PENNSYLVANIA, USA — Social media has been lighting up with claims that a Democratic state representative from Pennsylvania is proposing legislation that would force men to get a vasectomy.
Some Republican lawmakers and outraged conservatives have been circulating the claim on social media, citing the proposal as "far left insanity" that is turning America into Communist China.
As the social media posts spread, 13News viewers have been contacting VERIFY to ask if such a bill does exist and whether the claims are true.
Is a Democratic state representative from Pennsylvania proposing legislation that would mandate men get a vasectomy within six weeks of having their third child or turning age 40, whichever comes first?
- Pennsylvania State Rep. Christopher Rabb
- Pennsylvania House of Representatives Public Memoranda
Yes, Pennsylvania State Rep. Christopher Rabb said he is proposing a bill that would require men to get a vasectomy soon after the birth of their third child or when they turn 40 years old, whichever comes first. But the state lawmaker said he announced the legislation only as parody in response to a restrictive abortion law in Texas and to highlight what he believes is a double standard involving reproductive legislation based on gender.
WHAT WE FOUND
Last week, Pennsylvania State Rep. Christopher Rabb (D-Philadelphia) announced plans to introduce a controversial bill.
Rabb distributed an official memo through the Pennsylvania House of Representatives that said, "I will be introducing legislation that will require all inseminators to undergo vasectomies within 6 weeks from having their third child or 40th birthday, whichever comes first." The memo also said the law would include a $10,000 reward for individuals who turn in men who fail to comply with the vasectomy mandate.
When the Democratic state representative spoke earlier this week to WMPT-TV (13News' sister station in Harrisburg, Pa.), Rabb acknowledged the bill would never get a hearing, let alone advance through the House of Representatives and become actual law. Rabb said his proposal was intended as satire to criticize a restrictive abortion law recently passed in Texas and to highlight what he views as unequal treatment that women must endure when it comes to legislation aimed at reproductive issues.
"It's somehow OK for the government to invade the uteruses of women and girls, but it should be off limits if you propose vasectomies or anything that restricts the reproductive rights of men," Rabb said. "This is a double standard. There are no laws – not since 1865, I imagine – that regulate the bodies of men and boys."
The lawmaker's claim that he intended the bill to be considered only as satire is supported by Rabb's choice of wording in his memorandum. The memo announcing the proposal is filled with puns and double entendre.
"As we head toward climax on this heated discourse around this delicate matter, we should come together to address it with surgical precision. We must also commit to mending the social fabric being sliced up by bitter acrimony," Rabb wrote.
Some Republican lawmakers in Pennsylvania did not see humor in Rabb's proposal and cited it as an example of extreme liberal agendas gone awry.
"That's something that's done in Communist China and not something we should ever be considering here," Rep. Aaron Bernstine (R-Beaver) told WMPT.
Republican State Representative Barb Gleim (R-Cumberland) went even further in condemning Rabb's announcement and confusing it for a serious legislative proposal. She quickly went to social media to declare "House Democrat Introduces Forced Sterilization/Three-Child Limit Bill."
"As a fourth born child myself, I would have never existed under this law and neither would so many others," Gleim wrote on Facebook, adding that the proposal exemplifies how "today's progressive left have utterly and completely disregarded your personal medical freedom." She also warned that policies like mandated vasectomies "would become the norm here if Democrats seized total control of State Government."
A week after Rabb first announced his proposal, no bill related to a vasectomy mandate appears in the online legislation search portal of the Pennsylvania General Assembly.