A Kentucky lawmaker is so fed up with the efforts in her state to restrict access to abortion that she decided to introduce a bill aimed at giving men a taste of their own medicine.

It requires men who want to use erectile dysfunction medicine, such as Viagra or Cialis, to get a written statement of approval from their wife — their current wife.

"They go through wives like water in Kentucky," Democratic Representative Mary Lou Marzian said in an interview with CBC News.

Under the bill, only married men would be allowed to get a prescription and they would have to make a sworn statement with their hand on a Bible that they will only use the medication when having sex with their wife. They would also have to visit a doctor on two separate occasions before getting a prescription.

'These Republicans say they want less government – until it comes to your uterus. Then they want more.'
- Mary Lou Marzian, Kentucky lawmaker

The Kentucky legislature last week passed a bill that requires women to see a doctor 24 hours before having an abortion. "I was steaming," said Marzian, adding that the new restriction is "insulting, degrading and patronizing."  

There are other bills proposing further restrictions on abortion making their way through the legislature. And on Thursday, Gov. Matt Bevin announced the state filed a lawsuit against Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky, accusing it of performing illegal abortions. He alleges the facility did not have the proper licence to perform the procedures.

Tired of government intrusion

"It's putting up a barrier to seeking safe, legal abortion and it's inserting the government into your most private medical decisions," Marzian said of the "informed consent" bill that just became law.

Bevin and supporters of the law, however, said it was long overdue and called it a positive step that would protect the emotional and physical health and safety of women.

Mary Lou Marzian

Kentucky lawmaker Mary Lou Marzian, interviewed by TV station WDRB last week, is a retired nurse and describes herself as outspoken on women's rights. (WDRB News)

Marzian, who describes herself as very outspoken on women's rights, came up with the idea for the Viagra bill in response. She said she picked a subject she knew would get men's attention. "They take their ability to have sexual intercourse very seriously; they don't mess around," she said.

A former nurse who has served in the Kentucky legislature for 22 years, Marzian said there can be serious side effects from erectile dysfunction drugs so it makes sense for men to discuss the risks thoroughly with their doctor.

But really, she says, she was just trying to make a point.

"We are sick and tired of government intruding on your private medical decisions," said Marzian.

Point taken, according to the reaction Marzian got to her bill. "It's awakened a lot of people who are fed up with government," she said. "I think this has really hit a nerve."

The lawmaker said within almost a week of introducing her bill, she got about 1,000 emails, most of them supportive. And there has been lots of activity on social media about it. News of her bill made headlines across the country.

Bill has made its point

Her proposals are tongue-in-cheek, she acknowledges, adding there is no way the bill would hold up. "It's constitutional: you can't make someone swear on the Bible," said Marzian.

Kentucky Governor Inauguration

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin at his swearing-in ceremony on Dec. 8, 2015. The anti-abortion governor this week filed a lawsuit against Planned Parenthood in his state. (Timothy D. Easley/Associated Press)

But she hopes the bill makes people think about the role of government in their health decisions — and about how abortion is a pawn in the political game. She accuses her Republican colleagues of using their anti-abortion views to help themselves get elected; she says that's why they are constantly introducing bills on the subject.

Marzian believes their efforts are hypocritical. "These Republicans say they want less government — until it comes to your uterus. Then they want more," she said.

Her bill has been moved to a committee for review but it's not clear yet if there will be a hearing on it. Marzian doesn't necessarily want one. "I think it's got the attention, it's made its point."