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US In response to abortion restrictions, Alabama lawmaker's bill would require vasectomies

21:10  14 february  2020
21:10  14 february  2020 Source:   cnn.com

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a large white building with Alabama State Capitol in the background: Alabama's state capitol stands in the heart of Birmingham.© CNN/file Alabama's state capitol stands in the heart of Birmingham.

An Alabama Democratic lawmaker has a unique response to a recent law limiting abortion rights in the state: require men to undergo vasectomies either when they hit 50 or have three children.

Such would be the case under a new bill from Rep. Rolanda Hollis that was introduced on Thursday.

"Under existing law, there are no restrictions on the reproductive rights of men. This measure 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," the bill says.

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The bill faces long odds in the Republican-controlled legislature, but Hollis told AL.com it's a statement in response to a near total abortion ban passed in the state last year that has been blocked by a federal judge. Republican-led states, emboldened by the conservative-majority Supreme Court and efforts by the Trump administration to roll back abortion protections, have pushed limitations to abortions in the last year.

"The vasectomy bill is to help with the reproductive system, and yes, it is to neutralize the abortion ban bill ... it always takes two to tango," Hollis told the outlet. "We can't put all the responsibility on women. Men need to be responsible also."

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Under the bill, men who reach the age threshold will have to undergo the vasectomy at their "own expense."

Hollis' bill will now head to the Judiciary Committee for consideration, which is made up of 14 men and one woman, per the state legislature website. Committee Chairman Rep. Jim Hill, a Republican, told CNN that he is unsure of the bill's future, but that it's the first of this kind that he's seen.

"I've never seen a bill that attempted to sterilize a person, male or female," he told CNN.

Randall Marshall, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Alabama, told CNN that although he is doubtful the bill will go anywhere, he applauds efforts that highlight the need to let women have control over their reproductive rights.

"Look, on the one hand, everybody knows that this bill isn't going anywhere. But it really does underscore the hypocrisy of Alabama's legislature in making medical decisions for women that it would never dream of making for men," Marshall said.

As Kansas lawmakers battle over abortion, Medicaid expansion could be casualty .
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