On Sunday, May 9th 2010 women everywhere celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of the introduction of the female birth control pill.Ã‚Â In those fifty years no equivalent for men has been developed.Ã‚Â Why?
Every five years or so, and you can almost count on every five years like clockwork, we hear news concerning Ã‚Â the development of a male internal fertility control drug or device whose side effects are tolerable and whose fertility effects are reversible.Ã‚Â In fact, men in many parts of the world already enjoy the benefits of such methods.Ã‚Â Why do we have not one single method in the U.S., the U.K, Australia and Canada?
Ten years ago a drug called Nofirtill was introduced for testing in Brazil and was purported to be 95% effective, have very little side effects and completely reversible.Ã‚Â In China and France men have enjoyed the option of hormone treatments rendering them temporarily infertile for years now.Ã‚Â In the U.S. and U.K. there are studies being conducted as I write this that hold tremendous promise for the male pill.
Standing in the way of this whole thing coming to fruition, however, are the drug companies themselves who are very sketchy about putting up money, not only to develop methods of mass production, but also to market these methods in a cost effective manner.Ã‚Â Why are they frightened?Ã‚Â Who or what is keeping them from taking the plunge into what could be a very lucrative market.Ã‚Â It seems to defy common sense doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t it?
But common sense has very little to do with reproductive issues in the western world.
Unfortunately, and to our tremendous discredit, men have been almost entirely silent about the male pill leaving the entire debate on reproductive control methods, and for that matter reproductive rights as a whole, dominated by a chorus of female voices.Ã‚Â And also like clockwork, this chourus starts chiming inÃ‚Â just around the time mention of a pending internal male fertility control method comes up.
Many of these voices support the idea of a male pill citing fairness and the desire that men carry more of the contraceptive burden.Ã‚Â The most energetic and pernicious of these voices, however, come from a hoard of columnists writing from a womanÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s perspective who oppose the idea of a male pill.
The tambre of the commentary ranges from the condescending to the appallingly bigoted.Ã‚Â In January of Ã‚Â 2010 HLNÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Joy Behar discussed research developments with, of all people, Ashley Dupre, AKAÃ‚Â Eliot SpitzerÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s rather, as you can see in the video in the link, over priced companion on her show. Ã‚Â Along with discussing the Ã¢â‚¬Å“G SpotÃ¢â‚¬Â with this supposedly renowned expert on male fertility issues Ms. Behar also discussed with Ms. Dupre the inability to trust a man when he says he is on the pill.Ã‚Â Also discussed was the Ã¢â‚¬Å“fragile male egoÃ¢â‚¬Â that we hear so much about and how rendering oneÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s self infertile might just be too much for a manÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s pride to take.
Predictably mentioned as well was the idea that men simply do not possess the intelligence to realize we can get an STD without the use of a condom.Ã‚Â Hmmm, whoÃ¢â‚¬â„¢dÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ave thunk you could get somethin that AJAX aint gonna wash off by not wrappin’ it up first?Ã‚Â Not nobody ever told me that!
Other commentaries include a particularly offensive one written by MJ Deschamps from the University of OttawaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Centertown Journal called Ã¢â‚¬Å“Give Them the Remote Not the PillÃ¢â‚¬Â in which she paraphrases the concerns presented on the HLN interview stating:Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã¢â‚¬Å“What IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m worried about are all the other men Ã¢â‚¬â€œ the unmarried, uncommitted, casual daters who can walk away from a situation if an accident happens because they forgot to take their birth control, or just lied about taking it altogether. Never mind the large increase in STIs and AIDS that would probably arise from the inevitable decrease in condom use.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Walk away?Ã‚Â Yea right, men are NEVER thrown in jail for failure to pay child support and we are all just an ignorant bunch of jackasses, as I have pointed out above, (sarcasm) who have no idea how STDs are spread.
No doubt, pharmaceutical company executives in lieu of very expensive market research will take note of these voices and conclude that spending the money to develop and viably market such a method might pose more aÃ‚Â financial risk than itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s worth.Ã‚Â If there are so many opposing voices and not much observable support for these methods why put up the money?
So why is there is so much opposition to this idea of male fertility control?Ã‚Â Surely enabling men with the option to control their fertility would be good for them as well as society.Ã‚Â There would be fewer unwanted pregnancies and couples and single men would have more control over their futures.Ã‚Â But keep in mind the operative word here is Ã¢â‚¬Å“controlÃ¢â‚¬Â.Ã‚Â What does this word mean when talking about reproduction?
Anciently, rules were developed to ensure that fertile women were paired with men that could protect and provide for them and any resultant offspring. Men, taking on the burden of providing and protecting, were also guaranteed certain say-so as it comes to their mode of life as well as access and control when it comes to raising their offspring. Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Both sexes were given roles, rights and responsibilities in these systems of reproductive code and similarities are ubiquitous throughout all of human civilization.
It was imperative the female had to give some assurance to the male the children he was to protect and provide for were indeed his.Ã‚Â This was achieved, admittedly, through strict social enforcement of female chastity before and strict loyalty after pairing with a male.Ã‚Â Neither she nor society could rightfully expect the man to support her and her children if this was not the case.
Just as imperatively, the maleÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s status and prestige were almost solely based on his ability to protect and provide for his family.Ã‚Â Failure to do this has always resulted,Ã‚Â with every society and culture, in total chastisement of the male leading to the diminishing of this Ã¢â‚¬Å“Family NameÃ¢â‚¬Â the value of which determines the offspringÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s ability to find viable mates in the social group they lived in.
This arrangement was by no means perfect, and some even call it oppressive.Ã‚Â But make no mistake, it has supported thousands of generations, each producing healthy well kept homo sapien offspring who were much better off than their counterparts in other primate species.Ã‚Â Also, one has to conclude, that without this system of rules not one red brick would have been laid atop another foregoing virtually every single feature of civilization as we know it.
In the Late twentieth century medical advances and changes in the law regarding reproduction, parental rights and responsibilities changed this paradigm forever. Also changed were how we would bring children into the world and raise them.
In 1960 the female oral contraceptive was brought to market, to be followed in subsequent years by a plethora of effective and relatively inexpensive methods through which women could control their fertility in a safe and reversible manner.Ã‚Â This truly freed women to seek sexual affection without fearing the consequences they would have suffered prior.Ã‚Â Ostensibly, men would seem to benefit in this respect too, but they would have to rely on the word of the women they had relations with as men still had the same responsibilities that come with a pregnancy.
But this was ok right?Ã‚Â Pregnancy is so treacherous and the ordeal of taking care of an infant so daunting no woman would ever want to be anything but honest while disclosing her fertility status.Ã‚Â Right?
Unfortunately for men at that time there was no equivalent solution to the problem of controlling their own fertility.Ã‚Â To be fair, it was a hard nut for scientists to crack.Ã‚Â (Pun intended)Ã‚Â Surely though, science would work itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s wonders and make available in good order the same type of option for menÃ¢â‚¬Â¦Ã¢â‚¬Â¦Ã¢â‚¬Â¦Ã¢â‚¬Â¦surely.
Years went by and the pill became safer. New methods were being tested as well with the promise that if women could not or did not want to take the pill there were other options to be made available.Ã‚Â Also on the horizon were rumblings of a totally different form of birth control, separate from a medicinal form.Ã‚Â Soon, the use of the operative word Ã¢â‚¬Å“birthÃ¢â‚¬Â would take a whole new meaning in the phrase: Ã¢â‚¬Å“Birth Control.Ã¢â‚¬Â
AbortionÃ‚Â had beenÃ‚Â available illegally for some time but in 1973 the Unites States Supreme CourtÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s decision in Roe v. Wade declared that the Ã¢â‚¬Å“imposition of parenthoodÃ¢â‚¬Â on an individual was just too much for the state to impose on somebody given that they were female. Ã‚Â This meant that even after conception women would have a right to decide whether or not the pregnancy would come to term.Ã‚Â Males however were not to enjoy that same option.Ã‚Â Consequently, men were given the burden of someone elseÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s choices as far as parenthood was concerned.
Congruent to this legal development were the expansion of parental responsibilities for men and the diminishing of those for women.Ã‚Â It is now, for all intents and purposes, legal for a woman to terminate a pregnancy as well as, abandon, or give up for adoption a child without the consent of the father.Ã‚Â Men, however, will get thrown in jail for not being able to write a check out to a woman who has no accountability as to how that money is spent simply because they are the mothers of the child (ren) of said man.Ã‚Â This can happen even if the child is, in fact, not that of said man andÃ‚Â said manÃ‚Â can prove it.
Furthermore, in our society a fathers parental rights are based in most part on the good will of the mother.Ã‚Â There are armies of social workers and lawyers on the government payroll who will assist her in taking the child out of his life if she so wishes.
Re-read the last three paragraphs above and let it sink in before reading further.
Ok, having done that, letÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s draw our attention to an article written by the UK Daily MailÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Leah Hardy entitled Ã¢â‚¬Å“Of Course Women DonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t Want a Male Pill- It Would End All of Those Ã¢â‚¬ËœHappy AccidentsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢Ã¢â‚¬Â.Ã‚Â This particular article enraged me more than any other commentary on the subject concerning a manÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s right to seek control over his own fertility and future.Ã‚Â In light of the fact that there have been millions of men jailed because they didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t hold up to the state imposed responsibilities as parents the assertion that children for men are nothing more than Ã¢â‚¬Å“happy little accidentsÃ¢â‚¬Â I findÃ‚Â abhorrent as any right thinking person should.
This article illustrates perfectly and unabashedly the REAL reason that so many women and womanÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s advocacy groups demonstrate a fierce resistance to the male pill.Ã‚Â That reason not being they are afraid that we will lie or forget, as if women never do those things, rather, it is the fear that we will actually use it.
Contrary to popular belief there is no evidence of any real long term or broad opposition to the female birth control pill after its introduction.Ã‚Â The pill was, in spite of anything you might hear from feminists, handed to women on a silver platter and the development for the male equivalent was simply left in the doldrums.Ã‚Â Just what will it take for men to assert control of their own reproductive processes?
Yup, you heard me right!Ã‚Â Ã‚Â There are too many agencies and interests representing the female genderÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s total control over reproduction for their not to be a fight over it.Ã‚Â Whenever a woman says Ã¢â‚¬Å“you men have birth control itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s called a condomÃ¢â‚¬Â or Ã¢â‚¬Å“keep it in your pantsÃ¢â‚¬Â or Ã¢â‚¬Å“just get a vasectomyÃ¢â‚¬ÂÃ‚Â Ã‚Â the response should be equivalent to the cynical and bigoted verbal spit in the face that that statement is.
Men also need to get vocal as a group concerning the male birth control pill.Ã‚Â Writing pharmaceutical companies and encouraging them to develop an internal male fertility control method is a good start.Ã‚Â Most importantly though, we absolutely must wrestle the male fertility control debate out of the hands of women and take ownership of it.
This may sound extreme to exclude women, but they are free to support the idea if they want.Ã‚Â They should not feel free to oppose it. The male pill is about men, not women, not children, not the governmentÃ¢â‚¬Â¦Ã¢â‚¬Â¦MEN and MEN alone.
Gentlemen, let us get busy and start doing something about this.Robert O'Hara is an MRA writer living in the Washington D.C. area. He is also does lobying work and other odds and ends for Stop Violent and Abusive Environments or S.A.V.E., an organization dedicated to reforming V.A.W.A.