In response to a bill that largely inhibited women's reproductive rights, Democratic representative Dar'shun Kendrick has introduced a bill that would do the same to men's reproductive rights.
Last week, the state House of Georgia passed the controversial "heartbeat bill," a bill that would ban abortions after a fetus' heartbeat is detected. The Republican-majority state House approved House Bill 481, called the "Living Infants Fairness and Equality Act," with 93 votes for and 73 against. Once the vote was completed, cries of "shame, shame" from numerous abortion rights activists who had made an appearance to oppose the bill echoed throughout the House. Now, a Democratic state representative from Georgia is ready to set the record straight with her "testicular bill of rights," a bill that would largely curb the reproductive freedoms of men and even ban men from receiving vasectomies without the written consent of their partners. Needless to say, the bill has stirred up quite the storm.
The bill, proposed by Democratic representative Dar'shun Kendrick, was introduced to citizens via a post on social media platform Twitter. Among other things, the tweet revealed that the bill would "require men to obtain permission from their sex partner before they are able to obtain a prescription for Viagra or any erectile dysfunction medication" and "ban vasectomy procedures in Georgia, both in part or whole, with the name punitive measures for performing the procedure that are listed in House Bill 481."
In addition to this, the bill would "make it an 'aggravated assault' crime for men to have sex without a condom, require DNA testing when a woman is 6 weeks and 1 day [pregnant] (to be performed before she is 8 weeks [pregnant]) to determine the father of the child who shall IMMEDIATELY start paying child support" and guarantee "a 24-hour 'waiting period' for men to purchase any porn or sex toys in the state of Georgia." While the bill may be extreme to some, others believe it is an equal and appropriate response to the "heartbeat bill."
Kendrick introduced the bill by stating, "Good morning! Introducing my "testicular bill of rights" legislative package. [Do] you want some regulation of bodies and choice? Done!" Since she has announced the bill, the lawmaker's schedule has been jampacked with interviews to discuss the bill and its impact. In addition to this, Kendrick has also penned a passionate opinion article for Newsweek, in which she explained exactly why her bill is so important and highlighted the blatant hypocrisy of House Bill 481.
She wrote, "If you have watched me over the years as a legislator, you know that I am passionate about issues that are important to my district. I can unequivocally say that no other issue gets me motivated to act or makes me more passionate about the fundamental right of women to choose their life and destiny by making choices about their bodies and when to start a family." In the past, Kendrick has had a progressive track record, wherein she has fought fervently for the protection of minority communities.
"Now, obviously this is an emotional issue—it is for me, certainly. I think my colleagues have seen a side of me they have never seen before," the Democrat continued. "And it’s because choosing whether to terminate a pregnancy or not is such a personal issue. So I don’t try to belittle the convictions of those that are pro-life because they have an argument that speaks to their soul just as my convictions speak to mine. But at the end of the day, I will fight tooth and nail to preserve a woman’s right to self-determination and to respect the decisions she makes between her and her doctor."
She then went on to point out the flaws of House Bill 481, stating that it is legally dubious, fiscally irresponsible, and blatantly unconstitutional. She claims she is unsure whether she will actually continue with her "testicular bill of rights" by fighting for it on the House floor, but affirms that she will continue the battle for reproductive rights. She declared, "HB 481 is not done. It’s in the Georgia Senate as I write this opinion. It can still be stopped, I believe. So whether I actually file my 'testicular bill of rights' or not, I will continue to work with the Senate to try to stop this heinous, unconstitutional measure that attacks women’s core rights to privacy and family planning."
Whether or not her tongue-in-cheek bill continues forward in the state House and Senate, it has definitely struck a chord with her constituents. Twitter user BitchOnomics, responding to Kendrick's bill, noted, "I've been saying that irresponsible men are more at fault for abortions than irresponsible women; go after the men's irresponsible reproductive choices. I guarantee you that if men were made at fault for unwanted pregnancies, the number would go way down." Another user, Thrillout, humorously added, "I've been wanting someone to do this for a long time so thank you. The name I came up with is Targeted Regulation Assisting Male Patients (TRAMP laws). Might I also suggest denying state funds to providers that perform vasectomies or give referrals for them?"