A Democratic State legislator in Oklahoma suggested that men should get mandatory vasectomies, in response to another bill banning abortion from the moment of conception.
At a meeting of the Oklahoma state legislature Friday, Democratic Rep. Mickey Dollens suggested that members of the legislature who supported the abortion law, House Bill 4327, should consider another bill he planned to introduce, which would mandate that young men in the state receive a vasectomy once they reach puberty that could only be reversed when they are “deemed financially and emotionally responsible.”
Dollens initially made the suggestion on Twitter Thursday in a thread attacking HB 4327. “One of my fellow legislators plans to introduce a bill, HB 4327, that would define life as the moment of fertilization, making it a homicide to abort even a small cluster of cells,” Dollens wrote. “What if we take it further and mandate that every male has to have a vasectomy until they are deemed financially and emotionally responsible? Or call the use of condoms premeditated murder? Using a personal interpretation of religion to legislate human bodies is wrong and leads us down a dangerous path.”
Dollens brought up the idea again during debate on HB 4327 Friday. “I would invite you to co-author a bill that I’m considering next year that would mandate that each male when they reach puberty get a mandatory vasectomy that’s only reversible when they reach the point of financial and emotional stability,” he told colleagues. “If you think that’s crazy, then I think that maybe you understand how 50 percent of Oklahomans feel as well.”
Dollens also attacked Republicans for not bringing up Democratic priorities. “There are plenty of actual solutions that can make a difference in reducing unwanted pregnancies,” he said. “Birth control, family planning, sex education, livable wage. But no. Each year, the past six years I’ve been here, and for years and years before that, they have gone unaddressed.” Dollens also accused Republicans in the legislature of trying to score political points.
The Oklahoma State Legislature passed HB 4327 on Thursday, as The Daily Wire reported. The bill was approved by a vote of 73-16, after it was approved by the state Senate in April. It outlaws nearly all abortions from the moment of fertilization, which it defines as “the fusion of a human spermatozoon with a human ovum.” It includes limited exceptions that allow abortions to save the life of the mother “in a medical emergency” or if the pregnancy resulted from an incident of “rape, sexual assault, or incest that has been reported to law enforcement.” The bill also provides a definition for an unborn child as “a human fetus or embryo in any stage of gestation from fertilization until birth.”
HB 4327 is an extension of Oklahoma Senate Bill 1503, a.k.a the Oklahoma Heartbeat Act, which Governor Kevin Stitt signed into law earlier this month. SB 1503 is a Texas-style abortion ban, which means it is enforced by civil action brought by private individuals against abortion providers instead of being prosecuted as a criminal offense. HB 4327 uses the same enforcement mechanism of private lawsuits, but it outlaws abortion at any point instead of just 6 weeks.
Oklahoma also passed a law in April making performing an abortion a felony, with the expectation that the Supreme Court’s ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization would strike down Roe v. Wade and return abortion policymaking to the states.