Monday, March 12, 2012
It's about time
Democratic Ohio state Sen. Nina Turner is the third female lawmaker to introduce a bill that would limit men's access to Viagra and other erectile dysfunction drugs to make a statement about the dozens of anti-abortion bills that have passed statehouses around the country over the last year.
Turner is opposed to a proposed bill that would prohibit abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detected, which can happen as early as six weeks into a pregnancy. The Dayton Daily News reports thatTurner's bill would mandate that men seeking Viagra be "tested for heart problems, receive counseling about possible side effects and receive information about 'pursuing celibacy as a viable lifestyle choice.'"
Turner said on MSNBC Monday that the bill is about showing "men as much love in the reproductive health arena as they have shown us over the years. My Senate Bill 307 is all about the love and making sure we look out for men's sexual health."
Rep. Lynn Wachtmann, the heartbeat bill's sponsor, told the Dayton Daily News that the comparison between Viagra and abortions isn't valid.
Turner is one of several female Democratic state lawmakers who are wielding the power of sarcasm to protest a wave of anti-abortion legislation.
In January, Virginia state Sen. Janet Howell introduced an amendment to the state's controversial ultrasound bill, which required women seeking abortions to first undergo a vaginal ultrasound. The amendment, which failed, said that all men seeking Viagra would have to first get a rectal exam. The ultrasound bill passed after Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell successfully requested that the vaginal ultrasound requirement be removed. Women seeking abortions will still have to receive an external ultrasound under the new bill.
Earlier this month, Illinois state Rep. Kelly Cassidy introduced an amendment to another bill that would require women to get ultrasounds before being allowed to get abortions. The amendmentmandated that men seeking Viagra watch a graphic video about the drug's potential side effects. "If they are serious about us not being able to make our own health care decisions, then I'm just as serious about them not being able to make theirs," she said.
Missouri state Rep. Stacey Newman, a Democrat, introduced legislation that would allow men to get vasectomies only if their life depended upon the procedure, which was similar to Georgia state Rep. Yasmin Neal's bill. "In determining whether a vasectomy is necessary, no regard shall be made to the desire of a man to father children, his economic situation, his age, the number of children he is currently responsible for, or any danger to his wife or partner in the event a child is conceived," the tongue-in-cheek Missouri bill reads.
According to the abortion rights group the Guttmacher Institute, a record-breaking 92 new abortion-restricting laws were passed in 2011. Two of those laws mandated that women have ultrasounds and look at the images before being allowed to get an abortion.
Isn't it about time.
I agree there are many other pressing matters in congress that should be taking the stage. I do admit, though, I am happy to see that there are women in Washington that I can agree with. I can't help but think this is all a big smoke screen covering up the bigger issues in the US and around the world. Sort of a "slight of hand" grabbing all of our attention while the government is slipping the people a mickey, and we are too preoccupied with our daily lives and struggles to notice. God bless America.