Last Thursday, Democratic state representative from Alabama Rep. Rolanda Hollis proposed a new law in which all men are required to have a vasectomy once they reach the age of 50, or after they have their third child – whichever comes first. They would also be required to pay for this surgery on their own.
Representative Hollis says that the measure puts the states restrictive reproductive health laws for women into perspective and was introduced with hopes to “neutralize” the Human Life Protection Act passed in Alabama last summer. The Human Life Protection Act would have made performing an abortion a Class A felony punishable by life or 10 to 99 years in prison. It was blocked by a federal judge in October. “It always takes two to tango,” Rep. Hollis was quoted saying “We can’t put all the responsibility on women. Men need to be responsible also.”
The bill has generated some high-profile criticisms, most notably from Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas). Cruz tweeted Sunday: “Yikes, A government big enough to give you everything is big enough to take everything . . . literally!” This, however, is the point of the bill – it takes aim at the government controlling people’s reproductive freedoms. Journalist Melissa Ryan replied to Cruz’s tweet saying “Yes. Governments have no business controlling the reproductive systems of citizens. Glad you’ve finally come around on choice, Senator”.
“Under existing law, there are no restrictions on the reproductive rights of men,” writes Representative Hollis in the text of her controversial bill. Republican controlled Alabama has consistently attacked abortion access and women’s rights to choose – Representative Hollis hopes that this bill will provide a perspective check for her “pro-life” colleagues.
USA Today 2/18/20; NY Post 2/16/20; Alabama State Legislature 2/13/20; Twitter 2/16/20, 2/16/20.