Reading Time: 2 minutes By University of Toronto Students for Life [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Sometimes, to illustrate the ridiculous, you must analogise, or logically mimic. These techniques are the best friends of philosophers since they show that “if you accept that, then you must accept this, and this is ridiculous”.

A $100 fine for masturbating is being argued for by Texas State Representative Jessica Farra, a Democrat. It’s a delicious bit of political satire constructed right at the coalface, not in some newspaper or at some fake news website. The “Man’s Right to Know Act” superbly mirrors the existing healthcare laws in her state. But her proposals are patently ridiculous. As The Independent reports:

She said its rules — including a mandatory waiting period before a vasectomy procedure or receiving a prescription for Viagra, as well as a “medically-unnecessary digital rectal exam” — mirror “real TX laws and health care restrictions faced by TX women every #txlege session”.

The headline stipulation would categorise ejaculation outside either a vagina or medical facility as an “act against an unborn child, and failing to preserve the sanctity of life”.

Ms Farrar told “A lot of people find the bill funny. 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 healthcare.”

The Conservative Christian Republican-dominated state has some particularly restrictive abortion legislation. Ever since 2011, women have had to undergo an invasive ultrasound scan at least 24 hours prior to their abortion, requiring at least two trips to a clinic. The idea is that this creates a sense of guilt in the woman, dissuading her from the abortion.

In further parody:

The proposed law would also force the state to create pamphlets — mimicking those given to women seeking an abortion — filled with information about vasectomies, Viagra and colonosopies.

And it would allow doctors to “invoke their personal, moralistic, or religious beliefs in refusing to perform an elective vasectomy or prescribe Viagra”.

It adds: “Masturbatory emissions created in health or medical facilities will be stored for the purposes of conception for a current or future wife.”

In trying to criminalise abortion, earlier this year GOP state representative Tony Tinderhold introduced the “Abolition Of Abortion In Texas Act”, which is currently in the committee stage. Success could mean women taking abortions could be charged with murder. It is against these sorts of attempts and real policies that Farrar is set.

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Jonathan MS Pearce

A TIPPLING PHILOSOPHER Jonathan MS Pearce is a philosopher, author, columnist, and public speaker with an interest in writing about almost anything, from skepticism to science, politics, and morality,...