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Friday, August 19, 2022

Opinion

There should be birth control for men too


Aya Ghoneim/The Cougar

Pregnancy prevention has always been a topic focused on uteruses. For so long it’s been up to women to take daily pills, consent to injections, get implants and go through the side effects caused by birth control. It’s time for there to be birth control for men.

Conversations surrounding a male contraceptive have occurred, but so far there are no breakthroughs. There are several reasons why and it’s surprisingly not because men refuse to take them. In fact, 83 percent of men would willingly take birth control depending on if it’s a pill, cream or something else. 

The lack of birth control for men ties back to Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood and the inventor of what is known as “the pill.” 

The start of the pill began in the 1950s when Sanger wanted women to take control over their bodies. At that time, most options were condoms for men. There were also IUDs but those were very hard for women to access.

Sanger believed if a convenient pill was made for women, it would allow women to advance further in their education, have fewer unwanted pregnancies and attain more equality in society. 

When conversations over a male version of birth control arose, Sanger was against it. To her, the whole point of creating a pill for women was to make sure men were not able to touch it. She believed if men were involved, they would end up controlling women in that area of women’s lives.

Her concerns were not unfounded. With Gov. Greg Abbott passing the heartbeat law in Texas, a lot of women in the state have lost control over their reproductive rights.

However, birth control should be the responsibility of both parties, not just women. Men should be a part of the conversation without trying to control women’s bodies. 

In the 1950s, Sanger’s goal was to expand women’s freedom in regard to their reproductive rights in order for them to achieve equality. But now, birth control has become a burden on women. 

With that in mind, the struggle to focus pregnancy prevention for both genders is a combination of biology and money. Unfortunately, a lack of funding for research in birth control for men has made it difficult for trials to progress. 

Additionally, the reproductive biology of men is different from women. While a woman only releases one egg a month for one pregnancy, men can produce millions of sperm per day. 

The biggest issue in creating successful birth control for men is lessening their sperm count enough for them to be infertile. This means lessening their testosterone with several side effects like erectile dysfunction, tiredness, weight gain and low sex drive. 

However, women have been dealing with similar, if not worse, side effects when taking their own birth control like migraines, blood clots, eye problems and more. Just like any other kind of medication, side effects are inevitable. 

In order to combat unwanted pregnancies, there should be more investment towards creating birth control in men. If men actively participate in preventing pregnancy, they will have less reason to meddle in the reproductive rights of women. They will also hopefully be more sympathetic for what women go through on birth control.

Women have been doing their parts for years in terms of preventing pregnancy. It’s now time for men to shoulder some of the burdens.

Cindy Rivas Alfaro is a journalism freshman who can be reached at [email protected]

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