. the government should butt out! the real problem is that people's health insurance is tied to their employment. under a free market, health insurance would be tied down to individual selection based on their being more competition and a healthcare industry free of government intervention. women should be able to choose a health insurance plan which allows abortions, morning after pills, birth control pills and men should be able to get a vasectomy. plain and simple.

    February 23, 2012 at 1:35 am | Report abuse |
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