Texas Anti-Masturbation Law Moves Forward

A proposed Texas law which would criminalize male masturbation “outside of a health or medical facility” has moved one step closer to becoming law, according to a report from The Independent. House Bill 4260, titled “The Man’s Right to Know Act,” was proposed by State Rep. Jessica Farrar (D-Houston) in an attempt to satirize legislation in Texas targeting abortion services.

To be clear, Farrar never intended for the bill to be passed, although she has proposed September 1 as the official date for it to become law. But “The Man’s Right to Know Act” has now passed its first reading in the state’s House of Representatives and has been referred to the Texas House State Affairs Committee.

“A lot of people find the bill funny,” said Farrar, 50, a 22-year veteran of the Texas House, and the longest-serving Hispanic member of the house from Harris County.

“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 health care.”

The bill’s language attempts to mirror language used in anti-abortion legislation.

“The purpose of this chapter is to… ensure a doctor ‘s right to invoke their personal, moralistic, or religious beliefs in refusing to perform an elective vasectomy or prescribe Viagra; and promote fully-abstinent sexual relations or occasional masturbatory emissions inside health care and medical facilities.”

“Unregulated masturbatory emissions… outside of a woman ‘s vagina, or created outside of a health or medical facility, will be charged a $100 civil penalty for each emission, and will be considered an act against an unborn child, and failing to preserve the sanctity of life.”

All fines collected for "unregulated emissions" will go toward the foster care system.

The bill’s name itself is a reference to a pamphlet, entitled “A Woman’s Right to Know,” which (as explained by the blog Burnt Orange Report) details the life of a fetus (including graphic illustrations) and which Texas doctors are required to provide to any woman seeking an abortion. The pamphlet, which is written by the Texas Department of State Health Services, has been almost universally criticized for providing information called “biased” and “unscientific,” including the myth that abortion causes breast cancer, as well as assertions that abortion causes an increased risk of infertility and emotional trauma, alongside other language considered biased by critics, such as repeated references to “your baby.”

Rep. Farrar characterized the pamphlet as a “guilt mechanism” intended to change women’s minds, a definition she also applies to the “medically-unnecessary” but state-required trans-vaginal ultrasound women must undergo before getting an abortion.

House Bill 4260 also has its own eponymous pamphlet, “A Man’s Right to Know,” which doctors would be obligated to provide to any man “seeking a vasectomy, Viagra prescription, or a colonoscopy,” and “must contain artistic illustrations of each procedure.” The bill would also support “fully abstinent sexual relations” and calls for the creation of a “Hospital Masturbatory Assistance Registry” to “provide fully-abstinent encouragement counseling, supervising physicians for masturbatory emissions, and storage for the semen.”

That last is so that it may be saved – “for the purposes of conception for a current or future wife.”

Farrar’s scathing anti-masturbation bill comes a scant three months after legislation was proposed by House Republican Tony Tinderholt which would criminalize abortion in Texas, on the theory that it would make women “more personally responsible” for their sexual behavior.

Following the November election, Texas has seen a rash of new laws proposed targeting abortion featuring language similar to those previously struck down by the Supreme Court.

Earlier this week, during an Annie’s List luncheon in Houston, Hillary Clinton praised Rep. Farrar’s proposal. “The bill may be satirical but the message sure resonated,” she said.

Rep. Farrar has previously sought to eliminate the death penalty in Texas and is currently trying to get a completely serious bill passed which would require hospitals to provide information on emergency contraception to sexual assault survivors.

And while Farrar has a serious message to send with “The Man’s Right to Know Act,” certain wags have pointed out that there’s another reason to pay attention: physician regulation also requires that health plans will have to cover “required equipment” and be a valid medical reason to take time off work.

[Featured Image by Ben Sklar/Getty Images]