Last week Alabama state Rep. Rolanda Hollis introduced a bill that would require men in the state to get a vasectomy at the age of 50. The bill would also require a vasectomy after a man has had three biological children.
Asked about the bill on Twitter, Hollis responded: “The Vasectomy bill is to help with the reproductive system. This is to neutralize the abortion ban bill. The responsibility is not always on the women. It takes 2 to tangle. This will help prevent pregnancy as well as abortion of unwanted children.”
For now, let’s overlook the tortured English of Hollis’s tweet and get right to the content. The “abortion ban bill” she refers to is HB 314, a.k.a. the Human Life Protection Act, which was passed by the Alabama legislature and signed by Gov. Kay Ivey on May 15, 2019. It would have outlawed most abortions in the state. Before the bill could take effect, however, it was blocked by a federal judge, making Alabama one of several states that have recently passed laws restricting abortions, only to have the laws swiftly blocked in courts.
No one seriously believes Hollis’s bill will gain any traction. On first glance, the story sounds like something from a parody site. Apparently enough people asked if it was true that Snopes investigated, confirming that there is such a bill but dismissing it as “a form of protest … not intended to be passed as written.”
Yellowhammer, an Alabama news outlet, described the bill as “dead on arrival.” CNN reported that Randall Marshall, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Alabama, “is doubtful the bill will go anywhere” but “applauds efforts that highlight the need to let women have control over their reproductive rights.”
None of this has stopped Hollis from continuing to push the bill. She told WFSA 12 News in Montgomery that “year after year the majority party continues to introduce new legislation that tries to dictate a woman’s body and her reproductive rights” and said the bill is intended to send the message that “men should not be legislating what women do with their bodies.” According to Al.com, Hollis said, “We can’t put all the responsibility on women. Men need to be responsible also.”
Hollis is not the first lawmaker to employ the strategy of proposing regulation of male biology to make a point about supposed governmental intrusion into female biology. On March 11, 2019, Georgia Democrat state Rep. Dar’shun Kendrick proposed a “Testicular Bill of Rights” in her state. Instead of requiring vasectomies, Kendrick’s bill sought to ban them.
Kendrick told Rolling Stone she was “dead serious” and that the point of the bill was to “bring awareness to the fact that if you’re going to legislate our bodies, then we have every right to propose legislation to regulate yours.”
Kendrick’s bill went nowhere, and neither will Hollis’s. But such excursions into the absurd provide fresh opportunities to review facts so basic that they shouldn’t require repeating but, at least for some, apparently do.
Abortion is not the same thing as sterilization. The former takes a life that has already begun; the latter prevents a life from being conceived. Hollis’s equating of a life in the womb with the male reproductive system, and the ending of that life through abortion with the neutralization of reproductive capability, is a false analogy that any eighth-grade logic student can see. To kill a baby is different from tying off a few tubes.
Hollis knows that her vasectomy bill is going nowhere because the United States, unlike some countries, does not forcibly sterilize people. Yet, in true Orwellian fashion, while we don’t force people to get sterilized, we do allow killing them if they are vulnerable, inconvenient, and relatively invisible.
Those who promote abortion as a woman’s choice continue to willfully ignore what science has made clearer in the 21st century than it has ever been before: that a life in the womb is just as human — and thus, just as deserving of individual liberty — as a life outside the womb.
As a Christian, I believe the soul draws its inherent worth from its Creator. But you don’t have to share that belief to understand that the taking of life without due process is a crime against basic human rights.
Bills such as those proposed by Kendrick and Hollis, which are designed to make a rhetorical point, are ridiculous and frivolous wastes of time. If the legislators behind them are not serious, they should be removed from office for squandering their fellow lawmakers’ time, their constituents’ good faith, and taxpayers’ money. If they are serious, they should be removed for stupidity.
But a bill that equates the intentional termination of a life with the prevention of one goes beyond the frivolous and stupid. In its calculated denial of what an abortion is, it is callously manipulative, sadistic, and inhumane.