Taking a page from Legally Blonde—where Elle finally shows she's earned her place at Harvard Law by making the case during class that "any masturbatory emissions, where the sperm is clearly not seeking an egg, could be termed reckless abandonment"—a satirical bill filed in Texas on Friday aims to make a statement about women's reproductive rights.
House Bill 4260, titled "Man's Right to Know Act," would require men to pay $100 fee for masturbating each time; require someone seeking a vasectomy, Viagra prescription, or colonoscopy to receive an informational booklet (complete with artistic illustration of each procedure), undergo a digital rectal exam and rectal sonogram and wait 24 hours to get the prescription or procedure; and allow health professionals the right to withhold treatment based on "personal, moralistic, or religious beliefs."
The bill intentionally draws from anti-abortion laws in Texas, including legislation mandating a 24-hour waiting period for women seeking an abortion and the requirement that during their initial consultation, women receive an error-filled booklet about the risks associated with the procedure.
The bill was filed by state Rep. Jessica Farrar, who admitted she knows her "proposed satirical regulations" have little chance at becoming law. "What I would like to see is this make people stop and think," Farrar told The Texas Tribune. "Maybe my colleagues aren't capable of that, but the people who voted for them, or the people that didn't vote at all, I hope that it changes their mind and helps them to decide what the priorities are."
Farrar said the fine for, as explained by the bill, masturbatory "[e]missions outside of a woman's vagina, or created outside of a health or medical facility" is a nod to Texas Republicans' argument for "the sanctity of life" when restrictions on abortions.
"Men have to answer for their actions and so forth," she said. "So if there's going to be an emission, it would have to be done in a hospital where the semen could be preserved for future pregnancies or it would be directly deposited into the vagina of a woman."
It's not the first time legislators have, satirically or not, tried to regulate men's sexual health. Last year, a Kentucky lawmaker proposed a bill that would require men get a written note of permission from their wives and visit the doctor twice before being able to obtain a prescription for Viagra. Unsurprisingly, the bill never made it past the Health & Welfare committee.
In 2012, a Georgia lawmaker tried to outright ban vasectomies, while an Oklahoma state senator aimed to pass an amendment that interpreted any ejaculation outside of a woman as "an action against an unborn child." Sen. Constance Johnson later explained that she sought to "draw attention to the absurdity, duplicity and lack of balance inherent in the policies of this state in regard to women."
If Texas HB 4260 did have a shot of passing the state legislature, it would go into effect September 1.