Texas lawmaker files unusual bill to troll anti-abortion legislation

Texas lawmaker files unusual bill to troll anti-abortion legislation
Texas state Rep. Jessica Farrar (D) filed legislation that would fine men for masturbation and restrict access to health care procedures, such as colonoscopies and vasectomies. Her bill, while satirical, is an effort to shed light on restrictions placed in anti-abortion legislation, she said. (Harry Cabluck, The Associated Press)

A state lawmaker in Texas has proposed an unusual bill targeting men’s masturbation habits — in an effort to highlight what she says are restrictive anti-abortion laws filed by men.

While satirical, state Rep. Jessica Farrar’s (D) House Bill 4260 encourages men to remain “fully abstinent” and would allow only the “occasional masturbatory emissions inside health care and medical facilities,” according to the Houston Chronicle.

Should a man make an emission outside of a medical facility or vagina, he could face a $100 penalty for an act that would be considered “an act against an unborn child, and failing to preserve the sanctity of life.”

The fine would then go to benefit the children in the care of the Department of Family and Protective Services, the Chronicle reported.

“A lot of people find the bill funny,” Farrar said. “What’s not funny are the obstacles that Texas women face every day  that were placed there by legislatures making it very difficult for them access health care.”

The bill would also allow doctors to refuse to perform vasectomies or colonoscopies or write prescriptions for Viagra should any of those actions go against his or her personal, moral or religious beliefs. The state would also issue a booklet called “A Man’s Right to Know” for doctors to read to patients — a mirror of the contentious state-issued “A Woman’s Right to Know” pamphlet read to women who wish to receive an abortion.

With the legislation, patients also would be required to wait 24 hours before a procedure is performed.

Doctors would also be required to “administer a medically unnecessary digital rectal exam and magnetic resonance imagining of the rectum,” the bill states.

These measures are indicative of procedures — such as the trans-vaginal ultrasound — women in Texas must undergo in order to receive an abortion, Farrar said.

“It’s to show how invasive this medically unnecessary procedure is,” Farrar said. “When a woman has to have a trans-vaginal ultrasound, it has nothing to do with her health care. One of the state’s objectives is to guilt her into changing her mind.”

“If the state’s going to step in to the arena of women’s health care, lets look to the best practices of the doctors, not bad science, not political agendas and not votes in a Republican primary,” she continued.

In a statement to the Texas Tribune, state Rep. Tony Tinderholt (R) said Farrar lacked “a basic understanding of human biology.”

Tinderholt said:

I’m embarrassed for Representative Farrar. Her attempt to compare [HB 4260] to the abortion issue shows a lack of a basic understanding of human biology. I would recommend that she consider taking a high school biology class from a local public or charter school before filing another bill on the matter.

Farrar has decried a number of anti-abortion laws debated in Texas recently, including one measure that would require hospitals to bury or cremate fetal remains. She was also critical of Tinderholt’s bill that would criminalize abortion and allow for doctors who perform abortions, as well as the women who have them, to be charged with murder.

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