Georgia Democrats respond to fetal heartbeat bill, propose ‘men’s reproductive health’ bill

Credit: Bob Andres/ The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Credit: Bob Andres/ The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

A pair of Georgia Democrats are planning to file bills that address "men's reproductive health" as a way to highlight the differences in how health care is treated between the sexes.

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The proposals would target men’s health and impose similar restrictions that are required of women in current legislation, according to the sponsors.

The move is a response to the passage of anti-abortion legislation in the state House that would ban the procedure once a doctor can detect a heartbeat in the womb — which is usually around six weeks into a pregnancy.

House Bill 481, which now must go through the state Senate, also includes provisions that would require fetuses "at any stage of development" to be included in the state's population count and allow parents to claim fetuses on their taxes as dependents.

The men’s reproductive bills have been proposed to make a point rather than with the idea they might actually pass. Bills introduced after the General Assembly’s self-imposed cutoff to clear one chamber have little chance of becoming law.

State Rep. Dar'shun Kendrick, a Lithonia Democrat, announced plans to file legislation she's calling the "testicular bill of rights."

“You want some regulation of bodies and choice?” she said in a post on Twitter. “Done!”

Kendrick said she asked legislative staff to draft a bill that would require DNA testing once a woman is six weeks and one day pregnant to establish paternity and require the father to begin paying child support.

Kendrick’s proposal would also require men to get permission from their partner before receiving a prescription for erectile dysfunction medicine and wait 24 hours before purchasing pornography or sex toys in Georgia.

Democratic state Rep. Park Cannon of Atlanta was soliciting signatures for a proposal that would require men who are age 55 and older to "immediately report to the county sheriff or local law enforcement agency" when he "releases sperm from his testicles."

Cannon pointed to a 2010 U.S. Centers for Disease Control report that examined men’s reproductive health. In it, doctors argued that improving the sexual reproductive health of men and increasing their involvement in family planning could help improve women’s health.

Children of men with older fathers are more likely to have health issues, doctors say.

"This bill helps men who are well past reproductive age to self report when they willfully engage in conception," she said.

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