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‘Caveman caucuses’ overreach

Published: Sun, March 18, 2012 @ 12:00 a.m.

By Bertram de Souza (Contact)

Ohio Sen. Nina Turner, a Democrat from Cleveland, was so touched by the concern of her Republican colleagues — mostly middle-aged white men — about the sex lives of women, that she decided to respond in kind.

Turner has introduced Senate Bill 307 that requires a man who wants a prescription for Viagra or other erectile dysfunction drugs to see a sex therapist, receive a cardiac stress test and get a notarized affidavit signed by a sexual partner affirming impotency, the Dayton Daily News reports.

“It is crucial that we take appropriate steps to shelter vulnerable men from the potential side effects of these drugs,” the senator said in a statement. “The men in our lives, including members of the General Assembly, generously devote time to fundamental female reproductive issues. The least we can do is return the favor.”

Turner is to be commended for showing such empathy for men and their delicate egos.

However, her bill doesn’t go far enough. She should amend it to include this language:

“Any male legislator in the Ohio General Assembly preoccupied with a woman’s reproductive organs will undergo a proctology examination at least once a year to determine the extent of brain damage.”

It’s reasonable to conclude that a large number of Republican legislators not only in Ohio but around the country have their brains planted firmly in their (expletive). How else to explain their preoccupation with issues that are best left to women, their doctors and their gods?

Abortion ban

Turner’s legislation is a response to House Bill 125, which would effectively ban most abortions in Ohio because it prohibits them if a fetal heartbeat can be detected, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Such detection can occur as early as six weeks after conception and it can be before a woman knows she’s pregnant. There is no exception for rape or incest.

The bill has passed the House and is now before the Senate. Republicans control both chambers. If the measure passes (and is signed into law by Republican Gov. John Kasich), Ohio would have one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the country, the Plain Dealer reports.

But the GOP’s attack on women is not confined to Ohio. Republican legislatures and governors around the country have been pushing bills designed to shackle women.

In Arizona, a measure has passed the House and is now before the Senate that would require women who wish to have their contraception covered by their health insurance plans to prove to their employers that they are taking it to treat medical conditions, the Huffington Post reports.

The American Civil Liberties Union contends that the bill would give Arizona employers the green light to fire a woman upon finding that she took birth control for the purpose of preventing pregnancy.

The Guttmacher Institute, a research organization that focuses on reproductive health, reports that states passed 92 abortion-related bill in 2011. It is worth noting that fewer than one in four state legislators nationwide are women, the National Conference of State Legislatures, reports. In Ohio, women make up 23 percent of the General Assembly membership.

This trampling on women’s rights by men has triggered a national uprising that will not go away.

The cavemen caucuses in legislatures around the country resemble science classes where groups of males huddle around biology books giggling at illustrations of the female reproductive system.

Presidential election

But what exactly is going on with the GOP’s attack on women? It’s about the November president election and the attempt by Republican parties around the country to get conservative voters riled up — the way the Ohio GOP did in 2004 when it scared voters into believing that the state would be overrun with homosexuals and lesbians unless voters approved a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and woman.

Republican voters came out of the sticks to cast ballots for the amendment and for President George W. Bush. Bush narrowly defeated Democrat John Kerry in the state.

Republicans in Ohio and elsewhere seem to believe they have a winning strategy in defining women who want control over their own bodies as immoral and irresponsible.

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