This column may contain strong language, sexual content, adult humor, and other themes that may not be suitable for minors. Parental guidance is strongly advised.
A funny thing happened at a state legislature recently. A female legislator, a Democrat, responding to HB481, a bill that passed the Georgia House of Representatives by a mere two votes—the “heartbeat bill” essentially bans abortion as soon as a heartbeat is detected in the womb, or as early as six weeks—drafted her own “testicular bill of rights.”
Her intent, of course, was to highlight the utter ridiculousness, not to mention outright misogyny, of the continuous efforts of government (and men) to control a woman’s uterus and her right to choose, and even her right of access to contraception. If the tables were turned, would men agree that the government—as well as other men and women—had the right to decide what their testicles could and couldn’t do? The testicles being the sperm factory, producing the millions of sperm of which one is only necessary to fertilize and egg and form an embryo.
Since the majority of women who seek abortions have usually fallen pregnant via the tried and tested method of sexual intercourse, shouldn’t men’s ability to contribute to conception also be regulated? Why should women be forced to proceed with a pregnancy they may not want for whatever reasons—and they are almost always not frivolous reasons—while men face no consequences for spilling their seed?
As Georgia State Representative Dar’shun Kendrick proposed in reply to draconian anti-abortion legislation, her draft bill would:
- Require men to obtain permission from their sex partner before they are able to obtain a prescription for Viagra or any erectile dysfunction medication.
- Ban vasectomy procedures in Georgia, both in part or whole, with the name punitive measures for performing the procedure that are listed in HB 481.
- Make it an “aggravated assault” crime for men to have sex without a condom.
- Require DNA testing when a woman is 6 weeks and 1 day (to be performed before she is 8 weeks) to determine the father of the child who shall IMMEDIATELY start paying child support.
- A 24-hour “Waiting period” for men to purchase porn or sex toys in the state of Georgia.
I mean, why not, right? Because, hey, you want to regulate bodies and choice? Make it apply to everyone across the board, both the sperm producers and the ovary bearers!
Kendrick knows her “testicular bill of rights” has no chance of passing, but that’s not her point. The “heartbeat bill” is clearly unconstitutional, and she wants to bring attention to the relentless efforts by government (generally male-dominated) to ignore “the fundamental right of women to choose their life and destiny by making choices about their bodies and when to start a family.”
Basically her draft legislation takes the piss out of the “heartbeat bill” and says, well, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander, so why don’t we tell men what they can do with their d*cks? She told Rolling Stone that she wanted to “bring awareness to the fact that if you’re going to legislate our bodies, then we have every right to propose legislation to regulate yours,”
Speaking to CBS News, she said, “HB-481 [The ‘Heartbeat Bill’] inspired me to see what the reaction would be from some males and male legislators if the tables were turned and we started to talk about their reproductive rights and organs. It has started the conversation about the absurdity of regulating women’s bodies and right to choice and instead focused on men and their rights.”
Georgia is not the first state—nor is the United States the first country—to attempt to criminalize abortions. A Texas state representative, Tony Tinderholt, proposed a bill a few years back that would criminalize abortions, his reasoning being that it would make women “more personally responsible” for their sexual behavior. He’s a Republican, in case you were wondering.
Vicki Larson, writing in Medium, was not having any of this bullsh*t. “I know I am not the only woman who says, enough. I am so tired of men telling me what I can and can’t do with my own body — especially since no one is requiring anything even remotely similar for men. Don’t they need to be “more personally responsible” for their sexual behavior, Rep. Tinderholt? (Who has been married five times, had one wife get a restraining order against and who admitted marrying once ‘for insurance reasons;’ yeah, he sure can tell us how to be ‘responsible’).”
Lest we think we are more enlightened here in the Philippines, remember that in a country where divorce is still not allowed, where abortion is still illegal, and where women’s access to birth control and sexual health education is still restricted, despite the Reproductive Health Law having been passed mandating exactly these, women are held to a different standard than men when it comes to sexual matters. Women who are raped are still blamed for “asking for it” because of what she wore, what she drank, and what she might have said, even if that might have included the word “no” uttered several times. Women who become pregnant outside of marriage are still often vilified for their carelessness, while men are rarely held to account at all. And how dare a woman publicly identify her rapist? Does she care that she is ruining a man’s life and reputation?
Why don’t we start caring a bit more about women and their welfare instead?
B. Wiser is the author of Making Love in Spanish, a novel published by Anvil Publishing and available in National Book Store and Powerbooks, as well as online. When not assuming her Sasha Fierce alter-ego, she takes on the role of serious journalist and media consultant.
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Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely those of the author in her private capacity and do not in any way represent the views of Preen.ph, or any other entity of the Inquirer Group of Companies.
Art by Marian Hukom
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