In Response to Abortion Bills, Georgia Legislator Seeks to Ban Vasectomies

Rep. Yasmin Neal said that laws that apply to women should also apply as closely as possible to men.

Posted: 02/28/2012 12:44 PM EST

A state representative in Georgia, frustrated with the debate about placing new restrictions on abortions, has proposed a law that would ban the practice of vasectomies, except in instances where a man would face a serious health risk.

Representative Yasmin Neal, the author of the bill, said that the state needed legislation that would enable men to understand, even remotely, the feelings of many women regarding the so-called “fetal pain bill” proposed by Georgia Republicans. If passed, the bill would ban abortions after 20 weeks.

In a 2003 report, the Centers for Disease Control stated that 1.4 percent of abortions occur after 21 weeks.

“I did this to give male legislators, and men across the board, an idea of how women feel with regard to the attacks we have seen on our reproductive rights,” Representative Neal said in an interview with BET.com. “If women are restricted in the way they decide what to do with their bodies regarding reproduction, I think that’s fair that we have the same kind of restrictions for men. And this is as close as I think we could have come to some sort of equal treatment.”

To bolster her point, Neal produced a video, in which she states: “Thousands of children are deprived of birth in this state every year because of the lack of state regulation over vasectomies.”

She continues in the video: "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.”

Neal is a Democrat who represents a district in the Georgia House of Representatives that is anchored in Jonesboro, just south of Atlanta. While her bill is given little chance of passage in the Republican-led Georgia legislature, Neal said that it has been well received by women’s groups around the world.

“My phone has been overflowing with calls and responses,” she said. “It’s been unreal. I’ve heard from people in South Africa, Australia, Mexico and all around the United States. I think it makes women feel proud.”

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(Photo: House.ga.gov)

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