Oklahoma state senator Constance Johnson introduced an amendment to that state’s Personhood bill, SB 1433, that would essentially outlaw masturbation for men. Johnson’s amendment proposed that the legislation include a provision that men ejaculating anywhere outside a woman’s vagina be considered “an action against an unborn child.”
Johnson wrote about the amendment in the Guardian:
My action to amend the so-called “Personhood” bill – SB 1433, introduced by Senator Brian Crain (Republican, Tulsa) – represents the culmination of my and many other Oklahomans’ frustration regarding the ridiculousness of our reproductive policy initiatives in Oklahoma. I have received overwhelmingly positive responses from men and women in Oklahoma – and worldwide. The Personhood bill would potentially allow governmental intrusion into families’ personal lives by policing what happens to a woman’s eggs without any similar thought to what happens to a man’s sperm.
Illinois state Rep. Kelly Cassidy proposed an amendment to a bill including a provision for mandatory pre-abortion ultrasounds that would require men trying to get a Viagra prescription to watch a graphic video about the dangers of the drug beforehand.
Cassidy told Huffington Post, “If they’re serious about us not being about to make our own health care decisions, then I’m just as serious about them not being able to make theirs.”
The amendment was attached to the “Ultrasound Opportunity Act,” Illinois HB4085, which is still working its way through the Illinois legislature.
3. The Viagra Bill: Ohio SB 307
The best-known protest bill in the works is that of Nina Turner, an Ohio state senator. Turner has introduced a bill that would require men to, among other things, get an affidavit from a sexual partner affirming their impotency before they could get a prescription for Viagra. Men trying to get Viagra would also have to see a sex therapist and undergo a cardiac stress test.
And it doesn’t end there. After being prescribed the drug, men would have to have a cardiac stress test every 90 days to affirm their fitness for sexual activity, plus do three sessions of outpatient counseling.
Turner got quite a bit of attention for the bill, including an appearance on MSNBC. It was intended to protest the Ohio “heartbeat bill” which would ban abortions after a fetal heartbeat can be detected. It’s unlikely to pass.
This bill, introduced by Missouri State Rep. Stacey Newman, would stop men from getting vasectomies unless the procedure would prevent serious injury or death.
The bill’s language is strong: “A vasectomy shall only be performed to avert the death of the man or avert serious risk of substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function of the man. No such condition shall be deemed to exist if it is based on a diagnosis or claim of a mental or emotional condition of the man or that the man will purposefully engage in conduct which he intends to result in his death or in substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function.”
Newman said in a statement, “If we are going to seriously restrict access to birth control used by over 98 percent of Missouri women and widely used since 1960, then it’s only fair we legislate men’s access as well.” Her bill was in response to the Missouri House’s attempt to block the Obama administration’s contraception mandate.
Virginia state senator Janet Howell proposed an amendment to the state’s anti-abortion bill (recently signed by Gov. Bob McDonnell but sans transvaginal ultrasound mandate) that would require men to undergo a rectal exam and cardiac stress test before being treated for erectile dysfunction.
The amendment didn’t pass, but came close — it was narrowly defeated by a vote of 21 to 19. Six of the seven women in the Virginia State Senate voted in favor of the amendment.
The Wilmington, Delaware City Council passed a resolution calling on the Delaware legislature to classify sperm as people. The logic: if personhood rights can be extended to fertilized eggs, then they should also be extended to sperm. The resolution calls them “egg people” and “sperm people.”
If the resolution were to be turned into law, men would be legally barred from harming their sperm in any way. The councilwoman who introduced the resolution, Loretta Walsh, described it as tongue-in-cheek — which didn’t stop Personhood USA from issuing a strongly-worded statement.
“This kind of political showboating has no place in government, at any level,” said Personhood USA spokeswoman Jennifer Mason in the statement.
Unlike the other protest bills, this one is the work of a man. Pennsylvania state senator Larry Farnese plans to introduce legislation this week that would, like Turner’s, force men to undergo a battery of tests before being treated for erectile dysfunction. Under the legislation, men would have to watch a video on the side effects of Viagra, get a prostate exam, and receive cardiac stress tests and sex therapy.
The anti-abortion bill in the Pennsylvania legislature right now is thought to be one of the most restrictive in the country. Like Virginia’s, it would require women to get an ultrasound before getting an abortion. Farnese released a statement saying “I’m submitting legislation that will require men to undergo a few similarly evasive [sic] tests in order to show that this effort is ridiculous and that we should be protecting and expanding, not watering down, health services for women.”