After Roe, Men Might Finally Get Better Birth Control
Following the US Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision, which ended the federal right to abortion, attention has centered on women’s access to birth control options like Plan B, IUDs or tubal ligation, and hormonal contraception. But what about options for men?
Men only have a few reliable choices: Use condoms or get a vasectomy. Condoms are the most accessible; they’re cheap, readily available, don’t require a prescription, and according to Planned Parenthood, are 98 percent effective when used correctly. But they’re not always used correctly or consistently, so in real life they’re only about 85 percent effective. Plus, many men don’t like using them—and some would prefer an option that’s less likely to be fumbled or forgotten. While more men seem to be pursuing vasectomies in the wake of Roe v. Wade’s overturn, the procedure isn’t easily reversible. Contraceptive drugs—akin to the pill for women—still aren’t available for men. But the court’s decision could speed their development.
“The Roe situation has really brought more societal attention to the lack of male contraception,” says Heather Vahdat, executive director of the Male Contraceptive Initiative, a nonprofit based in Durham, North Carolina, that funds research into nonhormonal, reversible male birth control. “I think men are wanting to be more engaged partners, but they just don’t have the tools.”
About 4 percent of US men aged 18 to 45 have undergone a vasectomy, a surgical procedure which involves cutting the tubes that carry sperm to be mixed into semen. And while it’s too early to see how the post-Dobbs numbers will compare with previous years’, doctors at some clinics that provide vasectomies say they’re seeing more demand. “We’ve definitely had more interest,” says Sarah Vij, director of the Center for Male Fertility at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio. Previously, the center got about 15 to 20 requests for vasectomy consultations a week. That number jumped to 90 in the week following Roe’s overturn.
It’s not clear how many of those men will actually go through with the procedure, but the stakes of an unwanted pregnancy are much higher in Ohio than they used to be. In 2019, Republican legislators passed a bill making abortion illegal past six weeks into a pregnancy, but a federal court had blocked its enforcement so long as Roe was in place. The law went into effect in June, just hours after the Supreme Court delivered its decision.
James Daitch, a doctor at Arizona Urology Specialists who performs vasectomies, says his practice has seen a 21 percent increase in calls for vasectomy consultations since last year around this time. “My feeling is that people are becoming more aware of vasectomies. If I had to predict, my guess is that more men will be getting them than in the past,” he says.
Arizona may also be facing tighter abortion laws. In March, Governor Doug Ducey signed a bill into law limiting abortion access to 15 weeks of pregnancy. Arizona has a pre-statehood law that bans all abortions, but it’s been blocked by a court order for nearly 50 years. Earlier this month, the state’s Republican attorney general asked a court to reinstate the ban for all abortions except when the life of the mother is at risk.
via Wired https://www.wired.com
July 22, 2022 at 04:06AM