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. kbowers

    What a childish waste of time. This isn't smart, or remotely relevant. If I lived in the district of these legislators I would be furious they were wasting their time with this. Our state has actual problems that require their undivided attention

    February 23, 2012 at 7:43 am | Report abuse |
  2. william

    Why stop there? How about a law prohibiting masturbation by men? After all, every "act" destroys hundreds of millions of sperm, or "children", as some might call them.

    February 23, 2012 at 8:03 am | Report abuse |
  3. namedujour

    "Every sperm is sacred." ~ Monty Python

    February 23, 2012 at 8:04 am | Report abuse |
    • HPNIII

      Pretty cool strategy on her part. If she would like to take it a step further she could propose a law that would make it mandatory for men to take their sperm to a sperm bank each time they whack off or face legal penalties.

      February 23, 2012 at 8:13 am | Report abuse |
    • brock

      Then people would complain about green house gasses from all the plastic cups. O.o

      February 23, 2012 at 9:05 am | Report abuse |
    • Will

      Pretty cool strategy? Really? I wouldn't call using the "Good for the Goose, Good for the Gander" as a valid argument. There's a big difference between an abortion (which is reactionary) and a vasectomy (which is preventative). After the 20th week, an abortion is murder. They've allowed the fetus to grow to the point that it is actually identifiable as a child. I'm not saying that abortion is wrong, that's not my place, but to do so at such a late stage is irresponsible. This lady isn't trying to do anything but stir up emotions, admittedly. However, her approach is assinine.

      February 23, 2012 at 9:08 am | Report abuse |
    • brock

      Thanks Will for setting us straight. Your a real American.

      February 23, 2012 at 9:14 am | Report abuse |
  4. sbite

    Your argument is based on a false assumptios, I assure you life begins before birth. If the fetus is not alive (life) at x # of weeks then what is it?

    February 23, 2012 at 8:14 am | Report abuse |
    • Sean

      @ sbite
      Another false assumption is believing just because something is alive that it is a person. Grass, bacteria, republicans all alive but everyone knows they are not people.

      February 23, 2012 at 8:22 am | Report abuse |
    • AmericanSam


      February 23, 2012 at 9:13 am | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      Does grass, bacteria, etc have DNA? A blood type? Brainwaves? A heartbeat? Fingers, eyes, ears, nose, toes? Since you seem to agree the thing inside the woman is alive, is it human? Is it a person?

      February 23, 2012 at 9:39 am | Report abuse |
  5. Joseph

    I limit mine to absolute zero.

    February 23, 2012 at 8:28 am | Report abuse |
  6. Mike

    Jeez. Many of you people just don't get it. It's pretty simple, and most people aren't stupid.

    She comes right out and STATES that she's not against vasectomies. Her whole point is to make it clearer how legislation that bears so strongly on abortion is egregious interference by the state into private concerns. But, she DOESN'T WANT THIS BILL TO ACTUALLY PASS.

    Obviously, she holds a strongly pro-choice stance, that many people disagree with. Obviously, there are very big differences in vasectomies and abortion. A more direct comparison would be introducing legislation making the condoms, the pill, and other contraceptive methods, illegal.

    But, it's also obvious that she's making a point about the state interfering in matters that she believes it shouldn't.

    There. Do you get it, now?

    February 23, 2012 at 8:43 am | Report abuse |
  7. Dewed Mann

    Anyone's stance on abortion aside........... The comparison being drawn is invalid. The government doesn't regulate women getting their tubes tied. Politicians like this are wasting everyones time.

    February 23, 2012 at 8:45 am | Report abuse |
    • keepnitreal

      Exactly!!! How sad that she an educated woman does not understand this and is wasting time and money with her antics.

      February 23, 2012 at 8:54 am | Report abuse |
    • momoya

      Read Mike's post right next to yours.

      February 23, 2012 at 9:26 am | Report abuse |
  8. dko

    What a ridiculous comparison. A man getting a vasectomy is not the equivalent of a woman getting an abortion. It equates to a woman getting her tubes tied. Good luck arguing that life begins before conception.

    February 23, 2012 at 8:48 am | Report abuse |
  9. Ray

    MORE NONSENSE!!!! Why is the Government involved in this???? Not sure what this piece of legislation is REALLY trying to do but whatever the intent it is out of scope for Government ot be legislating who gets what form of contraception. Not gonna touch the abortion issue here cept to say this. The same folks who have their condoms in a knot over contraception availability / unavailability and now I guess vascetomy availability / unavailability will have a new "cause du jour" with this. Who is gonna pay for all the kids created if contraception is not avaiilable...Dems will pass it on to the taxpayers, the GOP will say "Suck it up raise that kid created because contraception was not available due to stupid laws based on opinions like Santorum has...and the band played on. What the hell right does eather side of Government have being involved in this stuff. Go to the your pills or condoms, go to the Doctor get your tubes cut or get a vasectomy and hopefully the Government will MIND ITS OWN BUSINESS!!!!

    February 23, 2012 at 8:59 am | Report abuse |
  10. LS

    So basically what they want is for a woman to be able at any point and time to be able to have an abortion? Five months to make your decision is more than generous. What do you do if the child is born alive despite the abortion? Seriously abortion is not a decision I would make for myself and I am not one to dictate the choices of others. However, the current law is fair unless your life is at risk 5 months is ample time after that if you don't want the child give the child up for adoption.

    February 23, 2012 at 9:01 am | Report abuse |
  11. Jack Wagon

    What happen to the effort on jobs, the economy and international policies? Oh right they have no answer on the important topics so they back to the dark ages of social issues that mean very little to us. Goodnight GOP you are done, again!

    February 23, 2012 at 9:03 am | Report abuse |
  12. steve

    I hope they vote her out of office for wasting taxpayer resources on a stupid bill and just being stupid while trying to make a name for herself.

    February 23, 2012 at 9:09 am | Report abuse |
  13. Adelia Ganson

    Attach a rider to any bill to limit birth control for women that states: Every cut in birth control has to be offset with a corresponding cut in viagra prescriptions!

    February 23, 2012 at 9:10 am | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      Make it easier for people to get health insurance and give more options. If one company doesn't want to offer birth control they won't get many women in their plan and lose lots of money. Then they'll change. But if our system doesn't allow other options then people are stuck and that's a part of the problem. An employee at a Catholic hospital should be able to get the hospitals insurance that may not cover birth control or some other insurance plan at a similar cost that does. That's what we need, is that Progressive Insurance lady with a name your own price health insurance commercial.

      February 23, 2012 at 9:44 am | Report abuse |
  14. George

    One comment that bothers me is the consideration that because a fetus cannot survive on its own at certain points, it has no rights. Does a person on life support have no rights? I would argue they do, just as a fetus would when born early. I have heard of early born as early as 5 months being born and growing up, after being in NICU. Did that child not have rights while in the NICU. Again, disturbing that people who want the convenience to do whatever they want with their bodies, no matter who or what they hurt, because of their irresponsibility. Considering the number of parents wanting to adopt, I would think that allowing a child the opportunity to come into the world to a good family would be a good thing.

    February 23, 2012 at 9:21 am | Report abuse |
    • NGoody

      When gays are allowed to adopt freely in this country then I'll start caring about the number of abortions there are annually. But it's becoming more apparent that couples who do choose adaption choose to adapt outside of the United States. And the people who would like to adopt in the United States can't because the government won't allow it. I would rather allow women to have abortions than to have over crowded foster cares that spit out unprepared teenagers into the harsh reality that is the world when they turn 18. Those teenagers then have a higher advantage of seeking and depending on government aid such as welfare. And people depending on government money is almost as big an issue as abortion.

      February 23, 2012 at 9:51 am | Report abuse |
  15. Win Adams

    No man should have control over my uterus. No man should be able to tell me that I must carry a something to birth. Although I agree with the present law and do not believe that abortion should be used a birth control method, no man should be able to tell me what to do with my body. If that were the case, then I should be able to tell a man that he cannot use a condom or have a vascetomy.

    February 23, 2012 at 9:26 am | Report abuse |
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