Friday, March 16, 2012

A Response from Ohio Sen. Nina Turner

As part of the the REPRIMAND project, we have written to lawmakers across the country.  Here is a reply from Minority Whip Nina Turner in the Ohio State Senate, who has proposed SB 307 to regulate men's access to erectile-dysfunction medication (e.g. Viagra).  She is a real hero in this fight and should be commended for her vigilance and honest hard work.

Dear Concerned Citizen,

Thank you for taking time to share your thoughts with me and for expressing your concern for important women’s health issues.  As we all know, this struggle is about equality: whether men and women should be given equal footing when it comes to making important healthcare decisions, and whether they should have equal access to the highest-quality health services our country has to offer.  More importantly, this is about a woman’s right to choose.  Reproductive decisions are best made by a woman and her doctor, and we must respect their ability to make these choices.  Government has no place inside a woman’s womb.

This war on reproductive rights is an insult to women everywhere.  It demonstrates that those waging it view women only as vessels of life—not as the intelligent and capable individuals that they are.  Taking away the right to control one’s own destiny is not only un-American, it flies in the face of the ideals of independence and self-determination on which our nation was founded.

S.B. 307 is a serious bill, and the side effects of PDE-5 inhibitors are real. As a nation of equals, we must care just as much about men's health as we do women's health, and this is why we must take strong steps to protect against the harmful side effects of medications used to treat symptoms of male impotence, such as priapism, hearing loss, and vision loss. Such medications should be considered with the utmost concern and caution. These medications can be seriously detrimental to men with heart problems, including heart pain, heart failure, abnormal heart rhythms, high or low blood pressure, a history of stroke within the last six months, eye problems such as retinitis pigmentosa, sickle cell anemia, or leukemia.

Nobody laughs when legislators throughout the country introduce legislation that aggressively mandates government regulation of women's health decisions. No one questions those who introduce oppressive legislative measures contradictory to the autonomy and sovereignty of American women. This is no laughing matter.  

Women are being disregarded and disrespected by lawmakers across the nation.
We must heed the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." If women today, it will be another group tomorrow. Thank you for being champions in the fight—the fight for our foremothers, for ourselves, and for our daughters. Spread this far and wide.

All the Best,

Minority Whip
Ohio Senate—25th District
1 Capital Square | Room 223
Columbus, OH  43215

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