Op-Ed

Political gain not piety driving abortion bills

The Kentucky General Assembly is dominated by men, who often want to control women’s health issues.
The Kentucky General Assembly is dominated by men, who often want to control women’s health issues. cbertram@herald-leader.com

I recently filed House Bill 396 to illustrate the absurdity of government encroachment into women’s personal and medical decisions running amok in the Kentucky General Assembly and Bevin administration.

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

With just a few exceptions, these efforts are being perpetrated upon Kentucky women by white men, under the guise of religious rants and false facts. In reality their crusade is for political gain and re-election.

The conservative movement sweeping Kentucky has women in the crosshairs of its battle to take over government at all levels, and it’s time we recognize this hypocrisy for what it is.

As these legislators and our governor increase efforts to mandate their presence in our doctors’ examining rooms I believe it is time to regulate men’s reproductive choices.

HB 396 would allow for that by requiring a man visit his doctor twice and have a signed permission slip from his spouse to obtain a prescription for erectile dysfunction.

He would also have to swear on a Bible that his prescription would only be used for sexual relations with his current spouse.

These may seem like 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 made more complicated and burdensome by legislative intrusion.

HB 396 could protect unmarried women from becoming pregnant by philandering men using Viagra, thus reducing the number of abortions from unwanted pregnancies.

Anti-abortion proponents — who espouse family values — should applaud HB 396, especially the opportunity to declare their honest intentions upon the Holy Bible.

It also seems these concerned folks would champion birth-control access and sex education to enlighten their constituents about unintended consequences including sexually transmitted diseases.

However, my decades-long advocacy for women’s rights tells me that HB 396, a true leveling of the reproductive rights playing field, will not see the light of day in a legislative committee meeting any time soon.

The stranglehold male lawmakers have on legislating private medical issues applies solely to Kentucky women and that should outrage every one of us.

The best I can hope is that HB 396 will galvanize women into saying “enough is enough” to their governor, senator and state representative with phone calls, emails and protests to end this untenable legislative assault on women’s bodies and minds.

Rep. Mary Lou Marzian, D-Louisville, represents Kentucky House District 34.

At issue: Feb. 14 Herald-Leader article, “Kentucky lawmaker spoofs anti-abortion measures with Viagra bill”

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