Another crazy American story – this time from the Sovereign State of Alabama.
Alabama State Rep. Rolanda Hollis (D-Birmingham) filed a bill today that would, if passed, mandate every Alabama man to undergo a vasectomy within one month of the birth of his third biological child, or his 50th birthday, whichever comes first.
The Democrat’s bill has, of course, zero chance of passing and is a publicity stunt – to protest Alabama’s near-total ban on abortions.
Under existing law, there are no restrictions on the reproductive rights of men. This bill would require… A man, at his own expense, shall undergo a vasectomy within one month of his 50th birthday or the birth of his third biological child, whichever comes first.
The bill has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee where it will probably die without getting out of committee.
During the debate on the Human Life Protection Act in 2019, Hollis read a poem by Katie Heim “If My Vagina was a Gun,” comparing the Second Amendment rights debate to the debate over a woman’s right to an abortion.
If my vagina was a gun, you would stand for its rights,
You would ride on buses and fight all the fights.
If my vagina was a gun, you would treat it with care,
You wouldn’t spill all its secrets because, well, why go there.
If my vagina was a gun, you’d say what it holds is private
From cold dead hands, we could pry, you surely would riot.
If my vagina was a gun, its rights would all be protected,
no matter the body count or the children affected.
If my vagina was a gun, I could bypass security,
concealed carry laws would ensure I’d have impunity.
If my vagina was a gun, I wouldn’t have to beg you,
I could hunt this great land and do all the things men do.
But my vagina is not a gun, it is a mightier thing,
With a voice that rings true making lawmakers’ ears ring.
Vaginas are not delicate, they are muscular and magic,
So stop messing with mine, with legislation that’s tragic.
My vagina’s here to demand from the source,
Listen to the voices of thousands or feel their full force.
Alabama voters have been fairly clear on their overall stance on the abortion issue in recent years; the majority are against it.
Amendment 2 passed in 2018, prohibiting all abortions in the state except those necessary to prevent a serious health risk to the woman.
The text of the Amendment is
Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, as amended; to declare and otherwise affirm that it is the public policy of this state to recognize and support the sanctity of unborn life and the rights of unborn children, most importantly the right to life in all manners and measures appropriate and lawful; and to provide that the constitution of this state does not protect the right to abortion or require the funding of abortion.
House Bill 314, called the Human Life Protection Act, and passed in 2019. It reclassifies performing an abortion as a felony punishable with up to 99 years in prison for doctors performing it.
Governor Kay Ivey said in a statement. “To the bill’s many supporters, this legislation stands as a powerful testament to Alabamians’ deeply held belief that every life is precious and that every life is a sacred gift from God.”
Hollis’ silly vasectomy bill is her response to the law.
“[Y]es, it is to neutralize the abortion ban bill … it always takes two to tango,” Hollis said. “We can’t put all the responsibility on women. Men need to be responsible also… I do not believe that women should use abortion as birth control, but I do believe that if a woman is raped or if it’s incest or anything like that, then she has the choice to do what she wants to do.”
State Sen. Vivian Davis Figures, D-Mobile, tried to fight the abortion ban bill in an exactly opposite way last year by adding an amendment to the Human Life Protection Act by making it a felony for a man to have a vasectomy. Her amendment failed.
As Hollis’ bill will fail.
Though I understand it has an unusually high degree of support from doctors who perform vasectomies in Alabama.
Hollis’s bill raises some interesting freedom points.
Of course, it is a ridiculous notion that would be more likely to be found in the slave nation of China.
And it makes a potent argument for the Second Amendment.
If such a law were to pass, I would expect nearly every man in the State of Alabama – which is a big Second Amendment state – to get their guns and exercise the right to commit revolution.
Hollis’s bill – and for that matter, the abortion ban bill itself – which did pass – makes another argument, a potent one, for jury nullification.
The Argument for Jury Nullification
The true, original purpose of the jury is to protect the people from insane and tyrannical laws. The protection comes with the concept that if even one out of 12 .people on a jury oppose a law, then in the instant case the law is unenforceable.
The jury system was designed to do this, although most Americans do not understand the true purpose of this palladium of liberty.
The truth is that in the American Republic, the majority is not meant to rule.
The majority has the right to elect representatives who as a body will propose and pass laws.
However, and this is the real secret of liberty, while it only takes a majority of lawmakers to pass laws – a minority of 1/12th of the people have the right and duty to veto all laws against their conscience.
A jury cannot be punished for its verdict.
Its verdict of acquittal cannot be overturned by any judge in the land.
And no jury that is properly informed – i.e., that knows that it is the juror’s right and duty to nullify all laws that offend the conscience of the juror – will vote to acquit a defendant charged with a bad law regardless of the guilt of the defendant breaking the bad law.
Hung juries and outright acquittals would be the result of an insane vasectomy law and could be useful in the fight against the abortion ban in Alabama.
Hollis and others opposed to the ban should consider informing the Alabama public about jury nullification and use it as the best defense against the abortion ban.
No informed jury of 12 people taken at random – even in Alabama – would enforce a 99-year prison sentence on a physician who performed an abortion to a consenting adult woman.
At least one of the 12 members of the average jury – even in Alabama – if they were informed jurors – and understand that they have this right and understand also that the judge cannot punish them for their verdict – would hold out and hang the jury.
Then the doctor would not be jailed.
That is how the Fugitive Slave Law, Prohibition, anti-freedom of the press laws [sedition laws], and laws against witches were ultimately halted – hung juries.
Of course, if they got a hung jury in an abortion case, the prosecution could try the case again and again – and most likely at least one juror – if they were informed – and opposed putting a physician in prison for life for performing an abortion – would veto the law.
Remember it only takes one out of 12, and the willingness not to give in to the majority on the jury.
If they got enough hung juries, they could not enforce the law. Any law.
And that is precisely how it is supposed to work. The real crimes, murder, robbery, rape, etc., are universally supported.
Twelve out of 12 will support convictions. But the hazy laws – like marijuana or prostitution or anti-abortion – will usually have at least 1/12 of the public not in support of the law.
While I don’t personally support abortion, I support the right of the jury to insist it be not illegal.
Which could be the result in Alabama.
The majority is supposed to be able to propose laws but not enslave the minority. The jury is the safeguard, as intended by the framers of the constitution.
This is the whole purpose of requiring unanimity for juries in criminal cases. To offset tyrannical laws that the majority are sometimes known to impose on the minority.
Almost no one understands this today – that the whole purpose of the jury is to ward against crazy and oppressive laws by refusing to convict people who break such laws.