I’ve had this post on the back burner for months, since a commenter at Shakesville (I think) said, you could never get away with restricting men’s access to Viagra the way state legislatures have restricted women’s access to abortion in America. And no, you couldn’t. But interestingly enough, it’s pretty easy to make a set of arguments for restricting access to Viagra, that are pretty similar to the arguments for restricting access to abortion. For the most part, all you have to do is search the text, and replace “woman” with “man”, “abortion” with “Viagra”, and “ends a human life” with “begins a human life”. (If pre-born human life is that important to you, you should take its creation as seriously as its destruction.) Then there are a few restrictions that claim they’re protecting women, and you just have to look at the flip-side: preventing men from hurting women. For some of the restrictions, I’ve invented an imaginary evil radical feminist anti-het-sex conspiracy to substitute for the Religious Right.
Every restriction on access to Viagra I propose below, is either a fact of life, or a legislated restriction, on abortion in at least one, and often many, American states. When the restrictions and their justifications are imposed on men, they look pretty radically man-hating (never mind that being unable to get a hardon is nowhere near as traumatic as going through childbirth against your will), but in their anti-abortion form, it’s not just fringe whackaloons making the arguments I’ll list, it’s people elected to public office.
1. Taking a medication that allows a man to have intercourse also lets him possibly create a new human life. The creation of a new human life is an important decision, not to be taken lightly, without being aware of all the facts and thinking them over. Therefore, before he can fill his prescription for Viagra, a man must receive counseling, in-person, from the same person as will be handing him his pills. This counseling contains information mandated by the state about contraception, the responsibilities of parenthood, and the legal and financial obligations of child support. Some of that information may be factually incorrect. The man must wait up to three days before returning to pick up his pills. During those three days, the man must visit a Radical Feminist Re-education Centre* where people will scream at him that all heterosexual sex is rape and make him watch graphic videos about complications of childbirth, to try to get him to change his mind. No Radical Feminist Re-education Centre has agreed to perform this counseling, making it impossible to fulfill the requirements. Note: this legislation was passed, but the worst elements of it are on hold due to a legal challenge. My main reference only includes legislation currently in effect. Extra citation
2. While Viagra is generally a pretty safe medication to take (in the absence of certain known contraindications), the ramifications of allowing somebody to possibly create new life are serious and require extra care. While nurse practitioners and physician assistants, under supervision of a physician, can prescribe many medications with similar risk profiles, Viagra can only be prescribed by a licensed physician. Only fully qualified and licensed pharmacists, not their assistants, may dispense it. In some cases, physicians must have a second licensed physician sign off on their decision to prescribe. Doctors who prescribe Viagra, and pharmacies that stock it, should be subject to extra licensing requirements and more stringent facility standards. Some of these standards may have been constructed with the knowledge that existing providers would be unable to comply by the stated deadline.
3. We don’t want to facilitate rape, so we have to be careful not to sell Viagra to rapists. In order to have their Viagra prescription filled, a man must provide a criminal background check, and since he may simply not have been caught yet, he must provide written consent from the person or persons he intends to have intercourse with. (I intend this as the flipside of parental notification and consent laws)
4. Some people have religious and moral objections to the sex some men may be having while on Viagra. They should not be compelled to fund something they believe is immoral, nor should they be penalized for acting on their conscience. Therefore subsidized insurance plans under the future insurance exchanges proposed under Obamacare, private insurance plans, and especially insurance plans for public employees, which are taxpayer-funded, must not pay for Viagra. Medical practitioners who refuse to prescribe or dispense Viagra on moral or religious grounds are immune to professional sanction.
5. Because of the onerous licensing requirements, expensive facility requirements, the fact that the Radical Feminist Re-educators are constantly picketing their homes and clinics (when they’re not vandalizing or firebombing them), harassing their patients and families, and shooting them, very few doctors or pharmacists are willing to be involved in the provision of Viagra. As a result, 86% of American counties are without a doctor willing to provide it, or a pharmacy willing to stock it.
With the exception of some components of #1, all information is from Remapping Debate.org.