Satirical bills create dialogue about reproductive rights
Access to reliable, reasonable and affordable healthcare for everyone should not be an object of fantasy in this country; it should be an easily accessible reality. Reproductive care is becoming less accessible — especially with the hits Planned Parenthood is taking.
Satirical bills like the one Texas Representative Jessica Farrar introduced during the legislative session are necessary to show the vast differences in legislation regarding gender-based reproductive health care. Women who already earn less in the workplace need to been seen as autonomous beings by legislators, and the introduction of satirical bills lend to that claim.
This piece of legislation is posed to force those differences in healthcare based on sex into the light.
Farrar titled her legislation the Man’s Right to Know Act, drawing inspiration from the Woman’s Right to Know Act. The Man’s Right to Know Act entitles doctors to deny men health care due to religious beliefs, promotes fully abstaining from sex as a form of contraceptive and allows only the “occasional masturbatory emissions inside healthcare and medical facilities.” To masturbate for any other reason but procreation would result in a fine of $100.
Because men fail to recognize the prospect of a potential life resulting from their masturbation, Farrar’s proposition is meant to highlight the invasive and unnecessary protocols women undergo when seeking an abortion: mandating an ultrasound. To remedy this, the Man’s Right to Know Act proposes each emission be “stored for the purpose of conception for a current or future wife.”
This ‘potential life per sperm’ can be paralleled to the opinions stating a woman must be entirely conscious of the fact that all of her eggs could potentially result in a baby. In this concept, every fertilized egg is a baby and the woman should stay entirely conscious of that every time she has sex. This is what makes the healthcare experience so unequal.
If any of this sounds familiar, look at the 468 pieces of legislation, as of 2014, intended to control a woman’s reproductive organs. These regulations range from the Ultrasound Opportunity Act to Abolition of Abortion in Texas Act. Meanwhile, there are zero acts pertaining to men. For every imposition on a woman’s choice, there should be a bill of the same stature for men.
Having a penis as opposed to a vagina should not be a saving grace in our healthcare system; legislation should be passed that influences men to have to constantly defend the right to their own body, too, as women do. But Farrar’s proposed legislation isn’t meant to be approved. It is meant to open a dialogue by using satire.
Representative Tony Tinderholt, who introduced the Abolition of Abortion in Texas Act, chastised Farrar for her “lack of basic understanding of human biology.” It seems that he lacks a basic understanding of satire.
This humorous, sarcastic, satirical approach to lawmaking isn’t a new trend.
Georgia State Representative Yasmin Neal proposed an anti-vasectomy bill, stating vasectomies deprive children of “the opportunity to be born.” Virginia State Senator Janet Howell introduced a bill that would require men to have an unnecessary rectal exam before being prescribed Viagra.
South Carolina State Senator Mia McLeod constructed a bill like Rep. Howell’s but wrote it to mimic the hoops that women have to jump through to get an abortion: go to a licensed sex therapist to make sure a man understands how to have sex, require a 24-hour waiting period, seek outpatient counseling.
The goal was not for any of the legislation to get passed. The goal was to bring to light the atrocities and injustice in the public health system. Opening a discussion on how equality in healthcare doesn’t translate into reality is important. The politicians — mainly women — who propose the bills and amendments are working to do just that: create a place for dialogue.
Though the real reason for proposing the satirical bills seems to be lost on some, it is a step in the right direction. Many female lawmakers have been using this tool for some time now. Hopefully it makes a more significant impact this time around.
Columnist Jackie Wostrel is a public relations freshman and can be reached [email protected]