AUSTIN, Texas (CN) - A tongue-in-cheek bill filed Friday in Texas in response to anti-abortion measures would fine men for “unregulated masturbatory emissions,” and require them to be given a digital rectal exam before getting a vasectomy, colonoscopy or a prescription for Viagra.
While the bill’s text states that its purpose is to “express the state's interest in promoting men's health,” State Rep. Jessica Farrar, D-Houston, said she filed the satirical legislation, House Bill 4260, to hold a mirror to real Texas laws that restrict women’s health care.
“Although HB 4260 is satirical, there is nothing funny about current healthcare restrictions for women and the very real legislation that is proposed every legislative session,” Farrar said in a statement Saturday. “Women are not laughing at state-imposed regulations and obstacles that interfere with their ability to legally access safe healthcare, and subject them to fake science and medically unnecessary procedures.”
Farrar’s bill is called “A Man’s Right to Know Act,” echoing a Texas law passed 2011 that requires women to have a sonogram and listen to a doctor describe the images of the embryo or fetus. Those rules are described in a pamphlet produced by the state titled “A Woman’s Right to Know.”
Farrar’s bill would require the publication of a similar pamphlet, describing rules about the hurdles men would have to go through to obtain Viagra or have elective vasectomy or colonoscopy procedures.
“An attending physician must administer a medically-unnecessary digital rectal exam and magnetic resonance imagining of the rectum before administering an elective vasectomy or colonoscopy procedure, or prescribing Viagra,” the bill states.
It would also fine men $100 for each “masturbatory emission” made outside of a woman’s vagina or created outside of a health or medical facility.
The collected fines would support Texas’ critically underfunded Child Protective Services program.
Farrar told the Texas Tribune that the masturbation fine is an extension of the “sanctity of life” argument used by several Texas Republicans that have proposed legislation this session that would restrict abortion.
She told the Tribune that a man’s masturbatory emission is “a waste … because that semen can be used -- and is to be used -- for creating more human life.”
“Men have to answer for their actions and so forth,” Farrar said. “So if there’s going to be an emission, it would have to be done in a hospital where the semen could be preserved for future pregnancies or it would be directly deposited into the vagina of a woman.”
Farrar’s comments that men should “have to answer for their actions” are a nod to statements made by Rep. Tony Tinderholt, R-Arlington, about a bill he filed this session that would abolish abortion.
That bill, HB 948, would charge women and doctors with murder for an abortion. Tinderholt has said the bill would force women to be “more personally responsible” with sex.
Tinderholt told the Tribune that he is “embarrassed for Representative Farrar.”
“Her attempt to compare [HB 4260] to the abortion issue shows a lack of a basic understanding of human biology. I would recommend that she consider taking a high school biology class from a local public or charter school before filing another bill on the matter,” he said.
Farrar has received some criticism online for proposing the bill, but has also received a lot of support for pointing out the unfair and sometimes dangerous restrictions Texas laws place on women’s health care.
“Texans deserve to be treated with the same amount of respect when making healthcare decisions, regardless of their gender,” Farrar said in the statement Saturday.
Lawmakers across the country frustrated by the passage of increasingly restrictive abortion laws have filed similar tongue-in-cheek bills in recent years targeting men.
Last year, for example, Kentucky State Rep. Mary Lou Marzian, D-Louisville, filed HB 396, which would require a man seeking a prescription for erectile dysfunction drugs to be legally married, secure permission from his spouse, and swear on a Bible that the drug would only be used while having sex with his wife.
In 2012, Oklahoma State Sen. Constance Johnson proposed an amendment to a “personhood” bill that would have defined masturbation as an act of violence against the unborn.
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