TN Republican: Harder to Get a Vasectomy Than an Abortion

And here’s yet another example of why we really need to stop electing stupid people to public office. A Republican state senator in Tennessee said during a committee hearing that it’s a “lot more stringent process” for a man to get a vasectomy than a woman to get an abortion.

During a debate Tuesday night, Tennessee state Sen. Todd Gardenhire (R) told state legislators that it’s harder for men to get vasectomies than for women to get abortions. He knows, he said, from personal experience.

Gardenhire, however, acknowledged he only has experience with one of the procedures, though it is not the one he proposes making laws about. “Men go through a lot more stringent process for a vasectomy than women, I assume, go through for an abortion,” Gardenhire told the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“Having personal experience in that field and also having one reversed I want to promise you that when … you start talking to a doctor about them whacking on you down there, you want to wait a while and think about it,” he said.

This was during debate on a bill to require a 48 hour waiting period for a woman seeking an abortion. Is it really too much to ask that we stop putting these idiots in legislatures? Answer: Of course it is. They reflect a good portion of their constituents.

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  • comfychair

    Number of abortion clinics in Mississippi as of April 2015: One.

  • lofgren

    I guess it’s only tangentially related but when people start talking this way about women, women who are making one of the most significant choices of their lives, I can’t help but think “rape culture.” Both attitudes, that women can be raped without consequence and that women need laws to help them decide whether or not they want to be a mother to a baby right now, seem to be at least partially rooted in a notion thay women do not feel or think as deeply as men, like they ar just Chinese boxes who can be treated however we please without any regard for their humanity.

  • StevoR

    Sen. Todd Gardenhire (R) told state legislators that it’s harder for men to get vasectomies than for women to get abortions. He knows, he said, from personal experience.

    Wait, he’s had an abortion now -and a vasectomy?

    The words “personal experience” I do not think they mean what he says they do. (With apologies to Inigo Montoya and the Princess Bride.)

  • StevoR

    @2. lofgren : “they ar just Chinese boxes”

    Huh? Why “Chinese” – or boxes come to think of it?

  • Modusoperandi

    He’s right. It is much harder to get a vasectomy than an abortion. When I went to get mine, I first had to get a new doctor, because the current one couldn’t get admitting permissions to the nearest hospital. After that, I had to run through a gauntlet of protesters carrying signs of dismembered vas deferenses and alternating between pleading and pushing me away, several of whom took pictures of me, my wife and the plates on our car. Then, once I made it in to the clinic, I had to go through a mandatory urethral wanding. Then I had to sit while the doctor read a prepared statement about the consequences of vasectomies (many of which don’t actually happen). Then, in a moment of candor, he told me that he couldn’t do the most effective or safest procedure because the federal government had banned it. Then I had to leave, running the protester gauntlet again, wait for 48 hours, then come back through them again to actually get the procedure done. And, after all that, the door to the clinic was locked because it got shut down after the State legislative passed some TRVP (“Targeted Regulation of Vasectomy Providers”) laws.


    After going through all this, I learned a lot, gained empathy for others in similar situations, but continue to believe that you sluts have it easy!

  • dingojack

    Stevo – An example of Chinese Boxes or, if your prefer, Russian Dolls.

    Anything else with which you need help?


  • StevoR

    @ ^ dingojack : Ah, okay. I’ve heard of the Russian dolls before but not the Chinese boxes. Makes sense now. Thanks.

  • Modusoperandi
  • wreck

    The biggest hassle I had with getting a vasectomy was finding a local in-network doctor who would perform the procedure somewhere other than the local catholic run hospital, because they wouldn’t allow it there (every sperm is sacred, you know). Luckily there was an ambulatory surgery facility right across the street. Best $15 I ever spent though.

  • John Pieret

    harder for men to get vasectomies than for women to get abortions

    But, apparently, getting a lobotomy is easier than either of those.

  • dingojack

    No worries.

    :) Dingo

  • lola


    I love your spoof. 😉

  • tbp1

    My “stringent process” consisted of:

    1) Getting a referral from my doctor.

    2) Conferring with the surgeon and making an appointment for the surgery a few days later.

    3) Showing up for the surgery, which was done in his office.

    4) Going home to the prescribed “ice pack and a six pack.”

  • Scientismist

    Modus — Yeah, I was thinking of Searle’s Chinese room too. A refutation (if you accept Searle’s argument) for the possibility of “strong AI”, and which also might be seen as an excuse for diminishing or disregarding the humanity of the room’s occupant, fitting with lofgren’s usage @#2 above.

  • Gretchen

    What is the point of comparing these two things? And what exactly is a “stringent process”?

    And where did we get the idea that the more serious a decision is, the more legal hoops one should have to jump through to make it? Because arguably having a child is the most serious decision there has ever been, and yet people aren’t conceiving those in court.

  • jd142

    Nope, nope and nope. I guess it did take two visits, once for the doctor to see me and check me out and once for the actual surgery, but only because they don’t do walk-ins. I’ve had harder times getting a haircut. I didn’t have to drive hundreds of miles because there was only 1 clinic in the state; I wasn’t made to feel ashamed; and I certainly wasn’t called a murderer. The closest anyone came to questioning my decision was that the doctor asked me twice if I was really sure about it, but that was simply because I was under 25 and he wanted to make sure I knew it meant no kids ever.

  • arakasi

    To be fair, it was far harder for my wife to get her vasectomy than her abortion. The first dozen doctors she went to refused to perform the operation simply because of her gender.

    Fortunately, the People’s Front of Judea held a vote and agreed to support her right to a vasectomy, so everything’s good now.

  • jufulu

    @jd142 says

    That was pretty much my experience my experience, only I was 50 at the time and had to sign paperwork. I wonder if that was the law or just them being risk adverse.

  • Childermass

    Three possibilities: 1) He is full of it. 2) We need to make vasectomies much easier to get. 3) Both.

  • JustaTech

    I have a friend in Oklahoma who couldn’t find a doctor to do his vasectomy (because he was young and didn’t already have a dozen kids), so he went to … Planned Parenthood.

    Something tells me that would fry whatever brain cells this state senator possess.

  • lofgren

    I was indeed thinking of the Chinese room. Thank you to Modus for clarifying.

  • timgueguen

    The experience of JustaTech’s friend seems to be pretty common. I’ve heard quite a few stories of men and women who’ve had to go to great effort to get a vasectomy/tubal ligation because doctors think they’re too young, or that they haven’t had enough kids yet.

    Betcha Gardenhire opposes waiting periods for gun purchases.

  • Artor

    I had my first & only kid at 27, and got my vasectomy a week later. I would have had it earlier, but my wife insisted I wait until we could count fingers & toes. I love my kid, but I would have been happy to have the vasectomy 9 months earlier. It took a phone call, about 2 hrs of my day, (only 20 minutes of which was the procedure itself) and less than a week of mild discomfort. They sent me home with some painkillers, and I think I only took one. It was covered entirely by insurance, & I didn’t pay a penny out-of-pocket.

    I wish I still had insurance.

  • Michael Heath

    Another example why we should all avoid analogies in lieu of an actual argument that can stand without need of an analogy.

    I took the pledge a couple of years ago and am glad I did.

  • U Frood

    Yes, very complicated getting a vasectomy. I made an appointment to see the doctor, who discussed the procedure, and did a 10 second exam to make sure everything was ok. Then I made an appointment for the actual procedure, the doctor’s schedule was pretty full so there was a couple months between those. Then I went in, got it done and was out of the office.

    Whew, that was hard. If there was time pressure for some reason, I could have probably looked around more and found some place that wouldn’t make me wait, but I had no reason to hurry.

    Absolutely nobody tried to tell me “You don’t want to do this!”

  • gog

    Any urologist with access to a modest operating room can do a vasectomy in Tennessee. Any dude with insurance can probably get that done in about a week. There are no laws restricting access to the procedure. As for abortion, there’s a mandatory waiting period, counseling, and insurance companies are prohibited from covering the procedure.

    In other words, Gardenhire is a fucking liar. No points for guessing what Politifact would rate this one.