State Rep. Chris Rabb (Courtesy of Pennsylvania House of Representatives) Chris Rabb
State Rep. Chris Rabb (Courtesy of Pennsylvania House of Representatives)

State Rep. Chris Rabb announced a bill requiring men to undergo a vasectomy after the birth of their third child, or their 40th birthday, whichever comes first.

HARRISBURG — One state representative is taking the reproductive rights battle to a new level, suggesting that men take responsibility.

State Rep. Chris Rabb (D-Philadelphia) has proposed legislation that would require “inseminators” to undergo a vasectomy within six weeks of the birth of their third child, or their 40th birthday, whichever comes first.

The vasectomy bill is satire, Rabb said. But it’s also highlighting a double standard.

“For far too long, the public debate around abortion, contraception and related reproductive matters has thrust government into the center of restrictions on the bodily autonomy of women and girls,” Rabb said in his sponsorship memo. “Rarely is there a meaningful dialogue around public policy focusing on the personal responsibility of cisgender men in this sphere.”

Rabb told The Keystone that he hopes that “more men who are either quiet or indifferent about this issue will see that this is an injustice that makes our society less safe and less equitable.”

What Exactly is in Rabb’s Vasectomy Bill?

Rabb has not yet introduced the legislation, but he outlined its details in a Twitter thread and his sponsorship memo.

“As long as state legislatures continue to restrict the reproductive rights of cis women, trans men and non-binary people, there should be laws that address the responsibility of men who impregnate them. Thus, my bill will also codify ‘wrongful conception’ to include when a person has demonstrated negligence toward preventing conception during intercourse,” Rabb said in his memo.

The bill would allow Pennsylvanians to take civil action in the event of an unwanted pregnancy.

The vasectomy requirement would be enforced by offering a $10,000 reward to anyone who reports an inseminator who doesn’t comply. 

Rabb said the legislation is inspired by a bill that Illinois state Rep. Kelly Cassidy wrote in response to Texas’ recent six-week abortion ban and introduced in the Illinois legislature. The TExAS Act would allow victims to sue rapists and abusers. 

Rabb’s bill had no cosponsors as of Thursday. And Rabb said he knows it likely won’t pass, as legislation Democrats introduce in the majority-GOP state Legislature rarely passes.

“If that were my standard for deciding to work on legislation, I wouldn’t introduce anything. Because last legislative term, if you were a Democrat, the chances that your bill would become law was less than one half of 1%,” he said. “If anyone’s wasting taxpayer money, it’s the Republicans who are in control.” 

Reaction to Rabb’s Vasectomy Bill

Since Rabb announced his proposal on Saturday, he said, he’s received thousands of hateful messages from both men and women, most of them racist. 

“I am a Black progressive elected official from Philadelphia who is used to hate mail,” Rabb said. “And I’ve never seen this many death threats and hateful responses in my five years in office.”

And there’s the double standard again.

“Somehow it’s appropriate for governments to invade the wombs of women and girls, but when you talk about men’s reproductive organs, it’s out of line, it’s communist,” Rabb said.