Contraception has been a highly contested debate topic during the Republican primaries, with each of the candidates coming out against it to some degree. It has remained a news-worthy topic following the the fallout the Obama administration had to deal with concerning the mandate in the new Affordable Health Care Bill that hospitals, social service agencies, and schools associated with religious institutions would be required to provide birth control to the employees who desire it.
This especially angered Catholics and the Catholic Church who believe it to be a sin to use any means of birth control. While talking about women and contraception is commonplace, with the focus on legislating what women can and cannot do, a Georgia lawmaker wants to turn the limelight on men's contraception. She wants to make reproductive rights for men as limited as some people want to make women's rights.
This new bill, introduced by Democratic Representative Yasmin Neal, would limit vasectomies as a form of birth control only to men who will "die or suffer dangerous health problems" without receiving one.
Rep. Neal presented her bill in direct response to an anti-abortion bill now being considered. The Republican-backed anti-abortion bill (HB954) in the Georgia legislature would ban women from having an abortion after 20 weeks after the fertilization of the egg.
The anti-abortion bill, offered up by Rep. Doug McKillip (R), gives no provision for the cases of incest or rape. Currently abortions are outlawed in Georgia after 26 weeks after the fertilization of the egg. As of 2012, there are six states who already ban abortions at 20 weeks, based mainly on the controversial notion that the fetus can feel pain at that point.
In explaining the bill that some might call outlandish and others tongue-in-cheek, Rep. Neal said she wanted to bring attention to the male side of the contraception debate. “Thousands of children are deprived of birth in this state every year because of the lack of state regulation over vasectomies,” said Rep. Neal explained. “It is patently unfair that men can avoid unwanted fatherhood by presuming that their judgment over such matters is more valid than the judgment of the General Assembly, while women’s ability to decide is constantly up for debate throughout the United States.”
Though the vasectomy ban bill has limited chances of being passed, it does raise awareness of the fact that men's reproductive rights are typically never in question. The anti-abortion bill will also have a tough time receiving the necessary votes to pass it, but no one has called it outlandish.
CBSAtlanta.com. Web. 21 February 2012. "Abortion debate flares in GA legislature".
Thinkprogress.org. Web. 21 February 2012. "Democratic lawmaker responds to fetal pain bill with measue limiting vasectomies" http://thinkprogress.org/health/2012/02/22/429964/democratic-lawmaker-responds-to-fetal-pain-bill-with-measure-limiting-vasectomies
Edited by Jody Smith