A group of female Democratic legislators in the Georgia House of Representatives has proposed a bill that would ban men from seeking vasectomies.
"Thousands of children are deprived of birth in this state every year because of the lack of state regulation over vasectomies," said bill author Yasmin Neal in a statement. "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."
The proposed legislation is a response to HB 954, a bill sponsored by Republican Doug McKillips that seeks to ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Current legislation prohibits abortions after the second trimester, or approximately 24 weeks. The measure, which has been moving quickly through the House, is intended to prevent late-term abortions on fetuses that proponents say can already feel pain at 20 weeks.
The Georgia House Judiciary Committee is scheduled to take up HB 954 on Wednesday. In response, Democrats scheduled a 3 p.m. hearing to introduce the vasectomy ban.
"The Republican attack on women's reproductive rights is unconscionable," said House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams in a statement. "What is more deplorable is the hypocrisy of HB 954's author. If we follow his logic, we believe it is the obligation of the General Assembly to assert an equally invasive state interest in the reproductive habits of men and substitute the will of the government over the will of men."
McKillips, the author of HB 954, was unamused by the apparently tongue-in-cheek nature of the Democrats' proposal.
"I think it's disappointing that they would make light of something as important as protecting life," he said. "It's just not a joking matter, and it's a time for serious issues and serious discussion."
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