I realize that Monday’s post about anti-woman bills was rather the downer. As an apology, today I thought it might be time to highlight some more… positive legislation.
The Virginia legislature introduced a bill requiring women to have an ultrasound before having an abortion–in the majority of cases, one of the invasive transvaginal variety. State Sen. Janet Howell then proposed an amendment to the bill that would require that men get a rectal exam and a cardiac stress test before being allowed to take drugs to treat erectile dysfunction.
“We need some gender equity here,” [Howell] told HuffPost. “The Virginia senate is about to pass a bill that will require a woman to have totally unnecessary medical procedure at their cost and inconvenience. If we’re going to do that to women, why not do that to men?”
In Oklahoma, where legislators debated yet another personhood bill establishing life as beginning at conception and thus fetuses having more value and rights than the women carrying them, state Sen. Constance Johnson proposed an amendment that would protect the preborn from an even earlier stage. Her “Every Sperm Is Sacred” amendment would forbid men from ejaculating anywhere except into a woman’s vagina, otherwise being guilty of “an action against an unborn child.” Her amendment didn’t pass, alas–a sign that Oklahomans have no respect for the personhood of gametes.
Any action in which a man ejaculates or otherwise deposits semen anywhere but in a woman’s vagina shall be interpreted and construed as an action against an unborn child.
Johnson voluntarily withdrew her amendment, but she was followed by state Sen. Jim Wilson, who proposed an amendment requiring that fathers be held financially responsibility for the mother’s welfare–health care, housing, transportation, and nourishment–throughout the course of her enforced pregnancy. Wilson also has proposed a Master of Uteri as part of Oklahoma State’s animal husbandry program, as well as roadside IUD checks.
Last month, the city council of Wilmington, Delaware passed a resolution calling for personhood for eggs and sperm. Authored by councilwoman Loretta Walsh, the resolution states that “each ‘egg person’ and each ‘sperm person’ should be deemed equal in the eyes of the government and be subject to the same laws and regulations as any other dependent minor and be protected against abuse, neglect or abandonment by the parent or guardian.”
“I am standing up for women in this city, I am standing up for women in this state and I am standing up for women in this country,” Walsh said.
“What’s good for the gander is good for the goose[.]“
In Monday’s post, I noted the bill currently under debate in Georgia that would forbid abortion after 20 weeks (which is when fetuses can feel pain, according to Medical Science, except not). In response, state Rep. Yasmin Neal has authored a bill that would prevent men in Georgia from getting vasectomies, because if women are deprived of their right to choose, it only follows that men should be as well. And obviously Georgia has just established that what a person does with his or her reproductive organs is now the business of the General Assembly.
“Thousands of children are deprived of birth in this state every year because of the lack of state regulation over vasectomies,” said Rep. Yasmin Neal, author of the bill. “It is patently unfair that men can avoid unwanted fatherhood by presuming their judgment over such matters is more valid than the judgment of the General Assembly, while women’s ability to decide is constantly up for debate throughout the United States.”
House Minority Leader Stacy Abrams added, “The Republican attack on women’s reproductive rights is unconscionable. What is more deplorable is the hypocrisy of HB 954′s author. If we follow his logic, we believe it is the obligation of this General Assembly to assert an equally invasive state interest in the reproductive habits of men and substitute the will of the government over the will of adult men.”
The Florida state senate has been debating SB 290, an action-packed bill that would (among many other things) restrict a woman’s ability to get an abortion by imposing waiting periods, imposing unreasonable requirements for doctors who perform abortions, and outlawing third-trimester abortions altogether. (Exceptions for the life of the mother that had been written in were removed by the bill’s sponsor.) State Sen. Eleanor Sobel proposed no fewer than eight amendments to the bill, among them one protecting the health of the mother, one requiring that crisis pregnancy centers provide medically accurate information, and one regulating vasectomies and treatment for erectile dysfunction–requiring that the patient be thoroughly apprised of the risks of such treatment and imposing a 24-hour waiting period. Another amendment would require that CPCs be operated only by physicians who are trained in abortion procedures. The bill passed the panel without Sobel’s amendments coming to a vote, meaning she can re-introduce them if it comes to a vote in the general assembly.
“These amendments defend our rights, our privacy, and our liberty,” said Sen. Sobel. “Tallahassee needs to practice what they preach and stop reaching into the personal decisions we make about our bodies. We’re quite capable of making those decisions on our own.”
In response to Ohio‘s proposed “Heartbeat” bill outlawing abortion at any stage of development if a fetal heartbeat was detected, state Sen. Nina Turner proposed SB 307 requiring that a physician consult with a psychologist before prescribing erectile-dysfunction drugs to a patient and that the patient be given information about possible side effects of the drug and about the benefits of celibacy.
“The men in our lives, including members of the General Assembly, generously devote time to fundamental female reproductive issues. The least we can do is return the favor,” [Turner] said in a news release posted to her website. “By implementing more intensive screenings before prescribing the medication and requiring outpatient educational services, we can do more to prevent the potential side effects linked to PDE-5 inhibitors.”
In response to Illinois‘s proposed ultrasound bill, state Rep. Kelly Cassidy sponsored an amendment requiring men to watch a graphic video depicting the potential side effects of Viagra before receiving the drug.
“They need to see a visual depiction of the treatment for the most common side effect to Viagra use, which is priapism, and it’s not a pretty procedure to watch,” said Rep. Kelly Cassidy (D), who added that she is tired of politicians deciding that “women are incapable of making their own decisions.” “If we are going to do this, we need to do it in a way that is applied equally.”
Anyone else’s heart starting to feel a little warm?