In the steady match towards a society in which all genders are given equal opportunity and discrimination based on one’s sex is being attacked from every front, it is no surprise that issues that just a few years back were regarded as closed issues have come back to the fore; one such issue is contraception, specifically development of a male birth control pill (MBCP)
Apparently there have been recent reports of just such a breakthrough in concocting such a pill (though knowing the complicated and slow licensing regime for drugs this pill might still be years away). This might sound like good news for progressive men and their partners or for combative feminists who want to see men shoulder the burden of family planning and the dangers of pumping your body full of hormones and the attendant side-effects; but not everyone is smiling and here is why:
Some women are not comfortable knowing men will be able to determine if and when they would like to have children, these brand of belligerent females are of the opinion that only women should decide when to conceive especially as they argue men are never ‘ready’ and must be pushed; of course this is the exact reason men who want more control advance for wanting this pill. Another reason some men might be resistant to such a pill has to do with the fact that it contains a combination of progestogen and testosterone; now, progestogen is a female steroid hormone that maintains pregnancy and blocks ovulation, it is also the main ingredient in female contraceptive pills and this might scare a lot of men into fear that an MCPB containing ‘female’ hormones might affect their ‘manliness’ in adverse ways; no man wants to grow a pair of breasts for the sake of birth control. The drug companies might also be complicit in their resistance to spending scarce research and development funds in developing a drug they are not sure will be entirely popular, this is very significant since men in particular are resistant to things medical and will often take drugs or even visit doctors as a last resort.
It might not be here yet, but so far the male contraception pill is raising temperatures; militant women on the one hand are insisting that men have no right to avoid the ‘punishment’ of fatherhood as a consequence of thinking that sex should be ‘just having fun’ without considering what women want; sexist men claiming that contraception is entirely a woman’s responsibility as she is the one who ultimately shoulders the burden of pregnancy; harassed partners who have had to struggle with side effects of hormones in pills without any sympathy from their male partners are salivating at the prospect of men having a taste of this bitter pill and worried men who are not very comfortable with a pill that has female hormones in it and the niggly fact that the drug works after three months of being ingested and takes a similar amount of time for its effects to be reversed isn’t very reassuring either.
One thing is for sure; it has an edge over vasectomy as its not permanent, and it certainly doesn’t take the sensation out of sex like latex, unfortunately vested interests are fighting it before its even launched! This begs the question; are we ready, and indeed is there need, for a male birth control pill?