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. Ugh

    II am a male currently living in Georgia who would one day like to get a vasectomy. I am also pro-choice on the abortion issue, though it's probably not an avenue I would take if my wife and I conceived.

    That said, Neal is an idiot. In the interest of "raising awareness" or not, it potentially limits my freedom and does not give me any insight as to the issue she is trying to raise. She's preaching to the choir and the best she can hope for is for her bill to be shot down. No one wants it to pass.

    Regardless, I will not be voting for her. Regardless of whether I agree with her or not, she and others like her have the potential to limit my personal freedoms in the interest of political grandstanding. This is not what this country is about. Or at least, this is not what this country used to be about.

    February 21, 2012 at 10:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeff S

      You do not understand what she is trying to do then. That's ok. Reading comprehension is not a skill the majority seem to be able to master these days so don't feel bad.

      February 21, 2012 at 10:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jennifer

      Welcome to a woman's h3ll.

      In all seriousness though, this is just a waste of time that could be better spent on any number of issues. Only thing it did was give some people a chuckle and raise the blood pressure of others and in the end the bill will either be retracted or DoA when it comes to a vote (assuming it makes it that far)

      February 21, 2012 at 10:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bernie Feynman

      Stop being ignorant and insultive. The point here is that these conseratives have such oppressive views against woman and attempt to control their body. This bill is in fact not really meant to be taken seriously as something that will pass but will raise awareness to how unjust it is for abortion laws to have such harsh conditions purely for woman.

      February 21, 2012 at 10:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ugh

      I understand exactly what she's trying to do. She raised a bill that she herself does not truly believe in order to raise awareness for a separate but related cause that she is also against. She does not want or expect it to be passed, which I acknowledged. Just as the article says, "“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."

      I simply disagree with the method she is taking. A bill will be introduced that has next to no chance of passing (which is very different than "absolutely no chance of passing". This bill, in the unlikely event that it passes, will limit vasectomies. Had she not proposed it, this limit would not exist. I am not going to support by voting for any politician who uses this sort of dangerous tactic to prove a point.

      February 21, 2012 at 10:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • OrangeW3dge

      "dangerous tactic" ??? gee, remind me to duck

      February 21, 2012 at 10:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nope

      Looks like Jeff S could stand to brush up on some of that reading comprehension he was talking about.

      OrangeW3dge, don't be an idiot. Introducing any bill, serious or not, raises a small but tangible possibility of it being passed. Do you want this passed? If not, proposing it is dangerous.

      February 21, 2012 at 10:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • OrangeW3dge

      Dear Nope, don't be a dope. If it did pass, and that is the point of it because no-one believes that it would, then you would deserve it. But "dangerous tactic" sounds as if you think that somebody is going to rush into your family room with surgical supplies if it does pass... and, don't call people names, you are not immune from being the same.

      February 21, 2012 at 11:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ugh

      OrangeW3dge, why would someone who doesn't support the bill or the person who proposed it deserved it? And why would someone rush into the room with surgical supplies if a bill passed to NOT have vasectomies? Do you even understand what's going on or where you are? Don't be an idiot.

      February 21, 2012 at 11:38 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Justin H

    I'm not sure whether to be angry with this or laugh. I think the point is spot, but I still think it's a waste of time that should be spent on more important issues.

    While I tend to support a woman's right to have an abortion, I do think there needs to be a line draw as to when it's too late. 20 weeks is too early because a baby born at 20 weeks will not be able to survive. The cutoff should be somewhere around 28 weeks because that's when a baby can be born and have a good chance to survive. Beyond that cutoff, and a pregnancy should not be aborted unless there is a serious risk to the mother's health. And in that case, all reasonable measures should be taken for a live birth.

    February 21, 2012 at 10:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hmmm...

      My husband was born at 22 weeks gestation in 1984. He was as healthy as a full term infant just alot smaller..While birth at 28 weeks as you suggested gives the infant a higher chance of surviving than that a infant born at 20 weeks that does not neccessarily guarantee that the child will survive even with proper medical care. By 20 weeks MOST women have had enough time to decide what route they are going to take and should act on it asap. There really does need to be a time limit set on it and restrictions such as If you do not plan on having children and decide not to use birth control or condoms or any other preventative measures you should not be allowed to have an abortion to combat stupidity. And you should not be allowed to have an abortion just because the baby is not the gender you want.

      February 21, 2012 at 11:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hmmm...

      but I do agree with abortions after cutoff only if it poses serious health risks and even then aiming for a live birth...

      February 21, 2012 at 11:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Keeper

      @Hmmm- I call BS. There were no babies born in 1984 at just 22 weeks gestation who survived. NONE. So try another story. Not until 1987 would someone born at that gestation actually survive beyond a few hours.

      February 22, 2012 at 7:06 pm | Report abuse |
  3. James

    This doesn't even make sense. A vasectomy to a man is the same as a woman having a Tubal Ligation. No one is saying women can't have a Tubal Ligation. If you want to argue for or against abortions argue apples to apples and not apples to oranges. The democrats in Georgia sound like children who can’t get their way so instead of campaigning on the merits of their beliefs, they just blurt out irrational thoughts and idea’s. No wonder Georgia is a red state; there is no one with any competence on the other side of the aisle.

    February 21, 2012 at 10:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jennifer

      Ah, tubal litigation is still far. But if Ricky boy has his way, even that will come into line of fire as it goes against his religion, same as the birth control pill, as both prevent pregnancy.

      February 21, 2012 at 10:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Margaret

      Ah but Santorum does not women to have access to birth control. It is against his religion Therefore if the insurance companies should not pay for birth control, they should not pay for tubal ligations, hysterectomies except in cases of cancer, viagra, or vasectomy, because all of these are forms of birth control It is silly, what she is saying keep out of our doctors offices. By the way Planned Parenthood did help men get vasectomies.

      February 21, 2012 at 10:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Why Use Facts

      Quit using facts. They confuse the Democrats.

      February 21, 2012 at 10:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • OrangeW3dge

      Hello, James,,, it's a joke.. remember what those are???

      February 21, 2012 at 10:36 pm | Report abuse |
  4. atroy

    I swear, you straight people are so mixed up.

    February 21, 2012 at 10:08 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Margaret

    I think they should ban viagra, after all it is an unnatural way for men to have an erection.

    February 21, 2012 at 10:11 pm | Report abuse |
  6. jj

    OMG – there ARE no important issues in Congress – or other bodies. All the bills are to gain advantage over the less fortuned, or to court the religious right. The Reps owned the white house, house and senate in the last decade. If they really wanted to ban abortion, they could have. They just keep it as a wedge issue, for elections. Hypocrites!

    February 21, 2012 at 10:15 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Pregnant Wisdom

    Pickles and ice cream go good together. So do coathangers and babies.

    February 21, 2012 at 10:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      Take away legalized abortion, and that's exactly what you'll have...coathangers and *fetuses*...

      February 22, 2012 at 12:22 am | Report abuse |
  8. David Crandall

    I had a vasectomy at age twenty before having any children. I have also been in long term relationships with 4 different women who would all now be suiing me for child support if we had had children. So my vasectomy was the best decison I have ever made.

    February 21, 2012 at 10:22 pm | Report abuse |
  9. LMNOP

    Neal must love it "raw dawg" 'cause condoms results in "thousands of children.....deprived of birth."

    February 21, 2012 at 10:24 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Pregnant Wisdom Hotline

    Are you faced with a very difficult situation in life? Call the pregnant woman hotline and speak to an actual pregnant woman today! Don't go it alone! Let Pregnant Woman's Wisdom show you the wway. Yes. Pickles go good with ice cream.

    February 21, 2012 at 10:25 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Jeff Frank (R-Ohio) "Right Wing Insanity"

    I think Obama and these Georgia Democrats should leave it up to the professionals and go work for Planned Parenthood.

    February 21, 2012 at 10:25 pm | Report abuse |
  12. georgiaeagle

    Yea, I see the point and ha, it is funny, but even as someone that's more on the liberal side of things, the time that went into this could have been spent elsewhere on something productive. This is a waste of time and really is something I would expect from the right. Let's be grown ups and try and focus on the productive...

    February 21, 2012 at 10:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • OrangeW3dge

      and re-productive too

      February 21, 2012 at 10:32 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Philip

    Dead cells don't divide. It is life. You just don't want to admit it.

    February 21, 2012 at 10:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • No

      Cancer is caused by live cells dividing. It is life. We need to get on top of banning chemotherapy as soon as possible.

      February 21, 2012 at 10:30 pm | Report abuse |
  14. OrangeW3dge

    Oh yeah, this is going to get ugly. Fortunately, the anti-abortionists are a small lunatic fringe. Unfortunately, they are willing to use violence and kill to get their way.
    It is time to stop the Brown Shirt movement, return to civility, and get on with fixing the problems at hand.

    February 21, 2012 at 10:30 pm | Report abuse |
  15. jake

    Limit killing a nearly viable baby shouldn't be an outrageous request. A baby that is a month from being viable outside the womb is a baby. It's not the same thing as a vasectomy.

    February 21, 2012 at 10:31 pm | Report abuse |
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