A Firm Response to HB 481

On March 11, Rep. Dar’shun Kendrick announced her “testicular bill of rights” in response to Georgia’s “heartbeat bill,” HB 481. The legislation has five points: 

1. Require men to get permission from their sex partner before getting prescription for Viagra or any erectile dysfunction medication 

2. Ban all vasectomy procedures and punish those who perform such procedures 

3. Make it an aggravated assault for men to have sex without a condom 

4. Require DNA testing when a woman is 6 weeks and 1 day pregnant to determine the father of the child who must then begin paying child support 

5. Men must wait 24 hours to purchase any porn or sex toys in Georgia 

The legislation is meant to spark the conversation around the regulation of reproductive rights and organs. It highlights the double standard placed on women and the absurdity of regulating women’s bodies. 

Currently, women in Georgia can have an abortion up to 20 weeks. HB 481, which passed the Georgia House of Representatives 93-73, would limit this time period to up to six weeks. Now, the bill must pass the Georgia Senate for an opportunity to be signed by Gov. Brian Kemp who has already expressed support for the bill. 

Abortions in Georgia are already restricted. Most of the abortion facilities in the state are in the Atlanta area, with half of Georgia’s counties lacking an obstetrician/gynecologist. Georgia has the highest mortality of pregnant women in the country, and this bill will only increase that number. Since most women do not know they are pregnant until six weeks, they may resort to unsafe options that threaten their life. 

One of the exceptions to the six-week limitation grants victims of incest or rape the right to an abortion. However, the bill requires the girl or woman to file a police report to gain access. Most victims of sexual abuse or rape do not report such abuse until years after. By forcing victims to disclose sensitive information, it reinforces the burden. 

HB 481 has repercussions beyond its legislation. The goal is for the bill to reach the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, which is one of the most conservation court circuits in the country. If the bill is upheld in the Court, it can be taken to the Supreme Court. With the appointment of Brett Kavanaugh, the bill may overturn Roe v. Wade, which guarantees a woman’s right to an abortion up until the fetus can have a viable life outside the womb. 

HB 481 discounts science to control women’s autonomy. The “heartbeat” at six weeks is actually developing tissues that could not support life outside the womb. In fact, an embryo during the early stages of pregnancy is just a mass of tissue. The “heartbeat bill” is based on ideology and misogyny, not on science or data. Rep. Kendrick’s “testicular bill of rights” exploits this inconsistency.