If we were to determine an MVP of the 2012 Oklahoma legislative session, the front-runner would have to be State Senator Constance Johnson. The lawmaker from Forrest Park has been doing just about everything in her power to point out the general absurdity, quackery and gender-bias of the controversial Personhood Act and other propsed laws.
First she introduced the “every sperm is sacred” amendment to the Personhood Act, which would have banned depositing semen outside of a woman’s vagina. Then she filed an amendment to force convicted rapists to get vasectomies and financially provide for their rape babies.
Now she’s filed yet another one. This amendment is attached to SB1274, which would force a woman to hear the heartbeat of her unborn fetus before she can get an abortion. Because you know, getting an abortion isn’t traumatic enough.
In Johnson’s amendment, she seeks to ban vasectomies, unless, of course, the vasectomy is intended to “avert the death of the man or avert serious risk of substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function of the man.” The full text of the amendment is below. You can view the PDF here:
SECTION 1. NEW LAW
A new section of law to be codified in the Oklahoma Statutes as Section <1-745.20> of Title <63>, unless there is created a duplication in numbering, reads as follows:
A. The Legislature finds that:
1. Thousands of children are deprived of birth in this state every year because of the lack of state regulation over vasectomies;
2. There is substantial evidence that unregulated vasectomies result in fewer unwanted pregnancies and, by extension, fewer births;
3. It is patently unfair that men can avoid the rewards of unwanted fatherhood by presuming that their judgment over such matters is more valid than the judgment of the Legislature;
4. Fewer unwanted pregnancies result in fewer children living in poverty and a lower prison population, and this is job killing in a time when social workers, police officers, and prison guards need the employment to feed their families; and
5. It is the purpose of the Legislature to assert an invasive state interest in the reproductive habits of men in this state and substitute the will of the government over the will of adult men.
1. As used in this section, the term “vasectomy” means a surgical procedure performed on males in which the vas deferens are cut, tied, cauterized, or otherwise interrupted in such a manner that the semen no longer contains sperm and conception cannot occur.
2. No vasectomy is authorized or shall be performed in violation of this section.
3. In determining whether a vasectomy is necessary, no regard shall be made to the desire of a man to father children, to his economic situation, to his age, to the number of children he is currently responsible for, or to any danger to his wife or partner in the event a child is conceived. A vasectomy may only be performed to avert the death of the man or avert serious risk of substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function of the man. No such condition shall be deemed to exist if it is based on a diagnosis or claim of a mental or emotional condition of the man or that the man will purposefully engage in conduct which he intends to result in his death or in substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function.
4. No vasectomy is authorized or shall be performed unless the vasectomy is performed in a licensed hospital, in a licensed ambulatory surgical center, or in a health facility licensed as a vasectomy facility by the State Department of Health.
5. A vasectomy shall only be performed by a licensed healthcare provider.
6. Any person who performs a vasectomy, and any person permitting a vasectomy to be performed on him, in violation of the provisions of this section shall be guilty of a felony and, upon conviction, shall be sentenced to community service of not fewer than one thousand forty (1,040) hours in the field of service to needy families, caring for or counseling abused and neglected children or wayward teens, or performing service to inmates in a jail or correctional institution.
Once again, let me clarify that Senator Johnson filed this to lampoon our legislature’s obsession with limiting the reproductive rights of women. She probably wants to ban vasectomies about as much as I want to ban large breasts and pints of beer.
Usually it gets on my nerves when politicians pull stunts like this, but not this time. The “Every Sperm is Sacred” amendment was picked up by just about every national media outlet (of course, we’re the ones who broke the story, but who really cares). That helps let people across the country know that not all Oklahomans are Santorum-voting, right-wing, hypocritical nutjobs. That some of us don’t want the government to try to ban and restrict legal medical practices and procedures. That some of us are sane and logical and, well, normal human beings.
Anyway, keep up the good work Ms. Johnson. And if you ever need any ideas for other amendments, send us an email. We have some suggestions.
(Update: In our original post, we incorrectly reported the amendment was attached to the Personhood Act. We corrected everything. We apologize for getting the nutty legislation confused.)
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