In case you haven’t heard, Israel developed a male birth control pill. The drug, which works by stripping protein from sperm that is necessary for conception, is about to go into clinical trials. Aside from being the first male oral contraceptive, this is also the first non-hormonal oral contraceptive. Awesome.
But the awesomeness is dampened by blatant sexism from men’s female partners. A snip from the Telegraph article:
A big drawback against men being in control of fertility is the fear they would forget to take a pill.
Polls have repeatedly shown wives and partners do not trust their men to remember to pop a pill every day.
But now that problem has been solved. The new pill can be taken either once a month or once every three months.
Professor Breitbart said: “I think most women would trust their man to remember once a month or once a quarter.”
So, women never forget to take their birth control pills since we are paragons of domestic and sexual responsibility? Spare me.
I posted the article on my Facebook page and my friends jumped on the debate wagon. Here are the highlight points and why they’re wrong:
- Men are horny, can’t get pregnant, so they don’t care. Sure, men don’t have to carry the child or directly deal with abortion costs, but to assume a hetero male partner doesn’t care or isn’t invested is unfair. This kind of thinking is common gender-reductionist thought that paints men as horny, irresponsible idiots. Women can be horny, irresponsible idiots too. Haven’t you seen Sex and the City?
- Men will take it because they don’t want to get hit with child support payments. Because a woman’s greatest desire is Baby-Making and all women will scheme their way into pregnancy? No. In fact, a recent study turned that notion on its head and found some young women’s birth control being sabotaged by their male partners.
- Men just won’t remember. Well neither do women. How many times have you or a female friend gasped and said, “Oh no! I forgot to take my birth control!” That’s why they developed the Patch and Nuva-Ring. Humans can be forgetful creatures, gender is not a factor.
The one thing that concerns me is how many men would make the doctor appointment to get the pill. The self-sufficiency mandate of masculinity means that men often avoid doctor visits. I voiced this concern when I wrote about the male contraceptive shot being developed in China and I’m still skeptical about men voluntarily seeking reproductive health care.
Even so, I think that men who do get the prescription will take the pill daily, if needed. (One male friend said he would be better with taking it daily instead of monthly or semiannually.) The men that seek this pill out do not want their partner to be pregnant.
One of my female friends put it best:
My boyfriend and I absolutely do not want to get pregnant right now. I feel our stake in the concern is 50/50. He often checks in with me, helps remind me to take my pill. In that sense, the responsibility is still shared. If he were on the pill, I’d help remind him, too, but I would absolutely trust him because I know he feels he’s not ready to be a father, and I know if we aborted/chose adoption that would still be a difficult thing for us both to go through.
Shared responsibilty with your partner. It works.