Inmates in White County, Tennessee, have been given the option to undergo a vasectomy in exchange for a shorter jail sentence.
Originally reported by News Channel 5, General Sessions Judge Sam Benningfield signed an order in May that would give prisoners a 30-day credit toward their sentence if they volunteer for the procedure, free of charge.
Additionally, women can get a birth control device called Nexplanon implanted into their arms, which can prevent pregnancies for up to four years.
So far, 32 women have already gotten the matchstick-sized Nexplanon implant embedded, and 38 men are awaiting sterilization.
Benningfield told reporters that he hopes the program will solve the problem of drug offenders not being able to pay child support. He also believes that it will lead to fewer children being born under the influence of drugs.
“I hope to encourage them to take personal responsibility and give them a chance, when they do get out, to not to be burdened with children. This gives them a chance to get on their feet and make something of themselves,” he said.
He also offered a two-day credit on inmates’ sentences if they complete a neonatal class that will educate them about the dangers of having children while using drugs.
But according to the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee, Benningfield’s program is unconstitutional.
“Such a choice violates the fundamental constitutional right to reproductive autonomy and bodily integrity by interfering with the intimate decision of whether and when to have a child, imposing an intrusive medical procedure on individuals who are not in a position to reject it,” the organization said in a statement.
According to a report by CBS News, Benningfield has been surprised by the criticism of his program, and said that he will reverse his order if mandated by a higher court.
Coincidentally, it was just discovered that men’s sperm counts have been steadily decreasing over the last 40 years.
In a study that was just released, researchers looked at the semen from 43,000 men who provided samples from 1973 to 2011.
In “Western” areas—North America, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand—they found that the total sperm count declined 1.6 percent, for an overall drop of 59 percent. This means that more men are meeting sperm count criteria for poor fertility or infertility, leading conception to become more difficult.