A Georgia Democrat has devised a clever response to her Republican colleagues' recent zest for imposing big government regulations on female reproductive rights: regulate vasectomies as well.
The proposed law, put forward by Rep. Yasmin Neal (D), would ban the practice of male sterilization except in cases where a man faces serious health risks without one. It was crafted as a response to a so-called "fetal pain bill" proposed by Republicans, which would ban abortions after 20 weeks.
A measure similar to what Georgia Republicans are considering was recently defeated in Virginia following the heart-wrenching testimony of one woman who told lawmakers that she had an abortion after 20 weeks because doctors said her unborn child would suffer tremendously due to health defects.
So-called “fetal pain” bills have swept conservative-leaning states in recent years, with more than 16 legislatures considering tighter regulations on women’s health matters.
"Thousands of children are deprived of birth in this state every year because of the lack of state regulation over vasectomies,” Rep. Neal explained in a video published online. "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 also said she would stage a public hearing on the matter Wednesday afternoon at 3 p.m.
Activists and conservative lawmakers insist that 20 weeks is when an unborn fetus can feel pain, although scientists and doctors disagree with that conclusion.
The Centers for Disease Control notes that abortions after 21 weeks are already very rare: a report in 2003 found that just 1.4 percent of abortions happen past 21 weeks.
This video was published to YouTube by Georgia Rep. Yasmin Neal (D) on Feb. 21, 2012.
(H/T: Think Progress)