Pro-life measures taken by the Republican-sponsored Georgia Assembly House Bill 954, which is currently making its way through the legislature, have spawned a newly proposed bill by state Democrats seeking to "call attention to the double standard on reproductive rights" through the Anti-Vasectomy Act.
Legislators opposed to HB 954 held a public hearing on Wednesday to address what they call a double-standard on reproductive rights through a bill aimed at prohibiting the performance of vasectomies in Georgia.
If passed, HB 954 would criminalize abortions after 20 weeks and make exceptions more strict, effectively changing current laws allowing abortions up until the third trimester. The Atlanta Journal Constitution reported the penalty would be anywhere from one to 10 years in prison, if convicted of performing an abortion after that time.
Proponents of the new act (HB1116), which they say is in the same vein as HB 954 through the regulation of vasectomies for men, released a statement Tuesday:
“Thousands of children are deprived of birth in this state every year because of the lack of state regulation over vasectomies,” said bill author Rep. Yasmin Neal in a released 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.”
House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams added, “The Republican attack on women’s reproductive rights is unconscionable. What is more deplorable is the hypocrisy of HB 954’s author. If we follow his logic, we believe it is the obligation of this 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 adult men.”
Bryan Long, Executive Director at Better Georgia, commented on HB 954.
“We expect our lawmakers to debate issues that make Georgia a better place to live and to fight for better schools and better jobs," said Mr. Long. “Representative Yasmin Neal's proposed legislation shows how some decisions are best left to a patient, his doctor and his family -- not the government. I hope Rep. Doug McKillip will understand why Georgia women should continue to have the freedom to seek counsel from their doctors when faced with high-risk pregnancies. He should withdraw House Bill 954 immediately."