Viagra plays into proposed 'informed consent' law

by Gregory Tomlin |

(REUTERS/Mark Blinch)

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Christian Examiner) – Less than two weeks after Gov. Matt Bevin signed an abortion bill that requires women in Kentucky to have a face-to-face or video consultation with a doctor before ending a pregnancy, a female state representative has filed a satirical bill in front of the Kentucky House of Representatives that aims to hit men below the belt.

Rep. Mary Lou Marzian [D-Louisville] introduced House Bill 396 which would require – if ever passed – a man seeking a prescription for erectile dysfunction drugs to visit a doctor twice (on two different days), obtain his wife's written consent, and make him swear an oath on the Bible that the drug will not be used in an extra-marital relationship.

In a commentary in Louisville's Courier-Journal, Marzian – a retired nurse and 22 year veteran of the legislature – wrote that she introduced the bill to "illustrate the absurdity of government encroachment into women's personal and medical decisions."

"A rash of anti-abortion bills have been filed, and one is now law, that places extreme hardship and emotional stress upon women and strips away their rights to make choices about their health care, future and well being," she wrote.

That Marzian is perturbed at what she called the "white men" of the legislature, with their "religious rants and false facts," is apparent in the language of the bill. She describes the litany of treatments for erectile dysfunction in the bill (most of which Christian Examiner cannot print), but she also includes the complications from the condition and contributing factors as justifications for the physician visits. The preamble also includes the side effects of the medication.

"As these legislators and our governor increase efforts to mandate their presence in our doctor's examining rooms I believe it is time we regulate men's reproductive choices," Marzian wrote in the commentary.

She said the measures in the bill may sound "salacious, outrageous or even comical measures, but I assure you women in Kentucky aren't laughing as they struggle with gut-wrenching decisions about unintended pregnancies now made more complicated and burdensome by legislative intrusion."

The American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky called Marzian a "reproductive rights champion" on its Facebook page. The liberal pro-abortion group also called the bill "interesting."

One ACLU supporter wrote that a male patient should be required "to have a test that proves he is impotent and be required to consult with his preacher for permission to have intercourse without the intention of procreation."

Another wrote, "Finally, a lawmaker with a sense of humor."

Conservative lawmakers aren't laughing. Bruce Wilkerson, spokesman for Speaker of the House Greg Stumbo, said satire was not unprecedented in the legislature, but he offered no further comment.

Marzian, who introduced the Viagra bill on the same day Gov. Bevin ceremonially signed Kentucky's informed consent law, told Reuters she has plans to introduce a bill requiring gun buyers to meet with victims of gun violence before they can purchase firearms.

"That would also be to make a point. It will not go anywhere," she said.