The Wilmington City Council has a message for men -- sperm are people, too.
The council for Delaware's largest city passed a resolution by an 8-4 vote Thursday calling on the Delaware legislature, other state legislatures and the U.S. Congress to pass laws granting "personhood" rights to eggs and sperm. The resolution was authored by councilwoman Loretta Walsh as a protest in the current battle over women's health care access.
"[E]ach 'egg person' and each 'sperm person' should be deemed equal in the eyes of the government and be subject to the same laws and regulations as any other dependent minor and be protected against abuse, neglect or abandonment by the parent or guardian," says the resolution. "[L]aws should be enacted by all legislative bodies in the United States to promote equal representation, and should potentially include laws in defense of 'personhood,' forbidding every man from destroying his semen."
The vote came the same day that the U.S. Senate voted down an amendment that would have given employers the right to refuse any health care service to employees for moral reasons.
Walsh isn't the first lawmaker to introduce such a measure. Sen. Constance Johnson, a Democratic state senator from Oklahoma, introduced and later withdrew an amendment to a "personhood" bill that would have given zygotes the same rights as adults. "However, 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," reads the amendment.
Other legislators have lodged similar protests. As the Virginia legislature considered a bill requiring women to undergo mandatory ultrasounds before abortions, state Sen. Janet Howell put forth an amendment mandating that men get a rectal exam and a cardiac stress test prior to being treated for erectile dysfunction. (The mandatory ultrasound bill has since passed the state Senate and the governor is expected to sign, albeit no longer requiring an invasive transvaginal ultrasound.) Georgia state Rep. Yasmin Neal introduced a bill vastly limiting vasectomies for men as a protest against an abortion bill in her state.
"What's good for the gander is good for the goose," said Walsh, according to The News Journal.