Ohio Bill Hopes to Help Protect Vulnerable Men from Dangers of Viagra

Some lawmakers say we need to do a better job of regulating men's health.
Some lawmakers say we need to do a better job of regulating men's health.

If women can't be trusted to make decisions about abortion and birth control without government interference, it stands to reason that men must need a little more guidance when it comes to vasectomies and erectile dysfunction, right?

In Ohio, Democratic state senator Nina Turner has introduced Senate Bill 307, which would restrict access to PDE-5 inhibitors like Viagra in order to "guide men to make the right decision for their bodies."

The bill would require doctors to get a notarized affidavit from "at least one of the patient's sexual partners" certifying that the patient has experienced impotence within the last 90 days, refer the patient to a sexual therapist to make sure that the patient's symptoms are not psychosomatic, conduct a cardiac stress test to make sure the patient is fit enough for sexual activity, and notify the patient in writing of the potential side-effects of the drugs. All of the above must be documented and, as in states where ultrasounds are mandated for women seeking abortions, the documents must be kept on file for at least seven years. In order to renew the prescription, the patient would have to undergo cardiac stress tests every 90 days and attend outpatient counseling.

"It is crucial that we take the appropriate steps to shelter vulnerable men from the potential side effects of these drugs," Turner said in a press release. "We must advocate for the traditional family, protect the sanctity of procreation and ensure that all men using PDE-5 inhibitors are healthy, stable, and educated about their options -- including celibacy as a viable life choice. This legislation will do just that."

Turner's bill may be a response to the controversial "heartbeat bill" sponsored by Republican state representative Lynn Wachtmann, which would make it a felony to perform an abortion if a fetal heartbeat has been detected, which can be as early as 5 1/2 to 6 1/2 weeks gestation, when the fetus is less than a quarter of an inch long (and before many women even know they're pregnant).

Last week, Virginia's governor signed a bill mandating that women seeking abortions must have an ultrasound done first; eleven other states have similar bills in the works, and seven other states already have such laws on the books.

"I'm fed up over all this concern, consideration and conversation over the feeble and fragile minds of women who are unable to make decisions on their own," Turner told MSNBC. "I thought it was time to show our men some love and some regulation. It was time to level the playing field for all."

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