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Feb. 24, 2020

Alabama legislator proposed vasectomies for all men over 50 or with three children

Alabama legislator proposed vasectomies for all men over 50 or with three children

At the start of 2020, the label of interesting to watch state of the moment went to Virginia with regards to the attempted banning of firearms by the state legislators.  From the spotlight of the country put on the proposed laws, to the peaceful 2nd amendment demonstrations after various news agencies sounded the alarm warning how violent the protestors were going to be. Thankfully they were wrong there. Local communities passing resolutions to be 2nd amendment sanctuaries, West Virginia playing with the possibility of allowing communities from Virginia to succeed from Virginia and join them - it had all the markings of a soap opera on the political scale.  Thankfully things have settled down in the state now that the legislature has taken votes on the proposed bills. Regardless if you agree with the results of the vote or not - the drama in Virginia has died down for now.

But of course - it would be too nice and convenient to have more then five seconds of normal news. On February 13th, 2020 Rolanda Hollis, member of the Alabama House Of Representatives from the 58th district, introduced a new bill that she says "..is to neutralize the abortion ban bill..".  Now for those unaware of what she is talking about - on May 15th, 2019 the Human Life Protection Act (also known as House Bill 314) was signed into law in Alabama.  Put simply this was a bill passed along a party-line vote by the Republicans  to ban abortions in the state of Alabama.  The law bans abortions at any state of pregnancy, with exceptions for cases of a lethal anomaly in the fetus, cases where a pregnancy would present serious health risk to the mother, confirmation from a psychiatrist that a pregnant women might take action that would lead to her own death or the death of the fetus, ectopic pregnancies, or procedures to remove a dead fetus from the uterus.  The big reason that this law is controversial (and currently being prevented from being implemented due to legal challenges) is that the law does not include an exception for cases of rape or incest.  Objectors also point to the fact that doctors who perform abortions would be charged with a class A felony under the law, with sentences ranging from 10 — 99 years imprisonment.  The women who receive the abortions would not be charged.

So what is in this new bill that she proposed?

The bill would require that all men get a vasectomy after they turn 50, or after they have had their third biological child - whichever comes first.  The bill would also require that men pay for the vasectomy out of pocket.

In fact it's a relatively straight forward and short bill - so let's actually read it.

1 HB238

2 204875-1

3 By Representative Hollis

4 RFD: Judiciary

5 First Read: 13-FEB-20

Page 0

1 204875-1:n:02/13/2020:ANS*/bm LSA2020-529







8 SYNOPSIS: Under existing law, there are no

9 restrictions on the reproductive rights of men.

10 This bill would require a man to undergo a

11 vasectomy within one month of his 50th birthday or

12 the birth of his third biological child, whichever

13 comes first.






19 Relating to family planning; to require a man to

20 undergo a vasectomy within one month of his 50th birthday or

21 the birth of his third biological child, whichever comes

22 first.


24 Section 1. A man, at his own expense, shall undergo

25 a vasectomy within one month of his 50th birthday or the birth

26 of his third biological child, whichever comes first.

Page 1

1 Section 2. This act shall become effective on the

2 first day of the third month following its passage and

3 approval by the Governor, or its otherwise becoming law.


Now let's get the obvious out of the way - this bill is pretty much dead on arrival in the Alabama house of representatives - especially right now that it is republican controlled.  And some people probably are happy with it going "YES!!!!"  But they are being intellectually dishonest with themselves and with others.

Why do I say they are being intellectually dishonest?  Well glad you asked!  Let's start by first taking a look at what a vasectomy is.

A vasectomy is a form of permanent birth control.  It is a medical procedure with the goal of preventing sperm from being released during ejaculation.  To do this the vas deferens are cut or blocked though a few methods.  According to Healthline.com vasectomies are theoretically reversible, although reversal doesn't always work - and vasectomies should only be considered if you don't want to have more children due to cost and chance of the reversal not working.  That being said - all literature points to the fact that a vasectomy is effective.  According to the American Urological Association, after a successful procedure the risk of pregnancy is only 1 out of 2000 (that is .05%).  Now just because a person goes and has this procedure does not immediately make them unable to father children.  In fact, per the article on Healthline it may take up to three months for the procedure to be effective in preventing pregnancy.

So why am I saying they are being intellectually dishonest?  It is because they are comparing oranges to cars.  Now normally the phrase is apples to oranges and people understand that two vastly different things are being compared. Well in this case the difference is way more different then between the two fruit normally used in the phrase. With abortion - regardless of your position on it - abortion is used to terminate a pregnancy.  People on the left (politically) will say it's the women's body and her choice and people on the right(politically) will say it is a separate entity - regardless of if you label it a fetus, baby, clump of cells, etc.  Here is where I see the dishonesty come in.  The termination of a pregnancy, physically, is a one time event.  Now you can argue that the prevention of the termination is a permanent event as the person is then responsible for this child that they may not want or was conceived through means that are horrible (rape,incest, etc). What this second part of the argument fails to take into account is that after birth the child can be placed up for adoption. Purists on the pro choice side of the isle will argue that even getting to the point of giving birth and then giving up their child for abortion is undue stress on the mother and they should have the option of terminating the pregnancy earlier so as to keep the mother from having to suffer through various physical and mental stressors.  They bring up such arguments that the pregnant women will be publicly shamed, emotionally damaged, and that giving birth is dangerous to their health - but I digress - the point of this is not to evaluate the arguments for and against abortion.

Now how does getting an abortion compare to a person who is forced to get a procedure like a vasectomy?  As stated above - a vasectomy is a permanent procedure.  A person who has an abortion (provided they do not go to a back alley doctor, or have complications from the procedure) is able to get pregnant again if they so choose and carry a child to term and give birth.  Not so for someone undergoing a vasectomy - if they want another child they are being denied the option for it since this is a form of permanent birth control.

Critics of the abortion bill (again if you agree with them or not is not the point here) try to simplify the argument for mandated vasectomies down to choice about bodies.  For example - Evan Rachel Wood last year thought she had a bulletproof argument for mandatory vasectomies stating that "Cause its your body and we dont get to make that choice for you?"  (NOTE: I would link directly to the tweet but she has since protected her twitter feed). What Evan fails to consider is that the difference in procedures put them on two different levels - especially since vasectomies potentially may not be reversible.  

Now if the legislation had introduced a law to forcefully mandate that Tubal Ligations were mandated after so many children, pregnancies, etc. then this bill for a forced vasectomy would be a one to one bill as it would put permanent birth control for both genders in the debate. I would even give it some leeway if a bill was passed in the state putting all the financial burden for birth control on the women in the state.

But as it stands now - this bill was introduced only to be petty.  A law to forcefully sterilize a group of people is not the same in any way as a law which prevents the termination of pregnancy.  


  1. https://www.newsweek.com/abortion-law-evan-rachel-wood-1422190
  2. https://www.bustle.com/articles/17141-how-to-argue-pro-choice-11-arguments-against-abortion-access-debunked
  3. https://www.auanet.org/guidelines/vasectomy-guideline
  4. https://www.healthline.com/health/birth-control-vasectomy
  5. http://alisondb.legislature.state.al.us/ALISON/SearchableInstruments/2020RS/PrintFiles/HB238-int.pdf
  6. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_Life_Protection_Act
  7. https://www.blackenterprise.com/alabama-rep-rolanda-hollis-proposes-mandatory-vasectomy-bill/
  8. https://legiscan.com/AL/bill/HB238/2020
  9. https://nypost.com/2020/02/14/alabama-lawmaker-introduces-vasectomy-bill-in-response-to-abortion-ban/
  10. https://nypost.com/2020/02/16/alabama-legislator-fights-stringent-new-abortion-laws-with-mandatory-vasectomy-bill/
  11. https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2020/02/17/mandatory-vasectomy-alabama-proposal/4791335002/
  12. https://www.newsweek.com/yikes-ted-cruz-criticizes-alabama-vasectomy-legislation-that-proposes-mandatory-procedures-1487597
  13. https://thegrio.com/2020/02/17/alabama-lawmaker-introduces-mandatory-vasectomy-bill-amid-abortion-ban-controversy/
  14. https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/ted-cruz-takes-aim-at-alabama-vasectomy-bill-yikes/ar-BB103XCN?li=BBnb7Kz
  15. https://fox6now.com/2020/02/14/proposed-bill-would-require-men-in-alabama-to-get-vasectomy-tmw/