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Democrats shift tactics on women's health battleground

An Ohio state senator introduced a bill this week that would require men to provide a signed affidavit from a sex partner confirming symptoms of impotence before receiving prescriptions for Viagra or other erectile dysfunction drugs.

Senator Nina Turner says the bill aims to "protect men from the harmful effects of PDE-5 inhibitors. . . prescribed to men who are experiencing symptoms of male impotence" but also make a point about legislation limiting women's access to sexual and reproductive healthcare that has been proposed or passed by Republican lawmakers across the country.

"All across the country, including in Ohio, I though since men are certainly paying great attention to women's health that we should definitely return the favour," Turner told the U.S. political news website Talking Points Memo.

From the site:

Turner's bill mimics language found in Ohio's so-called Heartbeat Bill, which passed the Ohio state House and is now pending in the Senate. The bill would ban abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected, sometimes as early as six weeks into a pregnancy. Turner’s bill, she says, offers men a taste of their own medicine — it would require physicians to inform patients in writing of the risks involved in taking erectile dysfunction drugs and requires men to sign a document acknowledging the risks, just like the anti-abortion bill does.

"I care about the health of men as well, and I thought it only fair that we illustrate that and make sure that a man is fully informed of the risks involved in taking these drugs and also the alternatives such as natural remedies or also celibacy," Turner said.

Turner's is one of several similar bills that have been introduced by women Democrat senators recently.

Senator Janet Howell introduced an amendment to Virginia's controversial abortion ultrasound bill that would require men to get a rectal examine and cardiac stress test before obtaining a prescription for erectile dysfunction meds.

Georgia State Representative Yasmin Neal proposed a bill in February that would ban vasectomies except for men who would otherwise die or suffer serious health consequences, a response to a recently-passed House bill under that ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

"It is patently unfair that men can avoid unwanted fatherhood by presuming that their judgment over such matters is more valid than the judgment of the General Assembly, while women's ability to decide is constantly up for debate throughout the United States," said Neal.

Colleen Kimmett reports for The Tyee.

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