Texas bill outlaws masturbation, in response to abortion legislation
Texan men would face their own sort of reproductive rights struggle if a bill proposed by Rep. Farrar (D-Houston) is approved. Introduced on Friday, House Bill 4260 would fine men $100 for not remaining “fully abstinent” and only allow the “occasional masturbatory emissions inside healthcare and medical facilities,” the bill reads.
Farrar does not expect, or even hope, the bill will pass. However, she hopes it will force her Republican colleagues to reexamine some of their laws on women’s healthcare in the Lone Star State, which is home to the highest maternal mortality rate in the country.
“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.”
Alternatively referred to as the “Man’s Right to Know” bill, the proposed law refers to male masturbation as “an act against an unborn child” that fails to preserve “the sanctity of life.”
The bill would not only penalize masturbation but would also require men to receive a digital rectal exam to get a vasectomy, a colonoscopy or a Viagra prescription. Men would also be required to wait 24 hours before receiving such procedures or medication.
Additionally, it requires men receive a booklet titled “A Man's Right to Know,” a parody of a booklet Texan women are given by doctors, titled “A Woman’s Right to Know,” before getting an abortion. State law also mandates women receive sonograms and listen to a detailed description of the fetus beforehand.
HB 4260 was inspired by the Woman’s Right to Know legislation, along with other bills such as one proposed in 2016 that required abortion providers cremate or bury fetal remains. Pro-choice advocates feel that the cost of funerals would make abortions too expensive for many healthcare facilities to provide.
While many are amused by Farrar’s legislation, not everyone is laughing.
“I'm embarrassed for Representative Farrar,” Rep. Tony Tinderholt (R-Arlington) told the Texas Observer. “Her attempt to compare [HB 4260] to the abortion issue shows a lack of a basic understanding of human biology. I would recommend that she consider taking a high school biology class from a local public or charter school before filing another bill on the matter.”
Tinderholt recently proposed legislation that would completely criminalize abortion in order to “force” women to be “more personally responsible,” he told the Observer. The bill made no exceptions for rape, incest, the viability of the fetus or even the risk of the mother’s life.
“A lot of people find [my] 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 healthcare.”