(RNN) - As public debate over women's reproductive health continues, a growing number of state legislators and politicians are introducing provisions to regulate men's reproductive health - including a bill outlawing vasectomies and a resolution recognizing the personhood of semen.
The City Council of Wilmington, Delaware's largest city, passed a resolution requesting that legislators across the country address gender in America, starting with the personhood of sperm.
"If every female egg is deemed by the government to be a living being, bestowed with all the rights of personhood and thereby protected from being destroyed or being allowed to die in any way other than the will of the Creator," the resolution says, "it follows that every sperm of a male should be likewise deemed by the government to be a living being, bestowed with all the rights of personhood."
The resolution is just one of many tongue-in-cheek bills and amendments coming out of state and local governments aimed at highlighting the perceived gender bias in current reproductive health debates.
In the Sooner State, the Personhood Act was passed through the state Senate 34-8 on Feb. 24. The Act recognizes conception as the beginning of life, giving unborn children the same rights as any other citizen.
In response, Sen. Constance Johnson, D-Tulsa, introduced two amendments, one of which would have made it illegal for a man to "ejaculate or otherwise deposit semen anywhere but in a woman's vagina."
The amendment was voluntarily withdrawn by the senator, who wrote in an article for the United Kingdom's The Guardian newspaper that the bill was to highlight the "ridiculousness of our reproductive policy initiatives in Oklahoma."
"My amendment seeks to draw attention to the absurdity, duplicity and lack of balance inherent in the policies of this state in regard to women," she wrote.
Johnson also proposed that men take financial responsibility for a child resulting from an unwanted pregnancy until he or she turns 21 years old. In addition, the man responsible would have to have a vasectomy and be fined $25,000.
State Sen. Jim Wilson, D-Tahlequah, sided with Johnson by proposing an amendment which would hold a man financially responsible for a woman's health care, housing, transportation and nourishment while she was pregnant with his child.
Both amendments failed.
A bill proposed in Georgia could change current abortion laws to include the prohibition of vasectomy operations.
House Bill 1116 could make it illegal to perform a vasectomy in the state unless a man's life or "major bodily function" is in danger.
"Thousands of children are deprived of birth in this state every year because of the lack of state regulation over vasectomies," the bill reads, adding that "it is the purpose of the General Assembly 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."
Introduced by Rep. Yasmin Neal, D-Jonesboro, the was in response to debate in Georgia's House of Representatives over a separate bill that could criminalize abortions performed after 20 weeks.
"This bill mimics the abortion bills throughout the nation, and just like the abortion bills interfere with the women's right to chose, it's only fair that the General Assembly debate the men's right to choose as well," Neal said in a video introduction for the Anti-Vasectomy Act. "The day has come where men should feel the same pressure and invasion of privacy that women have faced for years."
The Act is still making its way through the House and is currently on its second reading.
The abortion bill passed the House 102-65.
"The men in our lives, including members of the General Assembly, generously devote time to fundamental female reproductive issues - the least we can do is return the favor," said Sen. Nina Turner, D-OH, after sponsoring a bill that could restrict men's access to impotence medication.
The legislation mimics Food and Drug Administration-mandated labels for Viagra, Cialis and Levitra, which say a medical assessment should be performed to see if there are underlying causes of impotence that have been overlooked.
"When a man makes a crucial decision about his health and his body, he should be fully aware of the alternative options and the lifetime repercussions of that decision," Turner said. "We must advocate for the traditional family, protect the sanctity of procreation and ensure that all men using PDE-5 inhibitors [to treat erectile dysfunction] are healthy, stable and educated about their options - including celibacy as a viable life choice."
The bill, which was introduced March 6, is still working its way through the state Senate.
In 2011, provisions regarding women's health were at an all-time high, with every state considering at least one. In all 1,100 provisions were reviewed, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive health research group. Of these, 135 were enacted in 36 states, an increase of almost 50 percent from 2009, when 77 provisions were enacted.
A majority of these changes, 68 percent, had to do with restricting access to abortion services. In 2010, only 26 percent of new provisions applied to abortion, according to the Guttmacher Institute.
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