Of Geese & Ganders in the healthcare debate!
Turning The Table On Birth Control: Sen. Introduces Bill For Erectile Dysfunction Drugs
By Meghan Casserly, Forbes Staff
March 5, 2012
In either a most ingenious use of poetic justice or a hilariously calculated media move in response to the ongoing contraception debate, Ohio state senator Nina Turner (D-Cleveland) announced legislation on Friday to protect men from the risks of PDE-5 inhibitors, drugs commonly used to treat symptoms of impotence.
Turner's legislation includes provisions to document that the symptoms are not psychological in nature, and would guide men to make the right decision for their bodies. According to the press release, physicians would be required to obtain a second opinion from a psychological professional to verify that a patient has a true medical malady before the medication could be prescribed.
The legislation follows the FDA's recommendation that the evaluation of erectile dysfunction should include a determination of potential underlying causes and the identification of appropriate treatment following a complete medical assessment. Similar bills to more closely regulate reproductive health issues have been introduced in the state legislatures of Virginia, Oklahoma, Idaho, and most recently Pennsylvania.
"A prescription for medication of this kind
should require an assessment that targets the
nature of the problemspecifically to assess
whether it's psychological or physical,"
said Turner by phone on Monday.
"There are serious health risks and side
effects associated with taking these treatments
and I want to make sure that the fragile and
vulnerable men of our country understand all
of the factors before they take the drugs."
To that end, Turner's legislature includes language to ensure men understand both the ramifications of their sexual health decisions, and, Turner said,
"to make sure they understand that there are
other options out there, whether they're natural
remedies or celibacy."
"The men in the policy making positions of this
country have spent a generous amount of time
working to protect the well-being of women
through their reproductive health,"
"I thought it was only fair that we look out
for men in the same way."
[Insert dry chuckle here]
Turner told me that, like many other women in the country, she's been watching the public discourse over women's health with growing outrage, and that this recent piece of legislation is in direct response.
"the fact that policy makers and candidates
have decided that the number one national
issue is regulating a woman's womb is absolutely
she said, noting that in her role as a state senator her constituents rarely approach her to ask for her help with reproductive health issues, but rather why unemployment rates stay so high, why they can't pay their mortgages or why their school systems are crumbling.
"They have real problems,"
she told me.
"This whole country has real problems, but
instead of dealing with these issues the
public discourse is over the regulation of
a woman's womb."
And so, after failed attempts to get conversations in her home state of Ohio back on track, Turner has gone to the extreme, presenting a piece of legislature that, while she says she's "deadly serious" about, concedes is intended as a wakeup call to the country. She recognizes the sad humor of the legislation, but hopes that, as it's done in the past, its satire can be put to good use.
"The best outcome is that we will wake up
and do the right thing,"
"And doing the right thing is moving past
an unnecessary and outrageous debate and
begin to put our country back on track. To
put our people back to work, to educate our
children and to helping the economy hum
again. And to let people take care of their
own healthcare decisions."