Never underestimate the power of satire.
To draw attention to the lengths Texas Republicans will go to block abortion access under the thinly veiled guise of "protecting women," Houston Rep. Jessica Farrar has filed a bill called A Man's Right to Know. Under the bill, men would be penalized for "unregulated masturbatory emissions" (lol forever).
House Bill 4260 would encourage men to remain "fully abstinent" and only allow "occasional masturbatory emissions inside health care and medical facilities." This, according to the legislation, is the best way to ensure men's health (💁 💁 💁).
"A lot of people find the bill funny," Farrar told KOCO News. "What's not funny are the obstacles that Texas women face every day, that were placed there by legislatures making it very difficult for them to access healthcare."
— Jessica Farrar (@JFarrarDist148) January 22, 2017
The bill plays on obstacles that women in Texas face when trying to access a legal abortion. As a quick refresher, here are some of those obstacles, as outlined by the Guttmacher Institute: undergoing a mandatory consultation 24 hours before obtaining the procedure, viewing a mandatory ultrasound of the fetus, receiving counseling meant to discourage abortions, denial of public financial assistance unless the pregnancy endangers the life of the mother or resulted from rape or incest, and banning abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy because of the (medically unsupported) idea that a fetus can feel pain at that time.
For each emission made outside of a vagina or a medical facility, a man would face a $100 penalty — as it would be considered "an act against an unborn child, and failing to preserve the sanctity of life," according the Farrar's legislation.
Money gained from the fines would benefit children in the care of the Department of Family and Protective Services, and a registry would be created of non-profit organizations and hospitals that provide "fully abstinent encouragement counseling," along with supervising physicians for masturbatory emissions and proper storage of the semen.
Farrar, serving her 11th term as a Texas state representative for District 148, isn't new to speaking out about the state's problematic fetal remains bill, currently in committee, which would require hospitals to cremate or bury a fetus after an abortion or miscarriage.
The fetal remains bill imposes state-sponsored moral beliefs on women, affecting their ability to make personal decisions with their doctor.
— Jessica Farrar (@JFarrarDist148) March 8, 2017
Her bill also creates "A Man's Right to Know" booklet, that would precisely follow the rules and procedures of the informational booklet "A Woman's Right To Know," required reading for Texas women seeking termination of their pregnancies.
The bill states that during a consultation, a physician must read the booklet to their male patient — and then be required to "administer a medically-unnecessary digital rectal exam and magnetic resonance imagining of the rectum" to the men.
"It's to show how invasive this medically unnecessary procedure is," Farrar said in an interview, "When a woman has to have a trans-vaginal ultrasound, it has nothing to do with her healthcare. One of the state's objectives is to guilt her into changing her mind."
A doctor would also gain the right to "to invoke their personal, moralistic, or religious beliefs" if they refuse to prescribe Viagra or perform a vasectomy.
While the bill's likelihood of passing the Republican-dominated state legislature is low, Farrar hopes her bill will make men realize the onerousness of the obstacles women face in the pursuit of legal healthcare.
“What I would like to see is this make people stop and think,” she told the Texas Tribune. “Maybe my colleagues aren’t capable of that, but the people who voted for them, or the people that didn’t vote at all, I hope that it changes their mind and helps them to decide what the priorities are.”
"If the state's going to step in to the arena of women's healthcare," she said, "Lets look to the best practices of the doctors, not bad science, not political agendas and not votes in a Republican primary."
Bravo, Rep. Farrar. This queen 2020.