Thursday, April 26, 2012

Levitra and sex discrimination

In the good old days when men were men and women knew their place, laws were implemented no matter how much they offended the principles of equality. Now the wheel has turned, and the law has recognized the principle that, in order to enjoy the fundamental freedoms guaranteed under the Constitution, the treatment accorded men and women must be the same. Except there are issues when, somehow, this principle seems to be ignored. For some, the dictates of religion trump secular ideas of equality, particularly when it comes to abortion. In recent bills brought before the lawmakers in various states, there's a new aggression in the air. For example, the Senates in Idaho, Virginia, Texas and eight other states are slowly edging toward the passing of laws to require women to have a fetal ultrasound examination before being allowed to proceed with the abortion. In Virginia, the issue has reached such a point that police in riot gear were recently called to defend the steps into the Capitol. To the majority of women, this is an invasion of the privacy between a doctor and the patient. Worse, it legislates on a strictly medical matter for a political purpose. There's no medical reason to have a fetal ultrasound. Indeed, since it requires a probe to be inserted into the vagina, it's considered inappropriate. In this instance, its only purpose is as a deterrent to women about to go through an abortion procedure.

To correct the balance, Larry Farnese, a Democrat Senator in Pennsylvania, has drafted a bill to require all men to have a full prostate examination before being allowed a prescription for an erectile dysfunction drug. If it's suggested there's no physical cause for the dysfunction, the requirement would shift to require attendance in sex therapy sessions to determine whether there are psychological problems that need to be addressed. In both cases, there would also be a video to watch that would detail the known side effects to using the dysfunction drugs. As you will understand, the purpose of the bill is to make it as much a hassle for men to get treatment as it would be for women to get an abortion. It's actually a direct response to a bill introduced by Kathy Rapp, a Republican, called "The Woman's Right To Know Act", i.e. to know the fetal age of the baby and to confirm its heart is still beating by inserting a transvaginal probe.

It would be pleasing to be able to write that battle has now been joined in Pennsylvania but, unfortunately, the Republicans have a ten-seat majority and can quickly vote down any Democrat bill. But it has at least got people talking which is always a good thing. Up to now, it's largely been seen as a women-only issue. But if men actually believed they might be made to jump through hoops to get their levitra, they might have a little more sympathy for women. So here's the sixty-four-thousand dollar question for you. Do you believe it appropriate for our law-makers to be legislating to mandate unnecessary medical procedures? With the Supreme Court about to hear argument on the mandate of health insurance, it would be ironic if access to both levitra and abortion were also subject to mandated procedures.

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