DALLAS — If state Rep. Jessica Farrar has her way, men in Texas will pay a $100 fine for "unregulated masturbatory emissions" and undergo a digital rectal exam to get a vasectomy, a colonoscopy or a Viagra prescription.
Farrar's proposed legislation, filed last week, calls on the Department of State Health Services to explain the rules in an illustrated booklet titled "A Man's Right to Know."
Sound familiar? The Houston Democrat's bill is a satirical version of a Texas law passed in 2011 that requires women to have a sonogram and hear a detailed description of the fetus before getting an abortion. Those rules are outlined in a booklet produced by the state called "A Woman's Right to Know."
"A lot of people find the bill funny," Farrar told the Houston Chronicle. "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 to access health care."
Farrar's bill penalizes masturbatory emissions outside a vagina or a medical facility, describing them as "an act against an unborn child" that fails to preserve "the sanctity of life."
Fines collected under the measure would be funneled to the Department of Family and Protective Services for the care of children.
The lawmaker proposes that the state keep a registry of private hospitals and organizations that counsel men to stay "fully abstinent," offer physicians to supervise masturbation and store semen for future conception.
Men seeking a vasectomy, a colonoscopy or a Viagra prescription would first undergo a "medically unnecessary" digital rectal exam and magnetic resonance imaging of the rectum, per Farrar's bill. After the exam, men would have to wait at least 24 hours before they could get the procedure or the prescription they wanted.
These provisions of the Democrat's bill echo the 2011 Texas law requiring women to take two trips to a clinic to get an abortion. The bill also calls on the state to include medically accurate and objective information in its booklet for men.
The "Woman's Right to Know" pamphlet that Texas women must receive 24 hours before an abortion has been criticized for listing refuted research linking abortion to a higher risk of breast cancer.
Farrar's measure would also thwart lawsuits against physicians who refused to perform vasectomies and colonoscopies or prescribe Viagra due to their "personal, moralistic or religious belief."
The Texas Capitol has been churning out anti-abortion legislation for years. But the state's conservatives were dealt a blow last year when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that two provisions of a 2013 Texas law were unconstitutional. One would have required abortion clinics to have admitting privileges at hospitals, and another would have made clinics adhere to standards of ambulatory surgical centers.
The country's highest court decided that those provisions would place an undue burden on women.
Yet the ruling has not deterred abortion foes in Texas, who have filed bills this session that would ban what they call "partial-birth" and "dismemberment" abortions. Doctors point out that neither phrase is a medical term and that late-term abortions in which the fetus is removed from the uterus intact are already illegal.
Meanwhile, a federal judge has temporarily blocked Texas from enforcing a rule requiring fetal remains from abortions and miscarriages to be buried or cremated.