Fighting back with sperm personhood and Viagra limitations

By Ann Rose, cross-posted at On The Issues Magazine

Since 1976 when the Hyde Amendment passed, I’ve been hopelessly annoyed with the pro-choice movement for always being on the defensive. We are always fighting insane bills cooked up by the anti-abortion movement and never advancing our own agenda.

Thankfully, in retaliation for the states passing more anti-abortion legislation in 2011 than ever, some creative state legislators are now introducing their own tongue-in-cheek legislation to highlight the absurdity of anti-abortion personhood, waiting period and see-your-sonogram proposals.

The legislature in Mississippi is currently trying to legislate fetal “personhood” — only several months after the state’s “Personhood Amendment” was flushed down the drain by voters in a ballot measure.

Thankfully, some brave and inventive women legislators all over the country are retaliating with their own “Sperm Personhood Legislation.”

To quote Charlotte Taft of the Abortion Care Network: “I hate to remind you of the slaughter, but every day billions of sperm die an agonizing death of dehydration in socks, towels, and, well… places you cannot even imagine. Studies have shown that sperm feel pain while they are still in the testes. A little known scientific fact is that these sperm in pain are the source of the heartbreaking malady known as ‘Blue Balls.’ Besides this very real pain, for years the vicious Women’s Lib Birth Control Movement has sought to deprive sperm of the very thing they need to stay alive –an egg.”

And, to further highlight the absurdity of “personhood” laws and other encroachments on women’s reproductive rights, Wilmington Delaware City Councilman Loretta Walsh introduced (and it passed 8-4) a resolution which declares that “[E]ach ‘egg person’ and each ‘sperm person’ should be deemed equal in the eyes of the government and be subject to the same laws and regulations as any other dependent minor and be protected against abuse, neglect or abandonment by the parent or guardian.”

One creative blogger on DailyKos suggests other antitdotes to the anti-abortion “personhood” proposals: “Attach any of these as amendments: 1) The mother is allowed to claim the zygote as a dependent on her taxes; 2) Give the zygote a vote beginning with the next election, as interpreted by the mother (pray for twins, ladies — you’ll get three votes); 3) Give the zygote the right to collect Social Security, food stamps, and other “entitlement” resources; 4) Give the zygote residential status beginning at conception; 5) Attach an amendment saying fathers owe child support beginning at conception.”

Even though the irony escapes most Republicans, other innovative legislators have envisioned new bills to address the “personhood” silliness. According to the Huffington Post, Oklahoma Democrat, State Sen. Constance Johnson, introduced (and then withdrew) an anti-masturbation amendment, reading: “(A)ny action in which a man ejaculates or otherwise deposits semen anywhere but in a woman’s vagina shall be interpreted and construed as an action against an unborn child.”

Vasectomy regulations are also popping up as countermeasures to anti-women laws. Rep. Yasmin Neal introduced a protest bill limiting vasectomies for men since the Georgia legislature is considering limiting abortion for women. As her colleague Sen. Nan Orrock noted, with approaval, it’s “a bill for all women who are tired of the double standard perpetuated by men”.

Viagra limitations are also gaining steam. As the Virginia legislature considered a bill requiring women to undergo mandatory ultrasounds before abortions, State Sen. Janet Howell suggested an amendment mandating that men get an invasive rectal exam and a cardiac stress test prior to the possibility of erectile dysfunction treatment.

 

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