After Losing Battle Against Anti-Abortion Bill, Georgia Representatives Unveil Legislation Restricting Male Reproductive Health
"If you’re going to legislate our bodies, then we have every right to propose legislation to regulate yours,” Rep. Dar’shun Kendrick said.
March 12, 2019 at 12:20 pm
Three Black Georgia politicians are helping to lead the fight against a strict anti-abortion bill currently making its way through Georgia's Republican-led Legislature.
The bill, known as HB 481, was introduced on February 28 and would ban almost all abortions in the state, the Intercept reports. As the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on abortion's constitutionality in Roe vs. Wade, the Georgia bill would only become law if America's highest court overturned that ruling.
If that happens, abortions performed after the detection of a fetal heartbeat could land medical professionals in prison for a decade, or they could be fined up to $100,000. The only exceptions would be in cases of rape, incest or threats to the carrier’s life. A fetal heartbeat is typically detected around six weeks of pregnancy, well before many women know they are pregnant.
Rep. Park Cannon (D), who identifies as queer, shared her experience with abortion during last Friday’s Georgia House of Representatives session, reports Project Q.
“I stand here today confident in my decision to terminate my pregnancy when I was sexually assaulted in 2010,” she said. “As a member of the LGBTQ community, there are many people who believe they can ‘rape us straight.’ I do not deserve to live in a world or a state where people believe that I should be ashamed because of my sexual orientation.”
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When Cannon began to name legislators who support the measure, she was cut off by House Speaker David Ralston (R).
Rep. Renitta Shannon (R) took up Cannon's fight. She also revealed she had an abortion.
“I do not regret my decision, and I am not scarred,” she declared. “The women of Georgia are fully capable of making their own decisions and we do not need your condescending bills that challenge our bodily autonomy.”
Ralston cut Shannon’s mic when she continued to speak after her time concluded.
The Georgia House of Representatives passed the bill 93-73 on Thursday. It must still pass the Senate.
Gov. Brian Kemp (R) supports the bill and will sign it if it lands on his desk, according to WJCL.
"This is a powerful moment in Georgia,” Kemp said. “It's bigger than politics and partisanship. Let's champion life today and give all Georgians including the unborn a good chance to live, grow, and prosper.”
In response to the bill's success in the House, Cannon and Rep. Dar’shun Kendrick (R) introduced bills that put restrictions on male reproduction Monday, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Cannon’s bill would require men over the age of 55 to “immediately report to the county sheriff or local law enforcement agency” when he “releases sperm from his testicles.”
“This bill helps men who are well past reproductive age to self-report when they willfully engage in conception,” Cannon said.
Kendrick announced her bill on Twitter. Her legislation would require men to get permission from their partners to purchase erectile dysfunction medication, institute a 24-hour wait period for sex toy and porn purchases by men and ban vasectomies.
The bill also requires a paternity test be taken at eight weeks of pregnancy; the man established as the father would be required to begin child support payments immediately.
“I’m dead serious,” Kendrick told Rolling Stone. "If you’re going to legislate our bodies, then we have every right to propose legislation to regulate yours.”
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