Because those poor little men can’t be trusted to make their own decisions

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?

This entry was posted in Law, Pregnancy, Reproductive Rights and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

94 Responses to Because those poor little men can’t be trusted to make their own decisions

  1. A mandatory graphic video on the side effects of Viagra. That’s funny.

    But what’s the rejoinder to the latest anti-choice law they just past down in Arkansas?:

  2. Hey, something happened the that link. What I wanted to know, in my post above, was how should we respond to this?:

    (Hopefully the link will show this time.)

  3. Antonia says:

    Fantastic article! Women are fighting back!

  4. Nahida says:

    I don’t feel this is hard enough. If only it were more than just Viagra.

  5. emily says:

    @ Miguel

    We should laugh, because it’s an Onion article. The Onion is satire.

    /Poe’s Law

  6. EG says:

    I adore each and every one of these legislators.

  7. Angie unduplicated says:

    Hasn’t anyone introduced vasectomies as a requirement for male legislators? I really, really don’t want those guys reproducing.
    Jim Wilson, though, is far better than OK and deserves his own exemption.
    Seriously, if only ugly girl babies could be aborted, these Christian scuzzbags would be all in favor of abortion.

  8. Dibbit says:

    I don’t know…. This seems to be a response to the idea that it’s men that are attacking women’s rights, while I get the impression that it’s a very specific group that’s… well.. viciously attacking women’s rights.

    And it’s not like this group is “hurray for the menz!” or something, I grew up under them, and “every sperm is sacred” is not just a Monty Python sketch to them.
    Confession to the “sin” of “spilling your seed” earned a quite harsh punishment:
    You had to put the palms of your hand on the school-table, and the head-nun (don’t know the English word, sorry) would hit them with an long ruler. (plus of course, all the other abuses that have only come to light in the last years. None of which happened at my school, it was an “enlightened” school)
    If you did it involuntarily, the punishment would be lighter if you confessed to being a wretched human being unworthy of love.

    I am firmly opposed to returning to these dark times, but many feel differently, and they’re only being made stronger with these internal squabbles between us.

    It might make women feel good to also put forth draconian measures against men, but in this case, I feel that the wrong target is being lashed out against.

  9. Stephanie says:

    Dibbit:

    Except that that is actually the point. It brings up the ludicrous problems with these broadband attempts to limit and remove the right to choose. A lot of men had been pretty meh about the whole thing. ‘What does that have to do with me?’ The point is not ‘lashing out’, this is theatre of the absurd; pointing out that when these laws are changed in nothing but gendered intent, they show themselves clearly as the patronizing, big government things that they are.

    These women are not doing it to ‘feel good’ as you put it; they are doing it to make a valid point about medical care being interfered with by government.

  10. EG says:

    This isn’t lashing out. This is political theater. It has nothing to do with revenge or targets. It has to do with making it clear that our government and society would never accept the kind of impositions on men’s bodily autonomy and health needs that they’re all too willing to inflict on women.

    None of these amendments will pass. You don’t have to worry about the men.

  11. Dibbit says:

    I’m not worried about the men per se,
    I’m worried about power-hungry individuals taking control of American legislation and abusing it for their own jollies.
    Being able to dictate sexual mores and what you can do with your own body is an expression of that power, and of course very satisfying for those kinds of people.

    They have successfully attacked a vulnerable political group. (Although hopefully, it’ll turn out that this group is not as vulnerable as they think, just a bit caught off guard)
    Now ideally, we must stop that and reverse the poison they’re spreading.

    I’m not so convinced that society would never accept these kind of impositions if men were the target: This is all about control, not so much about the gender of those controlled.

    Well, it probably is also about the gender, in that even today it’s easier to suppress and control women then it is men. But in the end that’ll just mean it’ll take slightly longer for men to also suffer from these things.
    (Also, probably abit lighter suffering for men, I don’t know how exactly the girls were treated, but it’s a pretty safe assumption to say “probably worse”)

  12. Blah says:

    You do realize that these feminist “statements” the legislators keep trying to make are COSTING TAXPAYERS MONEY.

    That’s not helping the problem, it’s ADDING TO IT. I know you’re probably quite fond of these O-HO! moments, but it’s not helpful.

    Sending up bills that are destined to fail just cost the taxpayers money, for nothing, just to make statements. If a rep. wants to make a statement about an already-existing bill, they need to make a statement ABOUT THAT BILL. Not firing another one off, and wasting time and money.

    It’s just the wrong way to go about it. It just shows that even politicians who you think are “on your side”, really don’t care about YOU, specifically, they just care about what they want.

    That said, really, the “birth control/viagra” analogies need to stop. They’re not the same thing, it’s apples and oranges.

    You do yourselves no justice by trying to compare them, or by treating viagra as this “lol bunch of 70 year old perverts wanting to get laid, gross!” drug.

    For the most part, the people on viagra have legitimate issues with the function of their junk. If a 30 year old man wants to have sex with his spouse/lover/girlfriend/boyfriend/SO/whatever, and is incapable of it, that doesn’t just affect him, that affects her/him/it/they/whatever. It’s a pill meant to correct something that does not work correctly.

    At it’s core, BC is a pill meant to break something that IS working correctly. Yes, I know some people have to take it for reasons other than actual birth control, but the vast majority do not.

    (I know the language there is harsh, but that’s basically the gist, as far as I see it. Take something to interrupt a bodily process that’s functioning correctly.)

    Just because they both center around genitals doesn’t mean it’s the right analogy. Put it up on it’s own merits, endlessly comparing it to something it can’t compare to doesn’t make a strong case.

    To come back around, they can announce to the press that they’re (facetiously) pursuing a bill such as this, but actually introducing it does nothing but burn up the money of the taxpayers, and to paraphrase Treebeard, “A progressive should know better.”

    • Stephanie says:

      Sending up bills that are destined to fail just cost the taxpayers money, for nothing, just to make statements. If a rep. wants to make a statement about an already-existing bill, they need to make a statement ABOUT THAT BILL. Not firing another one off, and wasting time and money.

      That would be nice. Except of course, when women are told they have nothing to contribute to the conversation about restricting birth control, and their testimony is rejected beforehand. When Amendments are added to these bills (reasonable ones! Like asking that all medical statements made by doctors be medically backed up, not based on religious beliefs), when women are restricted from statements on the floor because talk about the bills have gone on too long, and even THOUGH it was men who talked for half an hour earlier, all floor comments are now limited to 5 minutes….

      Oddly enough, what WORKS, and what has you (yes, you) talking about this is the male-restrictive political theatre proposals. Because they are NOT LETTING US TALK ABOUT IT, you nitwit. They are making these female controlling laws, and then coming up with reasons why we are not qualified to discuss our own bodies.

      But your world where men introducing these bills is not a waste of time and women introducing them is wasting taxpayers money seems like a lovely little bubble. Have fun!

  13. Aydan says:

    @ Nahida:

    My brain must have woken up on the silly side of the bed this morning, because I keep reading your comment as referring to… something besides legislation.

    I’m looking forward to seeing if any bill like this comes out of Arizona in response to the birth control stuff going on there.

  14. Blah says:

    Sigh.

    Hence why I said ADDING TO THE PROBLEM.

    Two wrongs =/= one right.

    Not mutually exclusive things. If the first bill is a waste of time, that doesn’t mean the second one isn’t. If the second one is a waste of time, that doesn’t mean the first one isn’t!

    Why is this hard to understand?

  15. Stephanie says:

    Good on you for ignoring all the places where I pointed out the ways in which we women have been kept from doing what you told us that we should be doing.

    These bills happened because they were intentionally excluding us from the discussion. But that does not fit with your narrative, and you ignored it in your initial post, and you ignored it in your reply, and so this is not a discussion, it is you telling the woman why she does not understand, and I am out.

  16. Caperton says:

    You do realize that these feminist “statements” the legislators keep trying to make are COSTING TAXPAYERS MONEY.

    And these bills that are declaring governmental open season on women’s bodies and dictating our health options based not on any medical expertise but on some complete stranger’s arbitrarily assigned “morals”–those aren’t COSTING TAXPAYERS MONEY? As a taxpayer, I’d much rather pay for legislation that makes a statement about reproductive rights than for legislation that literally calls for governmental intrusion up the hoo-hah.

    And the reps are making statements ABOUT THAT BILL. Their statements are, “When you turn these restrictions around and apply them to the entire population, suddenly they’re seen as ridiculous and intrusive and unfair–just like the restrictions placed just on women through this bill.”

    For the most part, the people on viagra have legitimate issues with the function of their junk. If a 30 year old man wants to have sex with his spouse/lover/girlfriend/boyfriend/SO/whatever, and is incapable of it, that doesn’t just affect him, that affects him/her/it [Classy. -C]/they/whatever. It’s a pill meant to correct something that doesn’t work correctly.

    At it’s core, BC is a pill meant to break something that IS working correctly.

    False. As I do not want to have babies, my uterus is working correctly when it doesn’t have babies in it. If the only way to have sex with my boyfriend is to accept the possibility of getting a baby in my uterus–and not having the ability to take it out–then I’m not likely to have sex with him, which does, in fact, affect both of us. Not to mention the fact that my being forced to have a baby I don’t want is both more traumatic to me and more expensive for society than any man’s inability to pop a boner. Just because your opinion of my reproductive organs is that they’re only working correctly if they’re in baby-making condition doesn’t mean that’s the case. I believe I established above that I want to be the only person making decisions about my body.

    To come back around, they can announce to the press that they’re (facetiously) pursuing a bill such as this, but actually introducing it does nothing but burn up the money of the taxpayers, and to paraphrase Treebeard, “A progressive should know better.”

    Well, the original bills aren’t being proposed (facetiously), even though they’re basically only there to send the message to women that all our bodies are belong to them. They don’t care about our health, they don’t care about our informed consent–they care about making it embarrassing and emotionally scarring and logistically impossible to get an abortion so we won’t do it. That’s a message. And if they’re going to waste taxpayer dollars on that, it only makes sense that we should waste them right back.

  17. Blah says:

    Stephanie, when have I said “what you women should be doing”?

    I’m speaking of representatives/legislators/whatever. Not “commenters on a blog article”.

    My point still stands. Introducing wastes of time to combat wastes of time JUST WASTES TIME. Also money.

    If they want the bills stopped, they have the power to stop them. With their votes. That’s how the government here works. Introducing junk bills to make a point doesn’t do anything except get a quickly killed bill onto the floor, and cost the taxpayers money while it gets voted down.

    Caperton, I already said it once, and I’ll say it again:

    Two wrongs =/= one right.

    Not mutually exclusive things. If the first bill is a waste of time, that doesn’t mean the second one isn’t. If the second one is a waste of time, that doesn’t mean the first one isn’t!

    Not false. From a biological standpoint. Your personal wants don’t really have an affect on what works biologically.

    If a male was asexual, and couldn’t get it up, it still means his penis is not functioning correctly, even though he doesn’t want to use it. Follow?

    Just because your opinion of my reproductive organs is that they’re only working correctly if they’re in baby-making condition doesn’t mean that’s the case. I believe I established above that I want to be the only person making decisions about my body.

    Take it up with evolution, not me. Evolution decided that, not your social standpoint, nor mine, nor anyone else’s.

    Fact remains, taking a pill to convince your body that it’s already pregnant so you can’t GET pregnant is altering a normal function to make it operate incorrectly. It doesn’t matter if the end result is desirable to you, it’s still basically breaking something. It’s broken in a way you want it to be, but it’s still borked.

    You can’t really lay emotionally charged claims on basic biology and science.

    I mean, to use a different analogy, the purpose of the ear is to channel sound into the eardrum and then transmit that to the brain. If you’re deaf, your ears/eardrums are not functioning correctly.

    To a segment of the deaf community, this is not the case. They have a belief that deafness is not a lack of function. They, like you, are perfectly allowed to hold their opinions, but from a simple scientific view, you’re both wrong.

    I’ve never understood the rebellion against science. It’s very odd. Right wing fringe lunatics are anti-science, but then if you get too far left, you run right back into the anti-science again. Why?

    Well, the original bills aren’t being proposed (facetiously), even though they’re basically only there to send the message to women that all our bodies are belong to them. They don’t care about our health, they don’t care about our informed consent–they care about making it embarrassing and emotionally scarring and logistically impossible to get an abortion so we won’t do it. That’s a message. And if they’re going to waste taxpayer dollars on that, it only makes sense that we should waste them right back.

    That’s a ridiculous thing to say. Two wrongs, again, do not make a right.

    That’s essentially “But, but, MOM! He started it!” Doesn’t matter who started it, don’t continue to make the problem worse.

    You’re supposed to be the bigger person, the better one. You’re supposed to be above that sort of petty, empty pandering.

    They should be fighting it with a vote, campaigning, getting people motivated to run to unseat the people who introduce these bills in the first place.

    Just making gag bills that get knocked down doesn’t do that. It leaves the assholes who introduced the original bill in their seat, free to do it again.

  18. S.H. says:

    For the most part, the people on viagra have legitimate issues with the function of their junk. If a 30 year old man wants to have sex with his spouse/lover/girlfriend/boyfriend/SO/whatever, and is incapable of it, that doesn’t just affect him, that affects her/him/it/they/whatever. It’s a pill meant to correct something that does not work correctly

    Actually, The Ohio amendment came on the heels of the FDA’s recommendation that “the evaluation of erectile dysfunction should include a determination of potential underlying causes and the identification of appropriate treatment following a complete medical assessment.” Alas, this amendment actually has far more legitimacy than any anti-choice legislation to date.

    Yes, I know some people have to take it for reasons other than actual birth control, but the vast majority do not.

    Wrong again. Only 42%of U.S. women use BC exclusively for pregnancy prevention.

    But hey don’t let actual facts get in the way of your lecture and FUN WITH CAPS!

  19. Caperton says:

    First of all, what is this crap about two wrongs not making a right? Two wrongs totally make a right, if you use them properly. That’s where self-defense laws come from: the understanding that if you’re being threatened, sometimes you have to do bad things to protect yourself. Now, I don’t see why taking the time I’ve been accorded by my position as legislator to make a vivid statement about an anti-woman bill constitutes a “bad thing,” but you seem to be hung up on that, so there you go.

    Why is it the women who are expected to “be the bigger person”? Please try to understand what you’re saying: You’re saying that the right thing would be for these legislators to voluntarily give up what’s basically their only opportunity to send a message and have an impact on the discussion of this anti-woman legislation, because so much time has already been wasted already. They don’t get to have what’s theirs because someone has already come before them and taken too much.

    They should be fighting it with a vote, campaigning, getting people motivated to run to unseat the people who introduce these bills in the first place.

    What do you think they’re doing with these proposed amendments? You can’t fight a bill with one vote. You have to fight it with everyone’s vote, and that means making statements to your colleagues and trying to convince them that the original bill is ridiculous. And if listing the reasons that the bill is ridiculous doesn’t do it, you make a clear comparison. “What if we did this to everyone, and not just women, huh? Do you see how fucking ridiculous it is? Do you see how stupid it would be to vote for this bill?” And, “Constituents, do you see how your elected representatives are trying to push anti-woman legislation? Are these people you really want to vote for?” And if that means taking up some time during the legislative session, so be it. That’s how bills get made–you make your point, I make my point, and everyone votes. Except you’re saying I don’t get to make my point, because you don’t like the way I’m making it.

    That taxpayer money is mine, too, and they’re using it to defend my rights, which is what I elected them for in the first place. You say they’re wasting your time; I say they’re doing their job.

  20. Past my expiration date says:

    taking a pill to convince your body that it’s already pregnant so you can’t GET pregnant

    That is not how it works. (Speaking of “basic biology and science”.)

  21. PrettyAmiable says:

    Excuse me, but amendments designed to protect me from harmful legislations are not a waste of my taxpayer money. Thanks anyway, dumbass.

  22. Blah says:

    First of all, what is this crap about two wrongs not making a right? Two wrongs totally make a right, if you use them properly. That’s where self-defense laws come from: the understanding that if you’re being threatened, sometimes you have to do bad things to protect yourself. Now, I don’t see why taking the time I’ve been accorded by my position as legislator to make a vivid statement about an anti-woman bill constitutes a “bad thing,” but you seem to be hung up on that, so there you go.

    Fuzzy logic, really. Self defense isn’t a wrong. It is the defense of self or another who cannot defend themselves. What you do in that respect isn’t “wrong”. Even the bible-thumpers agree there, that the rules of “murder” do not apply in war/self defense/etcetera.

    You can make vivid statements all day long, but when you drop bills onto the floor that have to be voted down, each second you spend on that, is tax dollars that could be doing something constructive, instead of introducing a bill that has the sole purpose of being knocked down.

    That logic is more of the line of “Killing for life!” and “f**king for virginity”. If you steal my car, and I sneak over and steal yours, we’re both still wrong.

    If you steal my car, and I report it to the authorities, and the proper actions are taken through the proper channels, then I’m right, you’re wrong, I’m the better person for it.

    Do you see what I’m getting at here? Proceeding in the way of gag bills is, for lack of a better word, petty. We, you, progressives in general, should be better than that!

    It’s like the various US soldiers that think that since the “enemy” tortures and kills, that it’s okay for them to do it, too. It’s not. We’re supposed to be better than that. I know that’s an extreme analogy, but it’s the best one I had off the top of my head.

    Just because they did it, doesn’t mean we have to, too.

    Why is it the women who are expected to “be the bigger person”? Please try to understand what you’re saying: You’re saying that the right thing would be for these legislators to voluntarily give up what’s basically their only opportunity to send a message and have an impact on the discussion of this anti-woman legislation, because so much time has already been wasted already. They don’t get to have what’s theirs because someone has already come before them and taken too much.

    Not just women. Any progressive, anyone who opposes this shit, really. We shouldn’t be lowering ourselves to their level, not even to prove a point. Blah blah, stare too long into the darkness, etcetera. Don’t be what you’re fighting. We HAVE to be better than they are. That’s my entire point, really. The higher we hold ourselves above them, the more foolish they look.

    To make ourselves look just as foolish achieves nothing but harming credibility.

    Not to mention it gives the fringe lunatics ammunition. Yes, you and I know it’s a gag bill, meant to prove a point. If Rush takes it to the airwaves, do you really think Jim-bob and Mary-beth Trailer, living in south Alabama will know that? If it’s presented to them as fact, they’ll just think it’s “them thar evil lib’rulz”.

    Have to, HAVE TO be better than that.

    What do you think they’re doing with these proposed amendments? You can’t fight a bill with one vote. You have to fight it with everyone’s vote, and that means making statements to your colleagues and trying to convince them that the original bill is ridiculous.

    Which is what the press is for, and all that. Or, when you stand up to make a statement on the bill, speak your piece without having to introduce yet another bill to do it.

    It’s like frivolous lawsuits. Sure, you make a statement, but in the end, everyone just had their time wasted, and that’s about it.

    You’re allowed to make your point, but again, introducing yet another bill to do it is the wrong way to go about it. Last time I looked at C-SPAN, I’m pretty certain people talked ad infintium about everything, without having to introduce new bills every time someone wanted to be recognized and speak.

  23. Caperton says:

    Yes, you and I know it’s a gag bill, meant to prove a point. If Rush takes it to the airwaves, do you really think Jim-bob and Mary-beth Trailer, living in south Alabama will know that? If it’s presented to them as fact, they’ll just think it’s “them thar evil lib’rulz”.

    Fuck your classist bullshit. Jesus Christ, I don’t even have the energy.

  24. Aydan says:

    Not false. From a biological standpoint. Your personal wants don’t really have an affect on what works biologically.

    If a male was asexual, and couldn’t get it up, it still means his penis is not functioning correctly, even though he doesn’t want to use it. Follow?

    Er. Neither impotence nor not wanting to have sex are asexuality. Asexuality = not experiencing sexual attraction.

    Take it up with evolution, not me. Evolution decided that, not your social standpoint, nor mine, nor anyone else’s.

    Fact remains, taking a pill to convince your body that it’s already pregnant so you can’t GET pregnant is altering a normal function to make it operate incorrectly. It doesn’t matter if the end result is desirable to you, it’s still basically breaking something. It’s broken in a way you want it to be, but it’s still borked.

    You can’t really lay emotionally charged claims on basic biology and science.

    Oh, hey! So, as it happens, I’m a scientist… in fact, I’m a biologist. And talking about “normal” and “broken” in terms of biological function is pretty silly. Normal is fairly meaningless. You can have what’s frequent, you can have what’s healthy, you can have what maximizes the fitness of an organism… those three things are not necessarily equivalent, and none of them are “normal.” For example, some bedbugs reproduce by the male stabbing the female in various body parts in order to inseminate her. Is this frequent? Yes. Is it healthy? Not for the female! Does it maximize the fitness of the organism? It does for the male, not for the female. Is this “normal”? That’s a meaningless question.

    Is human women being able to conceive frequent? Sometimes; most women can’t conceive after a certain age, and many cannot readily conceive for whatever reason. Is it healthy? Frequently not; pregnancy can be very dangerous. Does it maximize the fitness of the organism (which is a loaded question to apply to humans, and I’m not saying it’s a question we should actually ask)? Again, frequently not. Is it “normal”? Again, it’s a meaningless question.

    If you want to take that argument to its logical end, you would have to argue that populations with higher fertility rates, say, absent the use of contraceptives, were more “normal” than others. This is, of course, silly. Oh– and trying to run human society by the “dictates” of evolution has been done before. They called it eugenics. There’s a reason we decided that was a horrible idea.

  25. Aydan says:

    I crossposted with the latest couple of comments… I don’t have much interest arguing with someone who’s apparently classist and ableist as well.

  26. coloradosal says:

    do you really think Jim-bob and Mary-beth Trailer, living in south Alabama will know that? If it’s presented to them as fact, they’ll just think it’s “them thar evil lib’rulz”.

    Really? Aside from being terribly elitist, is that how you see Rush listeners? Because I can assure you there wealthy, well-educated people who listen to him too. There are even educated people living in trailers in Alabama (and other parts of the US), hard as they may be for you to believe.

    Regarding introducing bills… One problem is that the opposition isn’t being given the opportunity to speak at length on state house floors. Introducing a new bill is sometimes the only way they have to get to voice their position fully. Last time I watched C-SPAN they weren’t covering all the state houses. If coming up with something extreme is the only way to point out that the original legislation is also extreme, then I have no problem with it. I want my representatives to have the chance to stand up and point out that things are crazy.

  27. Emolee says:

    That taxpayer money is mine, too,

    YES. I am so sick of the false assumption being thrown around in rhetoric that the taxpayers/insurance premium payers and women/people with uteri/people who want reproductive freedom are mutually exclusive groups.

    I think these bills are excellent- not in the sense that I would want most of them to become law- but in the sense that they do an excellent job highlighting the misogyny behind the original anti-choice bills.

  28. roro80 says:

    Why is this hard to understand?

    Obviously, Blah, it’s because we’re stupid laydeez with stupid laydeebrainz. So THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR EXPLAINING ALL THAT TO US, because we never would have known what birth control was for otherwise. Even though many of us have been taking it for many, many years. Also: OMGTAXES ARE BEING USED FOR OUR REPRESENTATIVES TO DISCUSS POLICY SOMEBODY THINK OF THE TAXES.

  29. Blah says:

    Er. Neither impotence nor not wanting to have sex are asexuality. Asexuality = not experiencing sexual attraction.

    Pay attention, I hate repeating myself. If you read, you clearly see I said if he was BOTH ASEXUAL AND IMPOTENT.

    Thus my statement where I said his penis still isn’t functioning right, despite the fact that he doesn’t want to use it. His lack of interest in it’s use doesn’t change that it doesn’t work right.

    You can argue about bedbugs all day long, but we’re not bedbugs. There’s a certain baseline when it comes to humans. Sight = eyes working correctly. Blindness = eyes working incorrectly. Sure, there’s lots of people with both going on, but one could reasonably say that function ocular organs = normal, or at least, biologically intended. We wouldn’t have evolved them if they weren’t supposed to work.

    The fact that some things don’t work in some people doesn’t change that fact.

    Other than that, I don’t really feel like responding to you. If you can’t do the basic task of actually reading what I said, and instead responding in a reactionary fashion, then I don’t see the point in bothering any further.

    I can assume you’ll just do the same with anything else I say to you.

  30. Emolee says:

    the “birth control/viagra” analogies need to stop. They’re not the same thing, it’s apples and oranges.

    They are not the same drug (obviously), and almost no analogies are perfect, but this one works very well when opponents of birth control coverage say that providing birth control amounts to paying for women to have sex. Viagra literally enables men to have sex, so coverage of Viagra, under their silly logic, would be paying men to have sex.

  31. roro80 says:

    Oh, I almost missed how awesome Blah is at OMGBIOLOGY. Thank goodness, really, that we have a man around to explain the hard stuff to us silly ladies. My uterus makes me too stupid. So again, THANK YOU for being so logical and manly and smart when we are hysterical and dumb.

  32. Ledasmom says:

    (asks plaintively:) Is it really too much to ask that our classist, ableist trolls should at least be capable of using phrases to mean what they actually mean? Blah, fuzzy logic does not mean what you think it means.
    I also wonder what useful thing it is that you think the Oklahoma legislature would have been doing, had it not been forced to waste its ever-so-valuable time on Senators Johnson and Wilson’s amendments. That they were actually debating another garbage personhood measure does not give me confidence that they would have been creating world peace.
    I also note that, when a guy’s body does something the guy doesn’t like, there don’t appear to be many people complaining that changing the situation is against nature. For all we know, there’s some useful evolutionary purpose to guy’s junk not working well in age, and now we’ll never know what it is.

  33. Caperton says:

    Oh, and in case I haven’t made myself clear: I don’t give two shits about these legislators “doing the right thing,” “being the bigger person,” perpetuating cycles, wasting money, playing fair, or anything about geese and ganders, because they’re doing what they have to to protect women. Women with bodies and lives and families and responsibilities and health and happiness (which is also important). It’s not fetuses and rules–it’s real, grown people. If protecting me means being clever and bold and standing up and wasting some taxpayer money and drawing attention, that’s fine by me, because it’s my money and my life. I don’t care if it’s nice or nasty–I care if it’s effective. And anyone who would rather see representatives “be the bigger person” and call press conferences and lobby politely for votes and not take up any more space or time than they’re supposed to obviously doesn’t have any skin in this game.

  34. Stephanie says:

    Other than that, I don’t really feel like responding to you. If you can’t do the basic task of actually reading what I said, and instead responding in a reactionary fashion, then I don’t see the point in bothering any further.

    I know I said I was not going to say anything else, but wow.

    BWAH HAH HAH HAHA HAHAHA.

    *snort*

    *wipes tears out of eyes*

    Ok, better now. Sorta.

  35. DoublyLinkedLists says:

    @roro80
    You’re comment had me laughing out loud.

    @blah
    “This is not about men or women its about power”
    You are incredibly wrong. It’s not even a matter of opinion because regardless of how you feel about these issues, they are obviously about gender because, duh, the legislation talks about gender. So why don’t you go look for a clue, and when you find it I will still be here ready to accept your apology for being such a dumbass.

    I find the idea of forcing men who are prescribed viagra to watch videos of surgical correction of priapism to be an especially inspired bit of genius. It hits home in both the “ewwww! Gay!” part of having to look at erections, it would probably cause actual sympathetic pain, and it might stop all the stupid fucking jokes about “hurr durr If I had an erection lasting 4 hours I would throw a party with a lotta women if you know what I mean hurr durr”

    No. You would get a needle stuck in your dick so the blood could be drained out before it clotted and your penis had to be removed completely.

  36. Blah says:

    Oh, I almost missed how awesome Blah is at OMGBIOLOGY. Thank goodness, really, that we have a man around to explain the hard stuff to us silly ladies. My uterus makes me too stupid. So again, THANK YOU for being so logical and manly and smart when we are hysterical and dumb.

    Oh, look at who’s a sexist. That’s pretty poor feminism, I’d say, when my gender has NEVER BEEN GIVEN TO YOU IN THIS TOPIC, to go ahead and assume “I’ve been disagreed with, after a fashion, this person must be TEH EBUL MENZ”.

    http://www.feministe.us/blog/archives/2012/03/09/how-to-be-a-good-friend/#comment-444738

    MUST BE MISCARRYING OUT OF MY FUCKING DICK, RIGHT?

    Ugh.

    (asks plaintively:) Is it really too much to ask that our classist, ableist trolls should at least be capable of using phrases to mean what they actually mean?

    What precisely have I said that’s “ableist”?

    Please, go ahead and tell me, I’m curious.

    I also note that, when a guy’s body does something the guy doesn’t like, there don’t appear to be many people complaining that changing the situation is against nature. For all we know, there’s some useful evolutionary purpose to guy’s junk not working well in age, and now we’ll never know what it is.

    Look, I can call “isms”, too! Ageism!

    I would say it’s fairly ageist to assume the only people taking viagra are gross old perverts, wouldn’t you? It’s sort of like… assuming the only women on birth control are sluts. Funny how similar that is.

  37. Ledasmom says:

    Gee, you’re right, it’s exactly the same thing, except that statistically speaking it is true that older men are more likely to be impotent, and there is no actual scientific definition of “slut”. Except for those facts, it’s just precisely the same thing.
    Also, it’s interesting how you equate “older man who wants to have sex” with “gross pervert”. Personally, I think that wanting to be sexually active (whether with a consenting partner or no partner atall), is a perfectly understandable desire that we should treat the same way as other perfectly understandable desires. How about you?

  38. roro80 says:

    “That’s pretty poor feminism”

    OMG THANK YOU FOR TELLING ME HOW TO DO FEMINISM I STUPID YOU SMART

  39. JBS says:

    Is it really that expensive to write up a silly, point-making proposal?

  40. Ledasmom says:

    I know, right? Whatever would we do without Blah to let us know when we’re doing feminism wrong?

  41. Anon21 says:

    Blah: I guess I’m just wondering who appointed you Czar of Biological Normalcy? A man who is experiencing impotence may be functioning just fine. Maybe it’s his body’s way of “telling him” that he is not in proper physical shape to engage in a sometimes physically taxing activity like sex. Maybe it’s his body’s way of protecting him from some of the dangers of STIs. Conversely, we can certainly look at unwanted pregnancies as a medical condition requiring prevention or cure.

    Basically, you don’t make the rules. Bodies just do things, and humans do other things to make bodies function more the way they prefer, and none of it is “functional” or “normal” in any absolute sense just because you say so.

  42. Katya says:

    How it is more expensive? Legislators are paid a salary, not by the bill. And frankly, I want my elected representatives to fight this crap with whatever legal weapon they have at hand. The opposition is not being given the opportunity to speak fully on these issues. Using protest bills to point out how ridiculous this anti-woman legislation is seems a perfectly legitimate tactic to me. If it’s effective (meaning the bad bills don’t get passed, I think they should keep doing it. If it’s not, they should try something else.

    And frankly, people who listen to Rush Limbaugh are not going to come around on these issues anyway, so I don’t really care how it plays to that audience. I care how real women are affected by really pernicious legislation.

  43. Adaquinn says:

    Okay. So now are we saying that people shouldn’t have immunizations? Because you know that’s altering the body from working properly and fighting off infection on its own?

    Should we not allow prescriptions for cholesterol? After all it’s a chemical that the body makes naturally.

    By saying that birth control is something that ‘breaks’ the body is saying that any medicine that changes the ‘natural’ state shouldn’t be used. Vasectomies shouldn’t be allowed. People shouldn’t travel faster than they can walk and maybe we should all go back to living in caves. Since that’s more how our species is ‘meant’ to live.

  44. librarygoose says:

    If you steal my car, and I report it to the authorities, and the proper actions are taken through the proper channels, then I’m right, you’re wrong, I’m the better person for it.

    Now what if you find your car and the police chief had stolen it? What if the highest power to return your car to you was sitting in the drivers seat going through your shit in the glove box? Then when you ask for your car back this person demands that you take drivers ed. (because you let your car get stolen, how stupid of you.) and then forces you to carpool for the local little league team. Obviously, your car has more than one seat, how are you driving around by yourself? Cars are meant to carry people. So, put some people in there you lazy asshole.

  45. Joe from an alternate universe says:

    This isn’t lashing out. This is political theater. It has nothing to do with revenge or targets. It has to do with making it clear that our government and society would never accept the kind of impositions on men’s bodily autonomy and health needs that they’re all too willing to inflict on women.

    None of these amendments will pass. You don’t have to worry about the men.

    E.G.,

    Mostly true, if the treatments for men are paid for. Currently, Medicare does not pay for Viagra.

    In the U.K., the NHS only pays for two pills a month and a man has to demostrate he’s diabetic. We can just pay for half or less of the birth control pills need by a woman ever month.

    Actually, The Ohio amendment came on the heels of the FDA’s recommendation that “the evaluation of erectile dysfunction should include a determination of potential underlying causes and the identification of appropriate treatment following a complete medical assessment.” Alas, this amendment actually has far more legitimacy than any anti-choice legislation to date.

    S.H.,

    This could be used as a reason not to prescribe medication or treat the condition.

    Looking at what’s going on in the U.K, I’m very afraid of the government, FDA or “health panels”, telling me the treatments I can have.

    Thousands of Canadians come here every year for tests and treatments denied there. Where can we go?

  46. Joe from an alternate universe says:

    We can just pay for half or less of the birth control pills need by a woman ever month.

    I missed-phrased this. I meant to say, “Can we just pay for half or less of the birth control pills needed by a woman every month?”

  47. Caperton says:

    Fuzzy logic, really. Self defense isn’t a wrong. It is the defense of self or another who cannot defend themselves. What you do in that respect isn’t “wrong”. Even the bible-thumpers agree there, that the rules of “murder” do not apply in war/self defense/etcetera.

    That’s actually my point. In almost any other situation–even in a bar, with someone who was “totally asking for it”–beating the crap out of a person is unacceptable and wrong. But society has decided that under certain circumstances, when you have to do it to defend yourself, it’s excusable. If you’re in danger, and you’ve tried doing all the “right” things and they didn’t work, and no one seems inclined to help you, you take whatever options are left for you. And even though someone might later come on a blog and say you should have been nicer and followed the rules, you actually did what you had to do to protect yourself, which is right.

  48. tmc says:

    I’m very afraid of the government, FDA or “health panels”, telling me the treatments I can have.

    Welcome to womanhood then!

  49. Katya says:

    I’m very afraid of the government, FDA or “health panels”, telling me the treatments I can have.

    But you aren’t afraid of your insurance company telling you what treatments you can have? Because that’s how it works right now! (Unless you’re rich enough that you can pay for whatever you want out of pocket, which most of us aren’t.)

    And you don’t want the FDA to review medications before they are allowed to be prescribed? Who would you prefer to do that review?

  50. Katya says:

    …the FDA’s recommendation that “the evaluation of erectile dysfunction should include a determination of potential underlying causes and the identification of appropriate treatment following a complete medical assessment.”

    This could be used as a reason not to prescribe medication or treat the condition.

    How do you get from “determine underlying causes and identify the appropriate treatment” to “a reason not to treat the condition”? The FDA is recommending that doctors look for the underlying cause and treat that, if possible, before prescribing a pill that only treats the symptom. You don’t like that, why exactly?

  51. Verity Khat says:

    Oi, I think our new troll friend needs to be reminded that scolding the oppressed for expressing anger is something only oppressors do. >_< Also, if this issue was primarily rooted in biology, it stands to reason we'd be hearing from more scientists. Instead, the topic is being broached by politicians. I'm pretty sure that makes it a sociology thing.

    Personally I think using pointedly absurd humor to engage the opposition is a brilliant tactic. If you laugh, you saw the absurdity and have to think about it. If you don't laugh, everyone who did looks at you funny and scoots away.

    Politics is all about shaping societal rules and ideals. There is no "high-road" because you can't just ignore rules you don't like until they go away. Rules affect everyone, and ideas never go away. (Seriously, they just keep popping up.) So the only options in politics are: A) face undesirable ideas head-on, with whatever means you have at your disposal, or B) passively accept whatever treatment the other party decides you deserve. We should have C) everyone lives by whatever rules and idea they like, but that only works if everyone agrees to leave each other be…and legislating the way everyone else has to use their body parts is pretty much as far away from that idea as you can get.

  52. PrettyAmiable says:

    What precisely have I said that’s “ableist”?

    Please, go ahead and tell me, I’m curious.

    You told blind people they’re not normal because you, apparently, are the arbiter of “normal” biology.

  53. S.H. says:

    This could be used as a reason not to prescribe medication or treat the condition.

    I don’t think that was necessarily the intent of the FDA’s statement. I think their position is that erectile dysfunction could be a symptom of an underlying medical condition, and are advocating that doctors check for that as well as prescribing the medication.

    It would be the same situation if I went to the doctor complaining of a cough and the doctor would run tests to figure out why I have a cough. They’d still give me cough medicine, but would try to also determine the cause of the cough. Finding an underlying cause doesn’t necessarily mean treatment will be withheld.

  54. Joe from an alternate universe says:

    But you aren’t afraid of your insurance company telling you what treatments you can have? Because that’s how it works right now! (Unless you’re rich enough that you can pay for whatever you want out of pocket, which most of us aren’t.)

    And you don’t want the FDA to review medications before they are allowed to be prescribed? Who would you prefer to do that review?

    My insurance companies have never turned down any test or procedure that I or my doctor thought I needed. The order is written to the lab or radiologist, the test is done, and the insurance company pays the bill. That’s it. I was in the emergency room, then surgery, then hospital for four days. Any test the doctors ordered was done immediately, including ultra-sound, CAT scan, and MRI, without pre-approval.

    I don’t mind the FDA reviewing drugs for safety, but after that what tests and procedures I have done is up to me and my doctor.

    How do you get from “determine underlying causes and identify the appropriate treatment” to “a reason not to treat the condition”? The FDA is recommending that doctors look for the underlying cause and treat that, if possible, before prescribing a pill that only treats the symptom. You don’t like that, why exactly?

    Because, we get from “recommend”, to “have to”, to “you don’t qualify (see U.K. NHS)”. The governmet just starts listing specific problems that must be present to get the treatment. Right now doctors can prescribe “off label” and it’s paid for.

    As long as it remains at the “recommend” stage that would be ok, but it won’t if the government gets more involved. Currently, a person can order Viagra, or the others, over the phone (a prescription is issued by a doctor working for the distributor), and insurance will pay. I would not want to see this change, especially for people who don’t like going to doctors, or who have problems with examinations, like me.

    I have no problem with people getting a full evaluation if they want. BTW, eventually, if we have an NHS, those tests won’t be paid for anyway, some of them are very expensive.

  55. Past my expiration date says:

    My insurance companies have never turned down any test or procedure that I or my doctor thought I needed. The order is written to the lab or radiologist, the test is done, and the insurance company pays the bill. That’s it.

    How about that! I am really very pleased for you, Joe from an alternate universe. If only everybody else could have the same insurance that you have, in your alternate universe! Because in this universe, they don’t.

  56. Joe from an alternate universe says:

    I don’t think that was necessarily the intent of the FDA’s statement. I think their position is that erectile dysfunction could be a symptom of an underlying medical condition, and are advocating that doctors check for that as well as prescribing the medication.

    It would be the same situation if I went to the doctor complaining of a cough and the doctor would run tests to figure out why I have a cough. They’d still give me cough medicine, but would try to also determine the cause of the cough. Finding an underlying cause doesn’t necessarily mean treatment will be withheld.

    Nice analogy. If that’s the way it works, that’s great. The FDA statement does not preclude that, it’s just the word “following” that makes it somewhat ambiguous to me. If doctors had done that with my cousin’s wife, she might still be alive, but they were engaging in cost savings.

  57. Joe from an alternate universe says:

    How about that! I am really very pleased for you, Joe from an alternate universe. If only everybody else could have the same insurance that you have, in your alternate universe! Because in this universe, they don’t.

    Solutions can be found, but the government running healthcare is not one of them.

  58. Shoshie says:

    Solutions can be found, but the government running healthcare is not one of them.

    This would be a fascinating discussion if the topic was even remotely related to what you’ve decided you want to talk about.

    It’s not about health care in the UK and what medical care you, Joe, can receive. It’s about women. Women in the US who are having their medical care and rights restricted.

    Blah,

    It’s not a waste of money to defend the rights of women. It just isn’t. I understand if you’re frustrated by political theater. I am too. But this is certainly not the worst of it, and it’s for real, honest-to-goodness purpose. I would much rather legislators be writing actual productive legislation, but since Republicans in this country have decided that progress is of Satan, that isn’t happening. So sit back and enjoy the show.

  59. Emolee says:

    My insurance companies have never turned down any test or procedure that I or my doctor thought I needed.

    Then you are very privileged. But, more to the point, this is about the war on women and the fact that the government, employers, and insurance companies *are* being allowed to turn down tests and procedures that a women and her doctor may think she needs.

    I mean, if everyone had insurance and everyone’s insurance paid for all tests and procedures that they needed, then we wouldn’t have a problem here. But your experience does not equal that of the masses, or more particularly, that of human beings seeking contraception, abortion, or other reproductive healthcare.

  60. Kierra says:

    There’s a certain baseline when it comes to humans. Sight = eyes working correctly. Blindness = eyes working incorrectly. Sure, there’s lots of people with both going on, but one could reasonably say that function ocular organs = normal, or at least, biologically intended. We wouldn’t have evolved them if they weren’t supposed to work.

    The biological “baseline” for human females is to not ovulate when they are not able to carry a fetus or care for the resulting baby. Unfortunately, our bodies are only able to take into account things like not having enough food (low body weight or body fat) or being chased by predators (stress) and not more modern things like not having enough money or enough time or having the possibility of being fired during the pregnancy or any of the other reasons a woman might not want to have kids right now. We are “fixing” the “problem” that modern life doesn’t generally involve periods of low food availability and getting chased by things that want to eat you.

  61. Emolee says:

    Currently, a person can order Viagra, or the others, over the phone (a prescription is issued by a doctor working for the distributor), and insurance will pay. I would not want to see this change,

    I think you are missing the point. Women, and others capable of becoming pregnant, want to be able to access contraception and abortion services as part of their healthcare. No one really wants to take away your Viagra, and there is no real threat iof this happening. These bills have been introduced to highlight the absurdity and flat-out misogyny of the very real and threatening anti-choice bills across the country.

    The way you feel about protecting your access to Viagra? We feel the same way about protecting (or in some cases, gaining for the first time) our access to contraception and abortion.

  62. maggiemay says:

    kudos 2 ms howell and the others—love the satirical sense of humor as they defend our rights—go, sistahs, go

  63. Kierra says:

    modern life doesn’t generally involve periods of low food availability

    Just to clarify, I do realize that some people, even in the US, do experience low food availability. However, my main point was that starving women (or chasing them with lions) is not a realistic alternative to birth control even if it may be a more “natural” method.

  64. Kierra says:

    Interesting, my first comment is in moderation and I was expecting that the second would go there as well. It will make more sense when the first one shows up. Sorry for the clutter.

  65. Partial Human says:

    As someone in the UK, who uses (and worked for) the NHS, I’m in tears of laughter. Oh Joe, the “EBIL SOSHLIST DEATH PANELS!11” schtick has been done to bloody death.

    Meanwhile, we’re over here gasping in horror and saying “Thank fuck I’m not American”. At least there’s free contraception and abortion, all prescription medication is priced at £7.40 (free for many), and nobody is homeless due to getting cancer, or giving birth to a premature baby.

  66. konkonsn says:

    Other than that, I don’t really feel like responding to you. If you can’t do the basic task of actually reading what I said, and instead responding in a reactionary fashion, then I don’t see the point in bothering any further.

    First off, just a quick point about the “reading what I said” part – people pick up different understandings from the same situations. Just because it makes complete sense in your head and you believe your words to mean one thing doesn’t mean that somebody else gets it or that those words mean the same thing to them. I’m sure when you see the word “home,” it brings up different feelings and ideas for yourself than it does for me. Things are further complicated by the fact that the internet makes it impossible to understand tone and body language. So if someone isn’t getting what you think you mean, perhaps you need to consider their words in relation to yours to better understand where they are coming from (that whole “taking the higher route” shit you keep going on about).

    Secondly – I hate people like you who think that they’re completely calm and objective on a topic and that anyone who disagrees must only do so because they’re “emotional” and can’t see the “truth.” I hate to break it to you, babe (but I’m not drowning~), but not all facts are actually facts. Science is run by humans (and governments and corporations and academic administrations), and they often let their biases get in the way. Scientists studying albatrosses couldn’t seem to figure out why some nests had two eggs for nearly eighty years. The obvious answer – that two females were sharing the nest at the same time – completely eluded them because that would mean the birds were “lesbians,” and evolution is totally against homosexuality, yes? But that was the answer, and you know, more and more people are saying that being gay isn’t evolution gone wrong. It’s probably just a coincidence, tho, that this opinion is becoming more accepted at the same time as gay marriage is also more acceptable.

    (Here’s the article, by the way…really fascinating take on how the scientific community works: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/04/magazine/04animals-t.html?pagewanted=all)

  67. LC says:

    Thousands of Canadians come here every year for tests and treatments denied there. Where can we go?

    Wow, thousands you say? So… somewhere between .01% and .1% of the population? That’s a terrible indictment of the Canadian Medicare system, I suppose.

    (You know, people have done studies to try and figure this out. Phantoms in the Snow is the most well known. The numbers there seem to put it between .1 and .5 percent.)

    So yeah, not so much.

    My insurance companies have never turned down any test or procedure that I or my doctor thought I needed. The order is written to the lab or radiologist, the test is done, and the insurance company pays the bill. That’s it. I was in the emergency room, then surgery, then hospital for four days. Any test the doctors ordered was done immediately, including ultra-sound, CAT scan, and MRI, without pre-approval.

    That’s very lucky. I wonder what kind of insurance you have. Tests, however, are rarely subject to pre-approval. They are often subject to a cap. Also, you were in an emergency situation, so the general rule there is test and treat first, bill later. If the doctor was able to justify everything to the insurance company’s satisfaction, your insurance will pay the agreed-upon amount. If the insurance company can find any way to reject you, it will. That’s why insurance companies call any money they have to spend treating people as a “Medical Loss Ratio” and the whole point to maintain profitability is to make sure the loss ratio is as low as possible.

    Right now doctors can prescribe “off label” and it’s paid for.

    Why on earth do you think that? Insurance companies LOVE to not pay for off-label use. It’s a huge problem.

    Sorry, I know the point here is not about the FDA recommendations secretly being about denying care or the ongoing myth of huge numbers of Canadians flocking to the US for health care, but those are myths that particularly bug me as a medical writer.

  68. Emolee says:

    @konkonsn- I didn’t make it through the whole thing, but that article was very interesting. I found this to be particularly funny:

    One primatologist speculated that the real reason two male orangutans were fellating each other was nutritional.

  69. Joe from an alternate universe says:

    This would be a fascinating discussion if the topic was even remotely related to what you’ve decided you want to talk about.

    It’s not about health care in the UK and what medical care you, Joe, can receive. It’s about women. Women in the US who are having their medical care and rights restricted

    The point is: NO ONE should have their healthcare decisions made by someone else regardless of sex, age, etc.

  70. S.H. says:

    The point is: NO ONE should have their healthcare decisions made by someone else regardless of sex, age, etc.

    I think that’s the point of the amendments as well, to illustrate the hypocrisy of the “get the government out of my healthcare” crowd who are simultaneously screaming “socialism!” about healthcare reform and regulating the everloving fuck out of healthcare with these anti-choice bills.

    But just to clarify, my point about the FDA was merely that the anti-choice crowd isn’t even bothering to get input from the medical community and are in some cases is directly defying it’s position. Those bills are going beyond regulating healthcare into legislating morality and just using healthcare as the means to do so.

  71. Alara Rogers says:

    Viewed from the perspective of “pregnancy is a natural human process and impotence is not”, I could see why people might get the idea that it’s ok to cover Viagra but not birth control.

    However, viewed from the perspective of “pregnancy can kill a woman, but no man ever died from not being able to get it up”, the stupidity burns. There’s a saying in medicine that “pregnancy is physiological for the species, but pathological for the individual” — meaning that while humans are designed to undergo pregnancy (well, human women, anyway), we are not designed to do it well, and any given pregnancy can be a dire health hazard to women.

    Pregnancy can cause sex to be too painful to be endured (tearing, episiotomies, vaginal fistula), so pregnancy can do the exact same thing to women that impotence does to men. It can also kill you. It can also make you pee your pants for the rest of your life (if I believed in God, I’d thank It that I had health insurance and a job and could afford the surgery to fix that… the surgery that also destroyed all sensation on the skin of my abdomen, because the alternative was that my stomach muscles had been pushed to the sides of my body by my pregnancies and were doing nothing to protect my intestines, so when my two-year-old ran at me to hug me, his little head impacting my abdomen was like being punched in the stomach.)

    I mean, I am pretty sure that if we were praying mantises, male praying mantises would be all in favor of pheromonal treatments that make female praying mantises to not want to eat them. Reproduction is dangerous for many species. So no, birth control is not “breaking something”. It’s controlling for a massive design flaw in the body of the human female, the fact that our intelligence and our tool use dooms us and our mothers to endure pregnancies that can kill (intelligence = big head, tool use = standing upright = narrow pelvis. Narrow pelvis + big head = dangerous pregnancies.)

    Treatments that prevent potentially fatal conditions are MEDICAL TREATMENTS. It doesn’t matter that the particular potentially fatal condition is one that many human women do in fact voluntarily take on because the risk is the only way to get something they want very much. It’s still a potentially fatal condition, and preventing it is a medical treatment.

    So actually, I have no patience for the logic of “well, it breaks something, so it’s not a real medical treatment!” A serotonin reuptake inhibitor breaks the brain’s mechanism for re-absorbing excess serotonin; are you going to tell me that Prozac should not be covered because it’s normal for people who suffer depression to re-absorb enough serotonin that they want to kill themselves?

    Birth control is medicine. And Viagra is much, much more dangerous than birth control; men are quite capable of wanting to have sex even though their cardiovascular system won’t allow it for a very good reason, eg, the stress will put too great a load on the system and kill them. I don’t actually think men should be forced to watch videos about priapism or have a 24-hour wait before getting Viagra, but there is actually better justification for making men run a medical gauntlet for their Viagra than there is for making women run one for birth control or abortion, because birth control and abortion are medically safer than what they prevent — pregnancy — whereas the ability to get an erection and engage in sex when you are really not healthy enough to do so is much more dangerous than *not* engaging in sex, albeit less fun.

    I don’t want to minimize the misery that impotence can cause… but pregnancy can cause depression, permanent damage to one’s sexual functions, permanent damage to one’s waste elimination systems, high blood pressure, diabetes, and death. Impotence just causes misery and feelings of low self-esteem and can damage relationships; pregnancy can do all those things, plus kill you or do drastic damage to your body.

  72. thinksnake says:

    There are also ways of having sex that don’t involve an erect penis. Birth control is far more necessary, across the board.

  73. faithless says:

    well, at least men can count on women feminists to fight the injustices of the bills being proposed just like women can count on male feminists to fight the bills being proposed that oppress women right?

    … because “feminism is for everybody”… <_<

  74. Jen in Ohio says:

    However, my main point was that starving women (or chasing them with lions) is not a realistic alternative to birth control even if it may be a more “natural” method.

    In the current climate of ridiculous legislative fuckery, it is entirely too possible that a segment of irony-impervious Christians will manage to shove legislation through that will allow them to build arenas and charge an admission so they can toss starving women who refuse to stop illegally contracepting to the lions. My pick three for the first bill roll-outs on this: Ohio, Arizona, and Florida, and I’d like to box that, please.

  75. Past my expiration date says:

    Treatments that prevent potentially fatal conditions are MEDICAL TREATMENTS.

    Or, more generally, treatments that affect medical conditions are medical treatments.

    This is why both contraception and infertility treatments are medical treatments.

  76. Joe says:

    Several years ago I read a “joke” about a proposed department of menstration. Since outlawing abortion was ineffective, the government set up system that required women to prove that they were menstrating monthly. If you missed your period appointment they would arrest you.

  77. Katya says:

    My insurance companies have never turned down any test or procedure that I or my doctor thought I needed. The order is written to the lab or radiologist, the test is done, and the insurance company pays the bill. That’s it.

    Oh, troll. Never mind.

  78. Partial Human says:

    Joe -you clearly do not know how the NHS works. Doctors prescribe medication and the patient takes the prescription form to the pharmacy. The pharmacist bags it up and hands it over. Similarly, if the doctor wants to refer the patient for investigations like an MRI or colonoscopy he simply enters it into his PC, and the patient gets a letter with logins for the ‘Choose and Book’ portal. They sign in and choose the appointment time/place that is most convenient.

    That’s it. There are no decision makers, no panels denying prescriptions or investigations, no middle-men coming between doctor and patient. That’s how the US system works! Nobody here is told by a pharmacist “Sorry, but your prescription request has been denied”. No-one has to fork over a co-pay for their chemotherapy. The only time anyone will pay during a hospital stay is if they choose to buy a tv/internet/phone package through the Hospedia system. I believe it’s £10 for a week.

    Stop spouting the 2007 Rethuglican campaign bullshit about the evils of socialised medicine in an attempt to derail WOMEN talking about current campaigns that seek to deny their basic human rights.

  79. To pile on the alternate universe version of Canuck healthcare…

    Getting my last surgery was such a trial. So many forms to fill out, bureaucrats to impress, the Medical Necessity Panel… waitasec, that’s not what happened. GP referred me to specialist, specialist asked if I really wanted the procedure in question, surgery date was arranged, slice ‘n dice took place, did followup test, done. The only money directly out of my pocket was for the post-surgery painkillers, a full bottle of Percocet – $3, since the additional insurance I receive through my employer (many offer that here) covered most of the whopping $11 cost. Not one bureaucrat was involved. Not to put too fine a point on it, but the procedure was a) elective, and b) relevant to this discussion.

    The government* merely pays for procedures. They don’t decide which procedures are to be conducted – that’s between doctor and patient. They’ll pay for practically every necessary procedure and loads of elective ones, and somehow private insurance companies continue to exist here (and can act just as abominably as their US equivalents; head for cbc.ca and look up a Marketplace expose on travel insurance).

    * Governments may be more accurate; the federal government pitches in, but the provincial and territorial governments manage their own insurance systems.

  80. Re: the concern troll… protest is inconvenient. It’s supposed to be. The representatives are doing exactly what they’re supposed to be doing – debating public policy via any legal means available. I think it’s perfectly appropriate to engage in political theatre to expose the absurdity of an opposing viewpoint or offensive piece of legislation.

  81. Joe from an alternate universe says:

    I think that’s the point of the amendments as well, to illustrate the hypocrisy of the “get the government out of my healthcare” crowd who are simultaneously screaming “socialism!” about healthcare reform and regulating the everloving fuck out of healthcare with these anti-choice bills.

    Point taken.

    Oh, troll. Never mind.

    Wow, really? I disagree on a point of public policy, and that makes me a troll? You won’t convince people you are trying to reach by using anger and insults.

    Not one bureaucrat was involved

    auditorydamage,

    True, they are not involved directly; however, you can ration by wait times, distance, availability, etc. Why are there government web sites in Canada strictly devoted to the wait times? Why is there continual talk about the wait times? This is a link to a study on the wait times in Canada; this is from the Canadian government:

    secure.cihi.ca/cihiweb/products/Wait_times_tables_2011_en.pdf

    A benchmark of 26 weeks for bypass surgery? A benchmark, really?

    Why are Canadian provinces sending people over the boarder for MRIs, etc? I’m not arguing that once you’re seen by a doc that the care is not good and affordable. But wait lists are something that Americans would not like. 6 – 8 weeks for an MRI?

    Joe -you clearly do not know how the NHS works. Doctors prescribe medication and the patient takes the prescription form to the pharmacy.

    My sister lived in London for three years and another relative did an exchange program as a doctor 10 years ago with the NHS. Why am I always reading stuff like this?

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/8808686/NHS-hospital-playing-games-with-cancer-waiting-times.html

    Having said all this, I don’t expect anyone here to concede their views; it is a complicated discussion, and people are understandably passionate about it. Given the time, I think we could reach consensus on some points (never all, of course), but that’s out of the scope of this blog. I’d also like to stress that I’m not trying to denigrate Canada or the U.K. I’ve spent much time in both places and the people could not have been kinder and more generous, and are frequently willing to engage in a spirited, but friendly, debate on a whole host of political issues, and still buy a pint afterward. Even when understanding can’t be reached on even a few points, it’s always helpful to see the information provided by others to support their point of view.

    If you feel strongly about it, feel free to provide links and documents to buttress your argument; I’d love to see them. However, this particular discussion is clearly, and justifiably, annoying a lot of people here, so I think it’s best we relinquish this tread back to them.

  82. True, they are not involved directly; however, you can ration by wait times, distance, availability, etc.

    Which happens everywhere, including in the US as the occasional threads on access to reproductive health services in differing states make clear. Whether rationing is done based on availability or ability to pay, it’s still rationing, and at least here my access to basic and emergency care isn’t limited by my income and savings, nor do government officials declare whether I can access a procedure that a doctor decides I should be able to obtain – the only limiting factor is availability of people and facilities. By that standard, American private insurance companies pre-ACA had much more influence over rationing of care on an individual basis than Canadian civll servants do.

    Why are there government web sites in Canada strictly devoted to the wait times? Why is there continual talk about the wait times?

    Because the relatively limited availability of practitioners and highly expensive diagnostic equipment, particularly in rural and remote communities, is a known issue that health authorities are attempting to report and resolve in a public manner. Wait times are affected by staff availability, equipment status, and scheduling rearrangements due to cancellations and emergency needs. Those wait times are averages; some people who the doctors determine can wait may wait longer, while people who need their arteries unblocked now can get it done immediately – thus potentially delaying everyone else in line. If governments up here weren’t in the midst of a parade of tax-cutting austerity (and weren’t letting consultants and private contractors practically embezzle money), more resources could be harnessed, but we do pretty well for a first-come, first-serve regardless of wealth system.

    Why are Canadian provinces sending people over the boarder for MRIs, etc? I’m not arguing that once you’re seen by a doc that the care is not good and affordable. But wait lists are something that Americans would not like. 6 – 8 weeks for an MRI?

    They send them because they can – it’s not as if the province is sending someone to fend for themselves. The provincial insurance system still pays if the doctors say it’s necessary. Sometimes it’s even done for convenience – I had eye surgery when I was two years old across the river in Detroit instead of going two hours up the highway to London. It was easier and more efficient for everyone involved.

  83. Pingback: Kitty Kohl » Some things are more important than dance

  84. Xtra says:

    True story, I recently had a baby at 35, my husband was 45 at the time. The doctor asked if I wanted to get a test done on the fetus to check for abnormalities not because I was 35, even though 36 is considered an age for concern as far as mother caused defects, the doctor stated children of older fathers are more likely to have some kind of birth defect. So maybe older men not being able to get it up is just biology’s way of preventing babies with birth defects and actually totally normal. So hey, equality for all, women only use birth control for the “good” uses, men use viagra for young men and not old ones because them not being able to get it up is for the sake of nature,right?

  85. DouglasG says:

    As #74 says:

    [There are also ways of having sex that don’t involve an erect penis. Birth control is far more necessary, across the board.]

    And I’m largely in agreement with #86, though more from an angle of being surprised not to have heard anyone on the counter-measure side tout ED as a “Divine Message” of a particular sort.

  86. LC says:

    If you feel strongly about it, feel free to provide links and documents to buttress your argument; I’d love to see them.

    You mean like the link to the article I provided which shows that the amount of Canadians flocking to the US for treatment is rather low?

    True, they are not involved directly; however, you can ration by wait times, distance, availability, etc.

    Absolutely. Limited resources get rationed. In the US, it is by ability to pay or simply by the whims of your insurance company. Things you have less ability to influence than government.

    Why are there government web sites in Canada strictly devoted to the wait times?

    As mentioned, because when you have a large geographical area and a scattered population with not enough personnel, you end up with wait times.

    Why is there continual talk about the wait times?

    Because Conservatives have spent the last 30 years hyping them in order to try and use them as a wedge to get rid of the health care system.

    You did notice, by the way, that the study you linked to actually says, “All-Canada estimates indicate that 8 out of 10 patients across the country receive priority procedures (hip, knee, hip fracture repair, cataract and bypass surgery and radiation treatment) within the time frames that clinical evidence shows is appropriate.”

    You do know that many Canadian provinces have contracts with USian hospitals to send people to them for services because they are sometimes closer, right?

  87. shfree says:

    Regarding wait times for various tests, specialists, etc. I live in a city with a population of roughly 700,000 in the US, and I am seen as a patient through a teaching hospital with a prominent medical school. I have to schedule appointments with my neurologist MONTHS ahead of time because he literally only sees patients Wednesday afternoons. If I have a seizure, he might be able to squeeze me in for a quick consult on a short notice Wednesday appointment, but that’s it. And it does take weeks to get seen for an MRI, because MRI machines don’t grow on trees. (And I’ve been seen by a neurological optometrist, and there was only one in the STATE, getting that appointment was a hell of a thing. And, in fact, I think he may have even moved out of state now, so it is a good thing he didn’t see anything awry when I had my exam.)

    So to say that getting waitlisted or having to wait for weeks for an appointment is exclusive to countries with socialized medicine, well, that is simply bullshit. It’s some sort of equation involving the availability of practitioners in general, the sort of insurance coverage you have, whether or not you need a specialist, the availability of whatever specialist you need for your condition, and the closest facility with the capability to provide treatment. Plus or multiplied by time, who the hell knows. But it’s ugly, complex, and I’ve been round and round it, and the easiest time I’ve had with medical bullshit has been the times I’ve been on Medicaid. If you have a good advocate at the start who can walk you through getting all of what you need together before you step into the office, the process isn’t nearly as hateful as it would be otherwise. And there is NO WAY you can convince me that there is less bureaucracy to dealing with insurance companies than government based healthcare, given the amount of paperwork I recently had to throw at the dental insurance company to get them to cover my daughter’s braces, which they initially refused to do.

  88. Sandy says:

    You do realize that these feminist “statements” the legislators keep trying to make are COSTING TAXPAYERS MONEY.

    Sending up bills that are destined to fail just cost the taxpayers money, for nothing, just to make statements. If a rep. wants to make a statement about an already-existing bill, they need to make a statement ABOUT THAT BILL. Not firing another one off, and wasting time and money.

    I agree, because legislators are paid by the word, like Charles Dickens.*

    In all seriousness. if the forced birthers insist on doing their antichoice thing, I think this is a fabulous use of the cost of writing a bill.

    (*Yes, I know that it’s actually a myth that Dickens was paid by the word.)

  89. EG says:

    Just because they both center around genitals doesn’t mean it’s the right analogy.

    It’s the right analogy because viagra allows men who otherwise would not be able to do so to enjoy sex, and birth control allows women who would otherwise not be able to do so to enjoy sex. Women’s enjoyment of sex is no less important than men’s. It’s not as thought impotence is some kind of dangerous condition.

  90. EG says:

    And there is NO WAY you can convince me that there is less bureaucracy to dealing with insurance companies than government based healthcare, given the amount of paperwork I recently had to throw at the dental insurance company to get them to cover my daughter’s braces, which they initially refused to do.

    Especially considering that doctors and hospitals have to hire people solely in order to deal with private insurers, and private insurers regularly use all kinds of techniques such as long wait times in order to weed out people seeking the payments and reimbursements to which they’re entitled. Interestingly, when my friend who was living in London needed treatment for a serious stomach ailment, he got in to see the doctor within a week.

  91. Li says:

    So, you can add me to that group of people from countries other than the USA bemused at the resistance to public health care. I’m in Australia and even our right-wing troglodytes realise that public health care is a good thing, even if they do the “I choose my choice!” dance around the availability of private health insurance.

  92. h says:

    I approve of this counter-trolling by these legislators. These bills are nonsense that shouldn’t be tolerated by anyone.

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