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Kentucky Bill Would Require Wife's Permission Before Getting Viagra06:50

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Rep. Mary Lou Marzian, D- Louisville, talks about a bill that would raise the cigarette tax and impose a 6 percent retail sales tax on all alcohol products in Frankfort, Ky., Wednesday, Feb. 11, 2009.  The bill passed the full House.  (AP Photo/Ed Reinke)closemore
Rep. Mary Lou Marzian, D- Louisville, talks about a bill that would raise the cigarette tax and impose a 6 percent retail sales tax on all alcohol products in Frankfort, Ky., Wednesday, Feb. 11, 2009. The bill passed the full House. (AP Photo/Ed Reinke)

Democratic Kentucky state representative Mary Lou Marzian has introduced a bill that would require men who want a prescription for Viagra or other erectile dysfunction drugs to get written permission from their spouse, swear on a Bible that they will use the drug only for relations within marriage and visit a doctor twice before they can get the prescription.

It's the Louisville lawmaker's bid to draw attention to Kentucky anti-abortion bills. Marzian talks with Here & Now's Robin Young about her tactic.

Interview Highlights: Mary Lou Marzian

You’ve got our attention.

“Well, I think I’ve gotten the attention of thousands, or hundreds of thousands of folks around this nation who are tired of government intruding on what should be a personal, private decision.”

Are you comparing having sex with the decision to have an abortion?

“Absolutely not. What I’m comparing this to is that no government should intrude on what should be a personal, private decision. We do not have medical degrees, although I do, but most of the legislators know nothing about medicine, so why should we be having government sitting in the medical office, mandating what happens between a woman or man and their physician or healthcare provider.”

What is wrong with taking a few seconds with a professional to discuss the decision to have an abortion?

“Well, they already do that and they can do it via phone with a recorded message. They can talk with their family physicians or healthcare providers at home, and certainly when they come into the clinic they have a sit down counseling session with the healthcare provider who asks them if they are being coerced, if this is the decision they want to make, have they thought it through. So to act like women run into the abortion clinic on a whim is insulting, patronizing and downright demeaning to women.”

What would your proposed bill require?

“My bill would require a man to visit his healthcare provider 24 hours before he gets his prescription. He has to understand all of the ramifications, the risks and benefits of using an erectile dysfunction medication. He then can go back to the physician the next day, or the prescriber, and get his prescription and when he takes it to the pharmacist he has to swear on a Bible that he is going to use it in a marital relationship, because everyone around here and across the country espouses Christian family values so that was kind of the tongue-in-cheek piece that I put in there. But the bottom line is that I’m trying to awaken women and men to what government is doing to their medical care, to personal and private decisions.”

Perhaps there should be a medical lecture given to patients seeking to use the drug, considering the potential risks.

“Exactly, it could be dangerous. It could lead to a heart attack or stroke. But, that being said, any prescriber - and I am a nurse and worked with a lot of prescribers and physicians - they know exactly what they need to do with their patients and counseling that needs to occur, and they don’t need the Kentucky General Assembly or Congress or the governor to tell them how to practice medicine.”

Do you plan on filing amendments to various anti-abortion bills being proposed?

“Well, I’ve thought about that. You know, so many men get up and say ‘women shouldn’t be making this decision,’ and ‘we have to protect the unborn,’ but they don’t think about that when they’re out having their one night stand, having unprotected sex. So it would say that you have to go back and check with the woman and see if you have caused a sexually-transmitted disease or an unintended pregnancy because, you know, unfortunately there’s a lot of women out there that end up with an unintended pregnancy and they never hear from their partner again.”

Is there any chance your bill or these amendments will be taken up or discussed?

“The chair of the Health and Welfare Committee said he’d like to hear the Viagra bill, and I’m thinking that over very carefully, but these guys here have all come to me and said, ‘you’re bill’s kind of funny, but we wouldn’t know anything about that.’ And let me tell you Robin, I’ve had thousands of emails from all over the country thanking me, and just a few have not been very happy with it, but I’d say 100 to 1 that a lot of women and a lot of men are saying ‘thank goodness, we have finally got a politician that speaks out for women’s issues.’ You know I never knew this was going to snowball like this, but I think people are sick and tired of what’s happening to women’s rights and if they would support the anti’s birth control and sex education, I’d find them a little bit more believable, but they also don’t want access to birth control or sex education.”

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