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As many of you know, I have been out of town and incommunicado for a while. I am still inundated by a stack of errands that is scrambling my brain. However, in working my way back into the Blogosphere, I came across Cindy Salo’s post about women’s reproductive rights and just had to share it with you. With her permission, what follows is the text of her post from her Sagebrush and Spuds site.

I am Concerned about the Health of Idaho’s Men

 The Idaho Senate recently passed a bill that would require women to have an ultrasound before they have an abortion. The legislation was introduced by Senator Chuck Winder, who wants to ensure that women seeking an abortion make informed decisions based on complete medical information.

 Senator Winder cares about other people. His voting record shows that he is concerned about many diverse groups, including Idaho’s teachers, who he wants to protect from tenure, collective bargaining, and pay raises based on experience.

 Senator Winder is so busy legislating his concern for others that I fear he might forget to take care of himself. Perhaps he is leaving this to the women in Idaho’s legislature. I believe that they are up to the task; after all, women take such good care of their husbands that married men live longer than their single brothers.

Idaho’s women legislators can look to a bill introduced by Ohio State Senator Nina Turner for a model of how to safeguard the health of Idaho’s men. Senator Turner’s measure would protect men from the dangerous side effects of erectile dysfunction (ED) drugs. I believe that the men in our state deserve similar measures.

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,” Senator Turner said. “It is crucial that we take the appropriate steps to shelter vulnerable men from the potential side effects of these drugs.”

ED drugs are some of the most widely prescribed drugs in history. But men must not assume that these powerful drugs are safe simply because “everyone’s using them.” Men must make informed decisions based on complete medical information. And because men whose thoughts are dominated by sex do not always make the best decisions, a team of professional should guide them through the process.

The list of potential side effects of ED drugs is long and unpleasant: loss of vision, loss of hearing, and priapism (“an erection lasting more than four hours”), for starters. What’s more, these drugs can interact with existing conditions with deadly consequences. Men with heart disease, a history of stroke, high blood pressure, or eye problems must be especially careful when considering ED treatments. Men and their team must carefully weigh the possible consequences of these drugs with the expected benefits.

Senator Turner points out ED drugs should only be used to treat physical conditions. She shows her deep concern for men by proposing that they undergo testing to insure that their inability to maintain an erection is truly a physical problem and not a psychological one. The women of the Idaho legislature must work to insure that dangerous drugs are not prescribed when the appropriate treatment is counseling.

The Ohio legislation recognizes the need to protect the sanctity of procreation. However, I fear that their proposal might not go far enough. For example, if a man with a vasectomy is given ED drugs, he could then have sexual relations that are not open to the creation of human life. I urge the concerned women in our statehouse to carefully examine this important issue when crafting their legislation.

I trust that the women of the Idaho legislature will show their concern for Senator Winder, and for all the men in the Great State of Idaho, by introducing legislation to protect them from the serious medical and moral hazards of drugs for treating erectile dysfunction.

In addition, Cindy shared this link to an interview with Gary Trudeau on Slate.com.

Doonesbury creator Garry Trudeau
Photo by Rob Loud/Getty Images

Thank you, Cindy, for shining a bright light on this hypocrisy. Over 40 years after my mother fought for women’s reproductive rights, I’m astounded and disgusted by the inexorable erosion of those rights.