Ohio Sen. Nina Turner joins women across country striking back, introducing bills to regulate sex lives of men
Published: Friday, March 09, 2012, 5:15 AM Updated: Monday, March 12, 2012, 7:33 AM
By Diane Suchetka, The Plain Dealer
A bill introduced by state Sen. Nina Turner would require men to undergo psychological evaluations before they could get prescriptions for Viagra or other erectile dysfunction drugs.
CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Women legislators across the country are fighting back against laws that govern their sex lives with legislation of their own -- introducing bills that, among other things, would prevent men from having vasectomies or require them to undergo psychological evaluation before they can get prescriptions for Viagra.
And state Sen. Nina Turner, a Cleveland Democrat, is joining them.
A week ago, Turner announced Senate Bill 307, which would require a man who wants an erectile dysfunction drug to provide his doctor with a notarized affidavit -- from at least one sex partner -- that says he's had symptoms in the previous 90 days.
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."
The recent trend of women introducing bills to regulate the sexual health of men isn't surprising, says Erin Matson, the National Organization for Women vice president who oversees grassroots organizing efforts.
"Women are fed up," Matson said by phone Thursday from a meeting in Phoenix.
"What I'm seeing from my position in talking to women around the country - older women and a lot of younger women, too - is outrage, shock, anger and fear.
"We are sitting in the middle of another Anita Hill moment right now," she said, referring to the woman who, in 1991, accused then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment. "This is a galvanizing moment for a whole new generation of feminists and women."
The intrusion by male lawmakers into the personal lives of women, Matson and others say, has gone too far. And it's time to speak up."
One person who has decided to take a stand is Stacey Newman, a Democratic state representative from Missouri.
"It's to all of our advantages that we keep this in the conversation," said Newman, who introduced a bill in Missouri two weeks ago that "prohibits a vasectomy from being performed on a man unless it is to save his life or prevent substantial and irreversible physical impairment."
Newman told The Plain Dealer that she was inspired in part by Rep. Yasmin Neal of Georgia, who in early February introduced a bill in the Georgia legislature that also attempted to prohibit vasectomies.
"It is patently unfair that men can avoid the rewards of unwanted fatherhood by presuming that their judgment over such matters is more valid than the judgment of the General Assembly," said Neal's bill, which died after not moving forward in the required 30 days.
"Fewer unwanted pregnancies result in fewer children living in poverty and a lower prison population and this is job killing in a time when social workers, police officers, and prison guards need the employment to feed their families. . . "
Turner's bill, on the other hand, stays focused on men's health.
"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's bill says no physician can prescribe a drug to treat erectile dysfunction, until he or she:
• Obtains a notarized affidavit from the patient in which at least one of the patient's sex partners certifies that the patient has experienced symptoms of erectile dysfunction in the previous 90 days.
• Refers the patient to a sexual therapist approved by the state medical board for an assessment of the possible causes of the patient's symptoms and obtains a written report in which the therapist concludes that the patient's symptoms are not psychological.
• Conducts a cardiac stress test and obtains a result, in writing, that says the patient's cardiac health is compatible with sexual activity.
• Notifies the patient in writing of the potential risks and complications associated with taking erectile dysfunction drugs.
• Declares in writing, under penalty of perjury, that the drugs are necessary to treat erectile dysfunction and describes the physician's medical rationale for issuing the prescription.
• Places all of the described documents in the patient's medical record.
Reports of her proposed law have made headlines on news websites and blogs across the country.
"What's good for the goose," one website said.
Another named Turner one of its Heroines of the Week.
Turner proposed the law out of frustration with House Bill 125, which would effectively ban most abortions in Ohio because it prohibits them if a fetal heartbeat can be detected.
That can be as early as six weeks after conception and it can be before a woman knows she is pregnant. There's no exception for rape or incest.
The Ohio House passed the "heartbeat" bill in June and it has moved to the Senate. If it passes, Ohio will have one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the country.
The language in Turner's bill, she says, plays off legislation aimed at women's health, including Ohio's heartbeat bill, sponsored by Rep. Lynn Wachtmann. He's a Republican from Napoleon in Northwest Ohio.
"I feel like we need to equalize the sexual health debate, to provide care for the more powerful breed of the sexes," Turner said by phone. There are other natural remedies for impotence, she said. "Like celibacy."
"The sad part about that is when people introduce legislation that infringes on women's liberties, nobody bats an eye or thinks it's strange," she said. But take the same tack with men, she said, and the reaction is completely different.
Dr. John Willke of Cincinnati, former president of National Right to Life, says there's no relationship between the law Turner is proposing and the anti-abortion legislation Ohio and other states are considering.
"This is not a drug, this is a question of whether or not to offer some protection for living, viable, human babies or whether we're going to keep killing them at the rate we are," said Willke, who worked as an obstetrician. "This has nothing to do with women's rights, it has everything to do with fetal rights."
Turner does have the support of at least one man.
"It's an excellent way of answering some of the male-dominated individuals in the legislature who continuously think a woman's place is still in the home, in the kitchen with an apron on," state Rep. Bob Hagan of Youngstown said of her bill.
"Their constant introduction of attacks on women -- whether it has to do with abortion, reproductive rights or health care -- I think is a manifestation of their fear of being sexually inadequate.
"And I think Nina really takes it on. She hit the nail right on the head."
Turner said she has not yet heard from the makers of Viagra, Cialis and other drugs.
"But I fully expect some resistance to this bill," she said.
She also said she will give the chairman of the health and human services and aging committee some time to schedule a hearing on SB307, now that Super Tuesday is over. But if he takes too long, she said, she'll make a formal request.
Pfizer Inc., which makes Viagra, isn't weighing in on Turner's bill.
"We don't comment on pending legislation," said Pfizer spokesman Peter O'Toole.
With Angela Townsend, Plain Dealer Reporter.
Source: click here
So let me get this straight,if a woman,even if it's a woman he had a one night stand with,will decide if gets treatment or not. The woman,not the doctor,will make the decision. If women are going to write bills such as this then perhaps the Taliban has the right idea in restricting them. Perhap we should do the same.