Rabb announces parody legislation enforcing reproductive responsibility among men to highlight gendered double standards regarding reproductive rights
HARRISBURG, Oct. 4 – State Rep. Chris Rabb, D-Phila., has circulated a public memo promoting a forthcoming bill, inspired in part by Illinois state Rep. Kelly Cassidy’s innovative TExAS Act, which seeks to enforce reproductive responsibility among men through a series of means.
Rabb’s bill would require men to get a vasectomy within six weeks of having their third child or their 40th birthday, whichever comes first; codify into state law a definition of “wrongful conception” to include when a person has demonstrated negligence toward preventing conception during intercourse; would allow Pennsylvanians to take civil action for unwanted pregnancies against men who wrongfully conceive a child with them or who do not comply with the statute; and it would provide a $10,000 reward for reporting to the proper authorities those scofflaws who have not complied with the statute in the allotted timeframe, allowing for Pennsylvanians to take civil action against “inseminators.”
“As long as state legislatures continue to restrict the reproductive rights of cis women, trans men and non-binary people, there should be laws to address the responsibility of men who impregnate them,” Rabb said. “My sincere hope in introducing this legislation is that my colleagues in the General Assembly consider the egregiously gendered double standard when it comes to curtailing reproductive health care as it applies to women.”
Rabb’s proposal comes in the aftermath of the de facto abortion ban just enacted into law in Texas.
The bill introduced by Cassidy in Illinois would allow a person to bring a civil action against anyone who commits an act of domestic violence or sexual assault, as well as anyone who causes an unintended pregnancy or any person who enables those acts.
“Within hours of its circulation of this memo, I have received some of the most hateful and threatening emails and voicemails over my five years in office,” Rabb said. “But I have also received the affirmation and support of people in and far beyond my district who hold reproductive rights sacrosanct – not to mention people who see the value in satire to raise awareness around serious issues such as this.”
Rabb plans to hold a joint online town hall with Cassidy in the near future to discuss their respective bills and the importance of fighting for reproductive justice in state legislatures and what that means for those who seek to protect the bodily autonomy of all people.
Rabb said, “To each person who views this bill I’ve introduced as absurd, I’d urge you to apply equal scrutiny to laws in places like Texas and right here in Pennsylvania, which enact paternalistic restrictions on the personal liberty of cis women, trans men and nonbinary individuals who have an unwanted pregnancy. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander!”