Female Lawmakers Introducing Bills Against Vasectomies, Viagra

by W.F. Price on March 12, 2012

A number of female lawmakers, angered by limits on abortion and opposition to free birth control, are fighting back by introducing bills to curtail men’s access to vasectomies, viagra and other medications and procedures related to men’s sexual function and fertility.

The bills aren’t serious, of course, but the money these women are being paid to be genuine legislators (rather than comedians) is quite real.

So far, a female legislator in Georgia has stated that she intends to introduce a vasectomy-restricting bill in retaliation for Republicans opposing birth control subsidies, nine more lawmaker women in Missouri have done the same, and one female legislator in Ohio has introduced a bill limiting access to viagra. All are Democrats.

The viagra bill strikes me as particularly incongruous. Sexual function and abortion may be tangentially related, but they are pretty clearly different issues. Given that viagra influences whether or not the sex act is possible, and that it is men who must perform sex and women who attract sex, limiting viagra as a form of retaliation might make sense if men had passed laws against cosmetic enhancement procedures and brazilian waxing outfits and the like, but not abortion.

The vasectomy-restricting bills hit a little closer to the mark, but they, too, fail the test. For one thing, I don’t think anyone anywhere pays for men’s vasectomies besides the men who elect to have them themselves, so limiting vasectomies in retaliation for men not giving women free birth control simply exposes the entitlement mentality. Additionally, vasectomies are in fact limited in practice. Many surgeons require notification of the spouse before performing the procedure. I strongly suspect this is because the physician may be liable under tort law in a number of states.

All this amounts to is political showmanship, but it does give us a hint of what’s to come in a more gender-equal political environment: a much, much heavier emphasis on women’s sexual and reproductive issues in legislatures, which is ironic, because women have been chanting slogans about keeping laws off their bodies for decades now. Rather than less focus on legislating sexuality, it appears that we will have substantially more.

As for abortion, its opponents don’t see it as a form of birth control, but rather murder. They are not trying to control women’s sexuality, but instead protect what they see as innocent human beings. Reasonable people may disagree as to whether their interpretation of when human life begins is correct or not, but as far as they see the issue sexual freedom is essentially irrelevant once human life enters the equation. Therefore, equating vasectomies and viagra to abortion is not going to change anyone’s mind, and will simply inflame the debate and waste time and taxpayer money in legislatures.

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