Open Thread: Regulating Men’s Reproductive Health Choices

Ohio State Senator Nina Turner

Last week Ohio State Senator Nina Turner introduced state bill 307, which would require men to have several sessions with a sex therapist, a cardiac stress test, and obtain a notarized statement from their sexual partners saying they are really impotent before they could get a prescription for Viagra or any other “erectile dysfunction” drug. In addition, doctors prescribing the drugs would have to notify the patient in writing of all their possible side effects, and all documentation, including the statement from the man’s sexual partner would be kept in his medical records. From the Cleveland Plain Dealer:

Turner says she also wants to rally women across the country to push for similar bills in their states.

“It’s not a joke,” Turner told The Plain Dealer this week. “I’m dead serious. I want to continue this strong dialogue about what is fair and what is equal.”

“It is crucial that we take the appropriate steps to shelter vulnerable men from the potential side effects of these drugs,” she said in a written statement.

“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.”

Furthermore, Turner is concerned about the serious side effects of ED drugs:

“The side effects of these drugs are very real,” she told The Plain Dealer. “I want to [protect] fragile men who are vulnerable and are not able to make decisions for themselves.”

Turner says her bill is based on medical recommendations for the use of these powerful drugs::

Under Senate Bill 307, men taking the drugs would continue to be tested for heart problems, receive counseling about possible side effects and receive information about “pursuing celibacy as a viable lifestyle choice.”

“Even the FDA recommends that doctors make sure that assessments are taken that target the nature of the symptoms, whether it’s physical or psychological,” Turner said. “I certainly want to stand up for men’s health and take this seriously and legislate it the same way mostly men say they want to legislate a woman’s womb.”

Illinois State Rep. Kelly Cassidy

In Illinois, State Senator Kelly Cassidy has proposed an amendment to a state sponsored rape bill bill requiring ultrasounds for women seeking abortions. The amendment would require any man who asks for a prescription for Viagra to “watch a graphic video on the side effects” of the drug first. From HuffPo:

“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,” she told HuffPost on Monday….

Cassidy is one of a string of female lawmakers across the country who have introduced gender-equity amendments to anti-abortion bills. Wilmington, Del. City Councilwoman Loretta Walsh authored a resolution that declares “each ‘egg person’ and each ‘sperm person’ … equal in the eyes of the government.” Oklahoma Sen. Constance Johnson (D) proposed a “spilled semen” amendment to the state’s fetal personhood bill that would declare it an act against unborn children for men to waste sperm. Va. Sen. Janet Howell (D), meanwhile, introduced an amendment to a mandatory ultrasound bill that would require men to have a rectal exam before being prescribed Viagra.


Fox “News” Tackles Women’s Health

I’m so glad Think Progress watches Fox News so I don’t have to! Apparently the TV voice of right wing craziness has been in an uproar this week because the Obama administration finally did something positive for women.

The Department of Health and Human Services has announced that health insurers will be required to cover contraception and other reproductive health care services without additional cost sharing, accepting most of the Institute of Medicine’s recommendations. The administration did add an additional caveat that would allow “religious institutions that offer insurance to their employees the choice of whether or not to cover contraception services.” “This regulation is modeled on the most common accommodation for churches available in the majority of the 28 states that already require insurance companies to cover contraception,” the agency notes. The services will include:

– well-woman visits;
– screening for gestational diabetes;
– human papillomavirus (HPV) DNA testing for women 30 years and older;
– sexually-transmitted infection counseling;
– human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) screening and counseling;
– FDA-approved contraception methods and contraceptive counseling;
– breastfeeding support, supplies, and counseling; and
– domestic violence screening and counseling.

This decision was based on recommendations by scientists at the Institute of Medicine.

But that isn’t good enough for Fox “News,” which invited a so-called “expert” (actually a fanatical wingnut), Sandy Rios of Family Pac Federal, to debate the decision with Jehmu Greene, former president of the Women’s Media Center.

Greene offered the facts that support greater access to birth control. Namely, “50 percent of pregnancies in this country are unintended pregnancies” –the leading reason why women seek abortions — which costs the U.S. over $11 billion a year. Noting that contraception not only allows women to space out their pregnancies and commit to parenting, but also reduces the number of abortions, Greene determined the new policy to be a “text-book definition of win-win.”

Fox’s anti-birth control “expert,” Family PAC Federal Vice President Sandy Rios, however, found her own reasons to lambast the policy as “ridiculous.” Telling Greene that she lives in “la la land,” Rios offered the following “arguments” against the new policy and a woman’s right to use birth control, which are so ludicrous they’re worth listing:

– “Is the White House out of their mind? Does the West Wing not know what the left wing is doing? We’re $14 trillion in debt and now we’re going to cover birth control, breast pumps, counseling for abuse? Are we going to do pedicures and manicures as well?”

Watch it:

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According to Rios, providing counseling for women who have been beaten by their partners is analogous to paying for manicures and pedicures? WTF?!

But that’s not the worst of it. Jemu Greene also appeared on Sean Hannity’s show to debate the issue. According to Hannity, providing birth control for women is an outrage, but paying for Viagra for men is OK, because it’s a “medical problem.”

Piling on to the conservative apoplexia over the Obama administration’s recent ruling that insurance companies should cover birth control without co-pays, Fox News host Sean Hannity slammed the policy last night for encouraging “screwing around,” but defended coverage of Viagra. Taking a bold stance again reason, Hannity said, “I don’t care about the scientists” who recommended the move and insisted that the birth control is “not a women’s health issue.” Asked how he felt about insurance companies covering male enhancement medication, Hannity strongly defended the practice, saying, “That is a medical problem!”

Check it out:

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I’m speechless.