April 14, 2024

Making Alabama men share the burden of reproductive rights restrictions

A bill would mandate vasectomies

This news from the “weird and wonderful” department comes from Alabama.

First, the backstory. Last year its legislature passed a bill to make it a felony for a doctor to perform an abortion. This effectively would have constituted a ban on all abortions, even in cases of rape and incest. The only exception was if the pregnancy posed a risk to a woman’s health.

A judge quickly issued a preliminary injunction against the abortion ban, deeming it unconstitutional. However, the bill’s sponsors were not unhappy, as they hope that their appeal will rise to the US Supreme Court, giving it a chance to overturn Roe v Wade.

In the eyes of Representative Rolanda Hollis, of Birmingham, this means that her state has restricted the reproductive rights of women – but not of men. To redress this injustice she has tabled a bill “to neutralize the abortion ban bill”.

HB238 would “require a man to undergo a vasectomy within one month of his 50th birthday or the birth of his third biological child, whichever comes first.”

“We can’t put all the responsibility on women. Men need to be responsible also,” says Ms Hollis. “I do not believe that women should use abortion as a birth control, but I do believe that if a woman is raped or if it’s incest or anything like that then she has the choice to do what she wants to do.” The vasectomy would be at the man’s expense.

A similar initiative was mooted last year by another opponent of the abortion bill. State Senator Vivian Davis Figures proposed an amendment which would have made it a felony for a man to have a vasectomy. The amendment failed.

Michael Cook is editor of BioEdge

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