PA Senator Counters Ultrasound with Erectile Bill

Posted on March 21, 2012

NBC Philadelphia, March 21, 2012 by Associated Press

A Pennsylvania senator said Tuesday he plans to introduce a bill next week to require prostate exams, cardiac stress tests and sex therapy for men seeking treatment for erectile dysfunction.

Sen. Larry Farnese, D-Philadelphia, said he is suggesting the measure to show how ridiculous he thinks it is to propose subjecting women seeking abortions to ultrasounds. Farnese’s bill also would require men seeking treatment for erectile dysfunction to watch a videotape on the side effects of medication.

“No woman should be forced to undergo a transvaginal ultrasound if they don’t want or need the test,” Farnese said. “But for some reason, the Republicans in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives think that their degrading legislation is the right thing for female patients who are rightfully accessing their protected health services.”

Farnese wants to require written proof from a doctor that erectile dysfunction medication would benefit a patient. In addition, his proposal would require the man’s partner to sign an affidavit saying that the man suffers from erectile dysfunction, and pharmacists would have to see documentation of compliance with the law before filling erectile dysfunction prescriptions.

The ultrasound bill in Pennsylvania was put on hold by House Republican leaders after an uproar over a similar measure in Virginia, although the topic came up again last week when Gov. Tom Corbett said women who did not want to see ultrasound fetal images could “just … close your eyes.”

Corbett’s office has said his words were taken out of context by political opponents. Corbett has said he supports the ultrasound mandate if it is not medically invasive.

The Pennsylvania bill does not specify the type of ultrasound, but most abortions are performed in the first three months of pregnancy, making vaginal ultrasounds medically necessary.