Georgia Congresswoman Yasmin Neal, along with other Georgia House Democrats to introduced HB 1116 Wednesday — a bill which would prevent men from acquiring vasectomies unless needed to avert serious health issues.
The measure was introduced as to counter the ongoing debate on whether to prohibit abortions for women more than 20 weeks pregnant.
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.”
Neal said she has no problems with vasectomies and that “it’s still not my place as a woman to tell a man what to do with his body.”
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, however, said she is serious about making legislators recognize women’s rights over their own 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.”