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Fact Check-Oklahoma bill mandating men to get a vasectomy when they reach puberty proposed as satire

A bill proposed by an Oklahoma Democrat as satire in response to the U.S. Supreme Court overturning the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling is tricking users online into believing that it is real.

Examples can be seen (here) and (here).

The text in one post reads: “BREAKING: Oklahoma Democrat announces that he’s planning to introduce a bill that will “mandate that each male, when they reach puberty, get a mandatory vasectomy that’s only reversible when they reach the point of financial and emotional stability.” RT IF YOU SUPPORT HIS BILL!”

The comments on the posts include: “Why does it have to be mandatory. I think a lot of young men would choose this option if it was available, but it’s not. So they don’t have a choice”, “That’s going to bomb. I’m pro-choice but in no way would I approve of forced sterilization,” and, “This is as ridiculous as the recent court decision.”

In a tweet thread published by Occupy Democrats (here), a response tweet (here) reads: “Obviously, this is a sarcastic bill meant to highlight how Republicans want to control women’s reproductive organs but any bill regulating men’s glands is shocking.”

The bill was proposed by Oklahoma state Rep. Mikey Dollens as a satire bill to Oklahoma’s abortion laws, as reported (here), (here), (here).

Stacie Rathbun, legislative assistant for Dollens told Reuters via email: “He made this satirical statement during debate to point out how absurd it is for government to regulate someone’s bodily autonomy.”

“Year after year there are new laws to control female reproductive systems - yet not one statute exists that controls the male reproductive system, Rathbun said. “He believes the male is just as responsible.”

“For the record, Representative Dollens does not believe the government should be telling ANYONE what they can or can’t do with their reproductive system,” Rathbun added.

Dollens spoke about the bill on May 19, 2022 (here). He said: “If you really want to end abortion, if that’s your objective, I would invite you to co-author a bill that I'm considering next year that would mandate that each male, when they reach puberty, get a mandatory vasectomy that's only reversible when they reach the point of financial and emotional stability. If you think that's crazy then I think that maybe you understand how 50 percent of Oklahomans feel as well.”

In May, Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt signed into law the strictest abortion ban in the United States, one that prohibits abortions from fertilization and allows private citizens to sue those who help women terminate their pregnancies (here).

The rule change was one among a swathe in Republican states passed in anticipation of the Supreme Court's overturning of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 case that established the constitutional right to abortion. That decision finally came on June 24, 2022. (here)

Reuters has previously debunked a similar claim (here) where a satire bill that would force men to be sterilized and limit the number of children parents can have to three was introduced as a response to the Texas abortion ban.

VERDICT

Missing context. The bill was proposed as satire in response to Oklohoma’s abortion ban signed in May 2022.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work  here  .         

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