COLUMBUS – Before getting a prescription for Viagra or other erectile dysfunction drugs, men would have to see a sex therapist, receive a cardiac stress test and get a notarized affidavit signed by a sexual partner affirming impotency, if state Sen. Nina Turner has her way.
The Cleveland Democrat introduced Senate Bill 307 this week.
A critic of efforts to restrict abortion and contraception for women, Turner says she is concerned about men’s reproductive health. Turner’s bill joins a trend of female lawmakers submitting bills regulating men’s health. Turner said if state policymakers want to legislate women’s health choices through measures such as House Bill 125, known as the “Heartbeat bill,” they should also be able to legislate men’s reproductive health. Ohio anti-abortion advocates say the two can’t be compared.
Heartbeat bill sponsor Rep. Lynn Wachtmann, R-Napoleon, said comparing his bill to Turner’s would be like comparing apples to bananas. The Heartbeat bill would prohibit abortion once a heartbeat is detected, as early as six weeks into a pregnancy.
“I understand some women think my bill is a personal affront,” Wachtmann said. “Protecting the unborn — to compare this to Viagra is not even related.”
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.”
States passed a record 92 abortion-related bills in 2011, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a research organization that focuses on reproductive health. At the same time, fewer than one in four state legislators nationwide are women — they number 23 percent in Ohio — according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.