You bet we do.
Gender parity in legislative bills that impact our sexual and reproductive health is finally on the rise. Two hats off to several legislators who are introducing bills that bring the ludicrosity of the recent attacks on women and the outrageous patronizing of women’s ability to make their own sexual and reproductive choices into the light.
Ohio state Senator Nina Turner (D-Cleveland) has introduced a bill that would require men to have mandatory psychological screenings before obtaining a Viagra prescription to treat erectile dysfunction. She is also calling for mandatory sex therapy for these men. My colleagues and I will be very busy in the coming years should this come to fruition. And why shouldn’t it? For far too long we have looked for the magic pill to make our sexuality better and it’s almost always a band aid on the real issues that plague people about their sex lives and sexual health.
In February, when the Virginia Senate was debating a bill that requires women seeking an abortion to get a transvaginal ultrasound, state Senator Janet Howell introduced an amendment to the bill that would have required men to get a rectal exam and cardiac stress tests before obtaining a prescription for erectile dysfunction medication. Her amendment did not pass, but the bill did. To require women to have an unnecessary penetrative ultrasound that has nothing to do with an abortion procedure is not merely ridiculous—it’s an abhorrent, dehumanizing way that our government thinks they can stick it to us when they don’t like our personal choices.
Nine women lawmakers in the Missouri Legislature proposed a similar vasectomy bill, which 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.”
Check out Senator Turner’s interview on MSNBC, where she eloquently and passionately states why she is looking out for men’s sexual and reproductive health, just as legislators are looking out for women’s best interests.
You better believe I’ll be following this closely and I hope that every woman and man who believe in gender equity and basic human rights—which must include sexual rights—will be very vigilant about what these lawmakers are trying to do. You have the right to your sexuality, your sexual pleasure and your own sexual and reproductive choices. It’s time for people to stop being silent about that deep desire for freedom and to speak openly about the fact that our sexual and reproductive rights are essential to our basic humanity and our fulfillment as human beings.