Republican bill is unnecessary and humiliating to women

HARRISBURG, March 20, 2012 – State Senator Larry Farnese (D-Phila.) today denounced House Bill 1077 as an unconscionable bill that could require women to undergo an unnecessary and humiliating transvaginal ultrasound so they can access their protected health services, and announced that he will file legislation requiring men combating erectile dysfunction (ED) to undergo similar tests.

“No woman should be forced to undergo a transvaginal ultrasound if they don’t want or need the test.  But for some reason the Republicans in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives think that their degrading legislation is the right thing for female patients who are rightfully accessing their protected health services,” said Sen. Farnese.  “So today, I’m submitting legislation that will require men to undergo a few similarly evasive tests in order to show that this effort is ridiculous and that we should be protecting and expanding, not watering down, health services for women.”

Farnese’s legislation would require male patients to:

  • Be given a full prostate exam and undergo a cardiac stress test;
  • Submit a signed affidavit from a sexual partner stating that the patient suffers from ED;
  • Participate in sex therapy to determine if there are non-physical reasons for the individual’s ED; and
  • Watch a video detailing the side effects of ED medication.

The bill, which is expected to be officially filed by early next week in Harrisburg, would require physicians to provide the patient with written proof that he will benefit from using ED medication and that there are no other potential medical or psychological causes to his impotency.  Once approved, patients would have to present documentation proving that they completed the necessary requirements to their pharmacist before their ED prescription could be filled.

House Bill 1077 mandates that under some circumstances a woman could be required to undergo a humiliating transvaginal ultrasound 24 hours before her abortion to determine the precise age and size of the fetus.  A transvaginal ultrasound uses high-frequency sound waves to create images of soft tissue structures within the woman’s body.  Most ultrasound procedures are performed on the surface of the skin; however, this bill could often require a more invasive test.  A transvaginal ultrasound is performed by inserting a probe into the woman’s vaginal canal.  The probe is covered by a lubricated condom and can be rotated to obtain images of her uterus and ovaries.

Sen. Larry Farnese was elected to the Senate in 2008 to represent Pennsylvania’s First Senatorial District which contains some of Philadelphia’s most unique and vibrant neighborhoods from Port Richmond on the Delaware River to Fairmount Park on the Schuylkill River and South Philadelphia, Center City, the Navy Yard, Philadelphia International Airport.  Senator Farnese serves as the Democratic Chair of the Communications and Technology Committee.  He is also a member of the Appropriations Committee, Banking and Insurance Committee, the Law and Justice Committee and the Judiciary Committee.  His District Office is located at 1802 S. Broad Street in Philadelphia, PA (ph: 215-952-3121) and his Harrisburg Office is located at 543 Main Capitol in Harrisburg, PA (ph: 717-787-5662).  More information about the Senator and his initiatives is available at



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