In a debate over abortion legislation in the Senate Judiciary Committee Tuesday evening, Chattanooga Republican Todd Gardenhire argued the process of a man undergoing a vasectomy is more difficult than that of a woman seeking an abortion, reports Andrea Zelinski.
“Men go through a lot more stringent process for a vasectomy than women, I assume, go through for an abortion,” he told the committee. The comment came after Memphis Democratic Sen. Sara Kyle argued increased regulations on abortions should be extended to vasectomies if the government interjects in women’s reproductive decisions.
Tennessee State Code Annotated currently mentions abortion in 15 passages of the code. Vasectomy is not mentioned.
The debate came in the midst of debate on SB1222, legislation that would build in a 48-hour waiting period for an abortion and require the woman to sign a form indicating she has been informed of the details of her pregnancy, her options and the risks of pregnancy and abortion. The committee went on to advance the bill on a 7-2 vote, sending it to the floor. The House version is up for debate in the House Health Committee Wednesday.
Further, from the Chattanooga TFP:
“What I don’t understand is the discrimination,” Kyle said, according to the digital recording of the meeting. “You’re putting all this burden on the woman. Why don’t we put these same standards on the man who wants the vasectomy?”
“So,” Kyle told an attorney for Tennessee Right to Life, “I’m just asking that what’s good for the goose could be good for the gander.”
The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Mae Beavers, D-Mt. Juliet, said she didn’t think the issues were comparable.
“I wanted to kind of walk Sen. Kyle through what a vasectomy is and what you have to go through to have one, having personal experience in that field,” Gardenhire said. “I also had one reversed. I want to promise you that when you start talking to a doctor about them whacking on you down there you want to wait a while and think about it.
“They call you in the office,” Gardenhire continued. “They meet with your spouse. They tell you the consequences. They tell you how it’s almost impossible to have it reversed and that you better go home and you better think about that — and then you come back and then they schedule a procedure and [at] a medically qualified office and it takes anywhere from four to six weeks to schedule.”
Getting it reversed is even more difficult “time-wise and everything else,” the senator said.
“I want to tell you that men go through a lot more stringent process to have a vasectomy, I would assume, on abortion,” Gardenhire said.
As Kyle began to respond, Judiciary Committee Chairman Brian Kelsey, R-Germantown, interjected, saying, “Let’s just make sure that we keep this focused on the topic on the legislation at hand.”
Gardenhire then sought recognition.