By Crystal Defatte
Republicans in the Iowa Legislature have been using the last couple months to introduce legislation that aims to
control women protect the sanctity of life by outlawing abortions after six weeks gestational age, outlawing abortions after twenty weeks now that the six-week idea has been scrapped, and by attempting to make conception the moment life begins in the eyes of the law (even though a person isn’t even medically considered pregnant until days after conception when the fertilized egg attaches to the uterine wall, but who needs science in a Republican backed bill, am I right?). Nothing has been more important to Iowan Republicans than making sure women’s lives come second to any cluster of cells they may be carrying potential and actual pregnancies are treated as sacred. But have they gone far enough? This may come as a shock to some of Iowa’s legislators, considering how much Republicans hate sex ed that isn’t abstinence-only, but we women aren’t getting ourselves pregnant. That’s right, men hold part of the equation when it comes to giving life in all its sanctity and Iowa State Representative Lisa Heddens of Ames wants to make sure they too live in a way that honors that sanctity.
Heddens introduced an amendment to Senate File 471, entitled the “Men’s Right to Know Act“, that would “ensure a physician’s right to invoke personal, moral, or religious beliefs in refusing to perform an elective vasectomy or colonoscopy or to provide erectile dysfunction services, including prescriptions for erectile dysfunction drugs”, force doctors to review with their patients a booklet provided by the Iowa Department of Public Health that “shall contain medical information related to the benefits to and concerns of a man seeking an elective vasectomy or colonoscopy or erectile dysfunction services, including prescriptions for drugs that address erectile dysfunction, which shall include, as applicable, an artistic illustration of each procedure”, followed by “a digital rectal exam and magnetic resonance imaging of the rectum before performing an elective vasectomy or colonoscopy procedure on the male patient or providing a service or prescription to a male patient to address erectile dysfunction”, and would create a civil penalty of $100 for “a male who releases masturbatory emissions outside of a health or medical facility registered with the department of public health, with the intent that the masturbatory emission be used for a purpose other than procreation”. These are basically the male equivalent of the Republican ideas of allowing doctors and pharmacists to refuse to provide birth control to women on religious grounds and forcing women who wish to obtain an abortion to sit through informational videos and be subjected to transvaginal unltrasounds.
On the Iowa House floor, Democratic Representative Bruce Hunter of Des Moines quoted Monty Python’s song “Every Sperm is Sacred” in the opening comments in support of Heddens’ amendment.
“The next section is so important, masturbatory emissions,” Hunter said in the House chambers. “The reason we feel this is important can probably best be summed up by the words of Michael Palin and Terry Jones when they declared that ‘every sperm is sacred, every sperm is great. If a sperm is wasted, God gets quite irate. Let the heathens spill theirs on dusty ground. God shall make them pay for each sperm that cannot be found. Every sperm is wanted. Every sperm is good. Every sperm is needed in your neighborhood.”
Heddens withdrew the amendment before it could be voted on. Although this is pure speculation, I’m guessing it’s because she was only using the amendment to highlight how ABSOLUTELY RIDICULOUS it is to have the state of Iowa involved in a person’s reproductive healthcare decisions. Regardless, the original bill that includes a twenty week abortion ban is expected to pass and end up on Governor Branstad’s desk to be signed into law.
Crystal is a 32 year old mom with a passion for progressive politics and activism. She currently resides in Bettendorf, IA.