Do Women Really Want a Male Birth Control Pill?
Women have long lamented the unequal burden they shoulder in the area of contraception. Today researchers are reportedly close to perfecting a male contraceptive that is free of side effects, easy to take, and reversible. But do women really want a male birth control pill?
Power is the reward which comes with responsibility. For example, during the Cold War Americans complained about the money and manpower spent protecting a reputedly ungrateful world from communism. Yet these sacrifices also helped give the United States great geopolitical power, with its attendant perks and privileges.
Similarly, while women legitimately complain that biology has condemned them to bear the burden of contraception, this burden also gives women control over one of the most important parts of any human beings life--reproduction. The male birth control pill will shift much of that control from women to men. Is the following conversation far away?
Woman #1: My [husband, boyfriend, significant other] is selfish. He's on the pill and wont get off. Ive asked him to stop taking it but he always says hes not ready. He just wont grow up. I dont know what to do.
Woman #2: Thats what the pill has given mena right to be perpetual adolescents. Its given them veto power over women who want to have children.
Despite the stigma that will develop against men who take the pill, the pill will be a success. While most women are responsible and want to have children with a willing, committed partner, studies show that lack of reproductive control can be a major problem for men today. For example, the National Scruples and Lies Survey 2004 polled 5,000 women in the United Kingdom for Thats Life! magazine. According to that survey, 42% of women claim they would lie about contraception in order to get pregnant, regardless of the wishes of their partners.
Jo Checkley, the editor of Thats Life!, is correct when she says to deliberately get pregnant when your partner doesnt want a baby is playing Russian roulette with other peoples lives."
According to research conducted by Joyce Abma of the National Center for Health Statistics and Linda Piccinino of Cornell University, over a million American births each year result from pregnancies which men did not intend.
The male pill will fill a genuine economic need. Child support levels are rising, generally comprising 15-25% of take-home pay for one child, in addition to add-ons for child care, health care, and other costs. There is also a trend towards extending child support obligations beyond the age of 18, and child support enforcement is increasingly wide-ranging and effective.
Moreover, most men realize that its difficult to remain a part of their childrens lives once the relationship with the childrens mother has broken down, particularly if the children were born outside of marriage. The pill will help ensure that men only have children in the context thats best for men--a stable marriage.
The advent of the female birth control pill greatly aided womens struggle for autonomy and fulfillment. The male birth control pill will also create great changes, but these changes will not be to some womens liking. Be careful what you ask foryou might get it.
©2007, Glenn Sacks