Lawmaker Proposes Bill to Restrict Vasectomies

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The debate over women's reproductive health is now hitting men right where it counts. A bill that would prevent men from having vasectomies unless it was to avoid serious injury or death was filed in the Missouri House of Representatives this week.

Representative Stacey Newman calls herself a member of the "Silent Seven." She is one of seven democratic women who stood on the house floor for seven hours last week waiting to speak on the birth control issue.

Those seven women were never allowed to speak, so Newman is now speaking out in her own way.

"A vasectomy shall only be performed to avert the death of the man or avert serious risk," or so says House Bill 1853 introduced on Wednesday by Newman.

"If it takes government interference in vasectomies for people to wake up and understand the absurdity.  The restrictions that we women have to deal with that government keeps interfering in our person private medical decisions then this is what we have to do," says Newman.

The bill, a statement from seven Democratic women who say they find it absurd that only men's voices are being heard on the topic of birth control and women.

And Missouri State Senator Jolie Justus agrees, saying, "The reality is if we want to bring attention to the fact that only men are discussing an issue that is so intimate to women then we sometimes have to do things like file legislation or offer amendments on the floor that do just that."

Despite the irreverent wording used in the bill, like the section that reads, "No regard shall be made to the desire of a man to father children, his economic situation, his age," Newman says she is serious.

"We don't find it humorous.  We don't find it tongue in cheek when we are dealing with restrictions on women's medical decisions," Newman said.

Serious or not, her point may be well made.

"Men are writing me telling me you know how dare the government interfere in their private reproductive decisions.  I mean it's really pointing out the hypocrisy," Newman adds.

"Sometimes in order to get anyone's attention you have to do something like rep. Newman has done and that's why I'm glad she did it," adds Justus.

The bill was not read on the House floor Wednesday afternoon along with the other newly filed bills that were. Newman says she will continue to keep this issue in the public eye to raise awareness on laws being made by men that affect women.

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