Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Take It Like A Man

Why do men so often balk at making birth control their responsibility?

While my husband doesn't always see my side of the reproductive rights argument, I love that he always says "It's your dick, preventing a baby is your problem."

I was thinking of this when I ran into a piece on Feministing earlier this week regarding men's opinions on a new "on/off" contraception design--for the penis.

Upon reading this post at Gizmodo about a new male contraceptive implant, I have to say: cry me a fucking river.
Scientists in Australia are developing a radio-controlled contraceptive implant that would control the flow of a man's sperm at the flick of a switch. The valve would be "push-fit" inside the vas deferens (duct that carries sperm from the testicles to the penis) and could be opened or closed remotely depending on the baby making needs of the user. This is making me a bit nauseous, but I will forge ahead...

Oh man, having an implant in your body so that you don't conceive? That sounds terrible. I can't believe anyone would willingly go through that!

But what if your doctor is an asshole? You know, the kind of guy that will mess with his patient's junk from afar? Or what if the controls were stolen? It would be worrisome to say the least.

Yeah, what would it be like if your doctor or other health care professionals -- or heck, even your partner -- wanted to mess with your reproductive choices?! Or what if they wanted to prevent you from getting such a device, or on the flip side, to force you to get one? That would suck!

That, and the very real possibility that the valve will clog with protein over time and the user will become permanently infertile. Still, this does seem like a viable alternative if it ever becomes a reality.

Gee, must be tough for dudes to have to weigh some health risks and potential long-term side effects with other concerns -- like not wanting kids yet, but also not wanting to opt for permanent sterilization. Can't imagine what that's like.

I can't summarize the feminist perspective in better words, really. And then, as I was contemplating men's resistance to having their bodies being altered for birth control purposes, I saw this post at True Mom Confessions about a mother trying to "protect" her son from the damages of a vasectomy.

I am currently pregnant with number 3. My dh and I have decided we definitely don't want more kids and that a vasectomy is our best option. Well, this weekend I made the mistake of discussing this with my sil and my mil happened to be there. She asked me if it was dangerous for the man and maybe is should just get an iud. I should have known better than to say this in front of her but she makes it sound like I am willing to take unnecessary risks with my dh's health. I love him to, but damn I went through with 3 pregnancies....what about the risk to me??? The decision should be just between my dh and I....serves me right for not keeping my mouth shut!

If I had been the daughter-in-law making this "confession," my reaction the mother-in-law would have been, "Well, I've already had enough things shoved up my uterus, I think it's John's turn." Vasectomies are fairly simple procedures and can even be reversed if necessary. There's no need to fear them. Unless you're a die-hard "All Babied Want To Get Borned" crusader and think that vasectomies are essentially the murder of poor innocent sperm! Which could become babies someday!

It all reminds me of the scene in Legally Blonde, where Elle Woods, sitting in law class, is debating the parental rights of a sperm donor. When her dunce of an ex-boyfriend says the father of course should have access, because the child was conceived by his sperm, Elle counters with the argument that he gave away more than one sperm, and therefore, should be seeking contact with all products of sperm:
Elle: For that matter, any masturbatory emissions, where the sperm is clearly not seeking an egg, could be termed reckless abandonment.
Professor Callahan: You've just won your case.
I'm sure if the Religious Right Wrong continues its war against abortion and reproductive rights, someday we'll have a protest against the reckless abandonment of sperm.

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