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A Series of Fallopian Tubes

State Senator Nina Turner Introduces a Viagra Amendment to Anti-Choice Legislation to Support “Sexual Health Equality”


We’re not going to deny how much we love hearing about female lawmakers on the state level standing up to their anti-choice colleagues by introducing amendments to terrible women’s health legislation that entail men undergoing similar scrutiny and invasive procedures that women would be subjected to should these bills pass. That’s why this morning, we were all pretty psyched to hear about Ohio State Senator Nina Turner. The Ohio Senate is debating its own anti-choice bill, which would prohibit abortions after a fetal heartbeat can be detected (which first happens at about six weeks after conception). Sen. Turner thinks it’s high time that men got a taste of their own medicine, so she has introduced an amendment that would require doctors to put men through a variety of tests and counseling before being prescribed the erectile dysfunction pill, Viagra. Why? Because if the Ohio Senate is “only looking out for women’s health,” then darn it, Nina Turner is going to fight for the same concern to be shown towards the menfolk!

That’s right — it’s only out of her love for her fellow men that Sen. Turner introduced this amendment. As she told MSNBC:

“[This bill is about showing] men as much love in the reproductive health arena as they have shown us over the years. My Senate Bill 307 is all about the love and making sure we look out for men’s sexual health.”

And that’s all Turner is doing — looking out for men’s sexual health! The bill would mandate that every man looking to get a prescription for the little blue boner pill be “tested for heart problems, receive counseling about possible side effects and receive information about ‘pursuing celibacy as a viable lifestyle choice.’” Because, as we know, those lawmakers who don’t think women should be able to afford contraception, but must then be shamed while trying to end an unwanted pregnancy, apparently believe that sex only occurs within the confines of marriage and with the purpose of bearing children. At least when women want to have sex. Turner thinks this standard needs to be applied to men as well, because after all, what’s the point of all that sperm if it’s not making babies? All those sperms could be precious, numerous babies, you guys! All of them!

Predictably, Turner’s amendment is not a serious one and is not being taken seriously in the Ohio Senate. She does, however, have a perfectly serious petition that you can sign if you support sexual health equality! The original bill’s sponsor, Rep. Lynn Wachtmann, said that getting erectile dysfunction drugs and procuring an abortion were not comparable. Which might prove that Rep. Lynn Wachtmann is still missing the point here. Or she just really loves seeing her fellow woman shamed while in a vulnerable situation.

Sen. Turner — who is on Twitter if you’d like to let her know you support her efforts — is not the first state lawmaker to introduce amendments to anti-choice legislation. You may recall Oklahoma State Senator Constance Johnson‘s “every sperm is sacred” amendment, which prohibited male masturbation. Or Virginia State Senator Janet Howell‘s amendment that mandated a digital rectal exam for men seeking drugs for erectile dysfunction. Similarly, two other women have gone the boner pill route. Illinois State Rep. Kelly Cassidy introduced an amendment in her state, where they introduced a mandatory ultrasound bill, that required men seeking Viagra to view a graphic video showing all the possible side effects of the drug:

“If they are serious about us not being able to make our own health care decisions, then I’m just as serious about them not being able to make theirs,” she said.

And in Missouri, State Rep. Stacey Newman introduced an amendment saying that men could only get a vasectomy if their lives depended on it, similar to Georgia State Rep. Yasmin Neal‘s amendment to a bill in her state that would prohibit abortions past the 20th week of pregnancy. Newman’s bill states:

“In determining whether a vasectomy is necessary, no regard shall be made to the desire of a man to father children, his economic situation, his age, the number of children he is currently responsible for, or any danger to his wife or partner in the event a child is conceived.”

As great as it is that these lawmakers are standing up for women and using their standing on the state level to make a point about the politicization of women’s health vs. men’s health, all of these amendments are seen as “tongue-in-cheek,” “sarcastic,” or even a joke. But they are making extremely valid and important points. None of these amendments should pass. But none of the anti-choice bills should pass, either. They should have never even gotten this far. Our personal health — men’s or women’s — does not belong in the political arena. We’re getting into territory that involves a government mandate that women are penetrated, but not men. Women are no longer the primary subject of women’s health for these lawmakers. It’s not about us — it’s about fetuses. And since men don’t have to carry those fetuses, their bodily orifices are, apparently, exempt from politics.

We should be taking a serious look at these amendments and let them help us put things in perspective. Because this is just not cute anymore.

(via Yahoo!)

Previously in Women’s Health

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  • Anonymous

    Revenge, that’s a good way to advance issues…  Works for the Taliban I guess.

  • Anonymous

    Impotence is a symptom of prostate and or colon cancer. So for the good of all
    men. Before Viagra or an equivalent drug is prescribed for a man suffering with
    erectile dysfunction the underlying cause of the condition must be found. A
    colostomy should be performed to rule out color or prostate cancer. Treating the
    symptom is unfair to our beloved men. We must protect their health.

  • http://tentacled-testing.tumblr.com/ Kate Falanga

    I applaud the attempts I just wish they were more successful. The people who are the target of this action don’t really understand sarcasm.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mark-A-Metzler-Jr/547244461 Mark A. Metzler Jr

    I am only sorry that they are letting the amendments be brushed off as “not serious”  Attaching an insane amendment to a bill has long been a tool that opposition has used to kill bills. The bills being introduced are as insane as any of these “joke” amendments.

  • http://twitter.com/Super_Widget Joanna

    Also, there should be a law where if a man had to masturbate, it should only be for a sperm bank.  Every sperm is precious!

  • http://twitter.com/Super_Widget Joanna

    Hey isn’t there something in the Bible about not being allowed to “spill your seed” anyway?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000639751451 Kenneth C Pennington

    Well as ridiculous as these amendments are, they’re certainly no more ridiculous than the ones they’re lampooning. Fair’s fair after all. 

    I have an idea … how about the government and (just as importantly — in fact, MORE importantly under our current for-profit health care “system”) insurers stay out of everyone’s business and truly leave health care decisions between the individual and her or his doctor? (An insanely novel idea, I know.)

  • Anonymous

     Yep.  Look up Onan or find out what an onanist is.  It’s in Genesis.

    You’ll have your answer, but most people who tout the Bible as the moral standard conveniently skip the parts they don’t want to follow.  Don’t like the idea of homosexuality because of Leviticus?  Well, then I hope you don’t eat shellfish.  You can’t thump the Bible with a mouthful of shrimp!  /rant  Sorry.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=625547467 Maranie Alonso Warren

    Just an FYI:  Lynn Wachtmann is a guy.  Perhaps his beef with women stems from him being mistaken for one all his life because he’s named Lynn.  Just a thought.  ;-) 

  • http://twitter.com/Super_Widget Joanna

    Yes!  Women’s health should be in the hands of doctors, not politicians!

  • Jamie Frevele

    You know, Maranie, while I was writing this (and rapidly approaching my deadline), I actually stopped and wondered if “Lynn” was a guy in this case. But I know that there are actually women who support these bills, so I didn’t want to generalize and assume it was a man named Lynn. But indeed, this Lynn has no uterus of which to speak. Thank you for your correction!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_R7GVNIKWG3S2UTHEQOMSZXT4M4 Anna B

    Women’s health should be in the hands of women.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_R7GVNIKWG3S2UTHEQOMSZXT4M4 Anna B

    Or form a support group with the Evelyns, Lauries, and Francises (they’re all potentially British, though).

  • Frodo Baggins

    While I agree with the rhetoric, and admire the satirical bite, I question the effectiveness of this “joke amendment” tactic. Is it really helping to make headway in the debate, or is it just a satisfying retaliation?

  • Anonymous

    I don’t know how effective it is directly, but at the very least it draws attention to the issue. Every bit helps in some way.

  • Nina B

    Wow. As a Norwegian I have been reading these posts and quite frankly, I am shocked. I live in a country where womens right to decide over their own body isn’t even a debate. It hasn’t been since the seventies. If it weren’t for my geekiness and love of The Mary Sue, I would never have heard about what was going on “across the pond.”

    If something like this had been proposed in Norway, there’d be riots in the streets. I kid you not.

    I am glad to see that there are some women out there that are fighting this with humour, but as stated above in the article: it’s not cute anymore.

  • Anonymous

    Hi Senator Turner:   Brava!!!  I was in my car listening to the radio when I heard a male talk show host  going “nuts” It was the best laugh I had in years.  Although I am eighty and don’t have to confront the issues of birth control or abortion, I can relate to the slow climb women have had to take over the years to achieve automony.  Keep up the good and relavant work and vote more and more women into office so we don’t have to be subjected to the opionion of the old grey haired men.

  • Eli Effinger-Weintraub

    A couple weeks ago, Representative Phyllis Kahn did this in the Minnesota House. She ultimately withdrew the amendment. http://mnpublius.com/post/20068631446/kahn-offers-satirical-amendment-to-restrict-access-to

  • Anonymous

    Hurray for Senator Nina Turner. Keep fighting for what is right. Its time for everyone to see how ridiculous the Republicans are. No man has the right to tell any woman what they should do with their body. The men who favor this argument are control freaks. They do not have your well being in mind but only want to control.