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The Kentucky lawmaker who wants men to ask wives’ permission to take Viagra

State representative Mary Lou Marzian hopes tongue-in-cheek bill will make her male counterparts reconsider how laws police womens bodies and sexualities

Kentucky lawmaker Mary Lou Marzian introduced a bill to ban men from accessing Viagra unless they had a signed note from their wife, two doctor visits and a sworn promise that theyd only use the drugs with their spouse.

The registered nurse wanted to highlight the difference in politics between men and womens health regulations. Kentucky has 4.4 million people and only two abortion clinics. New laws signed by Governor Matt Bevin last week make it even more difficult for women to access abortions.

Marzian spoke to the Guardian about the tongue-in-cheek bill in the states house of representatives, which has 80 male legislators and just 20 female ones.

Tell us about the erectile dysfunction drug bill. What is it?

The bill would require a man to have to get two visits to his prescribing physician prior to getting medication for erectile disfunction and to make sure he understands all of the ramifications of taking a medication that could have serious side-effects.

We profess in Kentucky to be so pro-family values so the man has to get a note from his current wife and can only use it in a marital relationship.

Whats the motivation behind this move?

Its a very serious issue when legislators start intruding upon private and personal decisions and we do that all across this country and in Kentucky, to legislate interactions between a woman and her physician.

My question is, why? Why do the legislators think they can dictate medical care to people who actually have medical degrees? We dont tell people how to do open heart surgery, we dont tell people how to have a kidney transplant, why do we tell women and doctors you have to do an ultrasound, you have to have two visits.

It makes abortion not an option for a lot of women. If youre rich, you can fly out of state. If youre poor, you cant.

Why use a Viagra bill to focus on abortion?

I wanted them [male legislators] to wake up and pay attention, which they do when you interfere with their sexuality or their ability to have sexual intercourse. A lot of the legislators are like children and they tee-hee about sex, so I wanted to show them how it would feel for a women to tell them you would have to follow these rules, because we dont think youre smart enough, we dont think you can make these decisions of yourself.

What was the catalyst to introduce it now?

We passed an informed consent bill [meaning women must have another doctors consultation 24 hours before the abortion appointment] and the governor happened to be signing it last Thursday. Weve had five or six anti-choice bills introduced in this house.

The more I kept reading these bills and seeing this two-visit bill, I just got more and more angry and thought we need to be doing the work of the people, working on education, on jobs. Kentucky is a very poor state, government is cutting the budget by 9%. We need to be looking at that instead of always focusing on womens uteruses.

Whats it like being a female Democratic pro-choice lawmaker in Kentucky?

Its been very frustrating over the years. Weve been able to hold off abortion bills over 15 years but last year we elected a Tea Party Republican governor who is anti-choice. That has made the anti-choice Republicans much bolder.

Ive been in 22 years and very vocal about being pro-choice. I have a bumper sticker on my office door that says if youre against abortion, dont have one.

Legislators, mainly the Republicans, they get up and talk about that women are not making moral decisions, they call women murderers. A legislator got up and said he found out years after that an ex-girlfriend had had an abortion, and he said she murdered his baby.

My answer to this gentlemen: you had unprotected sex with someone that you never bothered to check up on afterwards, and you make yourself the victim? The hypocrisy is outstanding.

What other frustrations do you encounter when it comes to handling male legislators regulating womens healthcare?

Theyre very selective on government intrusion.

If these people voted for booster seats [a bill to ensure children under eight ride on booster seats in cars] but they dont, if they would vote for smoking bans in public places they dont, increasing dollars to foster care they vote against that. So theyre all for the fetus, but once youre here, youre on your own.

They are all family values, but all on their second and third wives.

The wording of this bill is so funny, do you enjoy this side of politics?

We dont write our bills, a staffer does, but I called her and said exactly what I want in it, such as from a current wife. It was a blast, we had a good time.

But its really rewarding to see all the women who have finally said were not going to take this any more. Hopefully theyll take that and vote for pro-choice candidates.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

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