POLITICS

Georgia Democrat Seeks Vasectomy Ban In Response To Restrictive Abortion Bill

State Rep. Dar’shun Kendrick (D) is calling the proposed legislation a “testicular bill of rights.”

A Democratic lawmaker in Georgia has proposed banning vasectomies and requiring men to get permission from their sex partners before obtaining Viagra prescriptions in response to a restrictive new abortion bill approved by the state’s House of Representatives last week.

State Rep. Dar’shun Kendrick (D) is calling the proposed legislation a “testicular bill of rights.”

“You want some regulation of bodies and choice? Done!” Kendrick, who represents metro Atlanta’s 93rd District, tweeted Monday morning.

Her proposal brings into sharp focus conservatives’ crusade to legislate control of women’s bodies through restrictive abortion bills and other measures that undermine reproductive rights.

In addition to the vasectomy and Viagra measures, the legislative package would make it an “aggravated assault” for a man to have sex without a condom. It would also dictate paternity testing before eight weeks of pregnancy and require expectant fathers to immediately begin paying child support. Last on Kendrick’s list is a proposed 24-hour waiting period for any man who wishes to purchase pornography or sex toys in Georgia.

The aim of the proposed legislation is to “bring awareness to the fact that if you’re going to legislate our bodies, then we have every right to propose legislation to regulate yours,” Kendrick told Rolling Stone.

The Georgia House last week approved a bill that which would criminalize most abortions after a doctor can detect a heartbeat in the womb. (That typically occurs around six weeks of gestation, before many women even realize they are pregnant.) 

The bill moves now to the state Senate, which, like the House, has a Republican majority. If it passes the Senate, it will go to Gov. Brian Kemp (R), who has said he supports the bill.

After the bill was moved forward by a House committee last week, Kendrick joined other Georgia Democrats in presenting their Republican colleagues with wire hangers and bottles of bleach on the chamber floor. The items were meant to act as symbols of the self-induced abortions that many women dangerously attempt when the aid of a doctor isn’t available or allowed.

Legislation that passed in the Georgia legislature in 2012 prohibits abortions after 20 weeks. Georgia law previously permitted abortions up to 24 weeks.

At the time of that legislation, Democratic state Rep. Yasmin Neal made a proposal similar to Kendrick’s as a way of making a point about the attack on women’s reproductive rights.

In a statement announcing a bill to bar men from seeking vasectomies, Neal said, “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.”

CONVERSATIONS