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Read the ‘testicular bill of rights,’ one lawmaker’s answer to antiabortion legislation

Georgia members of the Handmaid Coalition protest the passage of HB 481 outside the state Capitol on March 8 in Atlanta. (Bob Andres/Atlanta Journal-Constitution/AP)

It started, as all things do, with a tweet.

“Ggggooooodddd morning!” state Rep. Dar’shun Kendrick, a Georgia Democrat, wrote Monday, introducing what she is calling her “testicular bill of rights” legislative package. “You want some regulation of bodies and choice? Done!”

The tweet included an image of an email outlining her five-point plan:

  • Require men to get permission from their sex partner before obtaining a prescription for erectile dysfunction medication.
  • Ban vasectomy procedures in Georgia and penalize doctors who perform them.
  • Make having sex without a condom an “aggravated assault” crime for men.
  • Require men to begin paying child support when the woman is six weeks and one day pregnant per a paternity test required at the same time.
  • Create a 24-hour “waiting period” for men who wish to purchase porn or sex toys in the state of Georgia.

Kendrick’s testicular bill of rights is a direct answer to HB 481, the “heartbeat bill” passed by her Republican colleagues in the Georgia House of Representatives last week. The bill would ban abortion in Georgia at about six weeks, when a detectable heartbeat is first found in a fetus.

At six weeks, many women do not yet know they are pregnant.

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If the antiabortion bill passes the Georgia Senate and is signed into law by Gov. Brian Kemp, it would be among the most restrictive in the country, reported the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Current Georgia law allows pregnant women to have legal abortions at up to 20 weeks.

Abortion rights advocates have vowed to challenge the law in court, as they have done in other states where similar legislation has been passed in recent years. The courts have blocked other states from enacting abortion bans under 20 weeks, reported the Associated Press.

Though the Supreme Court has previously ruled that states cannot ban abortion before a fetus is viable — about 23 to 25 weeks — the bench has a new lineup. Overturning Roe v. Wade, the landmark case that legalized abortion, has been a Republican talking point for years that gained traction when President Trump appointed two new conservative justices to the Supreme Court.

The Post’s Robert Barnes analyzes how states are passing laws restricting abortion rights and testing how the Supreme Court’s new conservative majority decides. (Video: Luis Velarde, Breanna Muir/The Washington Post)

Kendrick, who has been a state legislator since 2011, hopes to have her counter-bill drafted by the end of the week.

She told Rolling Stone she knows the bill will not pass — definitely not this year, because the filing deadline has already passed, and maybe not ever. But that was never the point, she said. She proposed her testicular bill of rights to “bring awareness to the fact that if you’re going to legislate our bodies, then we have every right to propose legislation to regulate yours,” Kendrick told Rolling Stone.

The testicular bill of rights comes after House Democrats in Georgia argued against the antiabortion bill that passed last week. When the bill’s sponsor, Republican state Rep. Ed Setzler, introduced the bill, at least 20 Democrats stood and turned their backs to him. About six female Democrats protested the vote by walking out of the chamber, reported the AJC.

Kendrick called HB 481 a “test case.”

"It is a case to test Roe v. Wade. They’re hoping that it gets up to the Court of Appeals — the 11th Circuit is one of the most conservative court circuits that we have, and they’re hopeful that they will uphold part of it, and then they’ll take it all the way to the Supreme Court,” Kendrick told Rolling Stone. “They know exactly what they are doing. This is intentional.”

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