Following the passage of Alabama’s controversial abortion ban last year, a Democratic state lawmaker has introduced a bill that would require all men to get vasectomies at the age of 50 to reduce unwanted pregnancies.
Under the measure, men would be required to get vasectomies within a month of turning 50, or after their third child is born, whichever occurs first. They would have to pay for the procedure themselves.
Birmingham Rep. Rolanda Hollis, the bill’s sponsor, conceded that many consider her bill an “outrageous overstep in authority,” and added that laws that restrict abortion are similarly objectionable.
“Year after year the majority party continues to introduce new legislation that tries to dictate [rules for] a woman’s body and her reproductive rights. We should view this as the same outrageous overstep in authority,” she said in a statement.
Hollis noted the bill is a symbolic one, saying its intent is to “send a message that men should not be legislating what women do with their bodies.” She also wanted to highlight the inextricable role men play in producing unwanted pregnancies.
Alabama’s abortion ban, which passed the state legislature last year, is the strictest in the nation. It makes it a felony for doctors to perform abortions at any stage of pregnancy, except when the mother’s health is at serious risk. There are no exceptions for rape or incest.
A federal judge blocked the ban from going into effect in October in advance of a lawsuit that challenges the measure as unconstitutional.