The Independent

Male birth control: glove it or snip it

Amaris Rodriguez, Staff writer

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I remember listening to my doctor as she listed off all the possible birth control methods I could use, and I wondered if my boyfriend ever had these conversations with his doctor.

As women, we have many different options for birth control (which is a positive thing), but rarely do we think about or discuss birth control for men besides condoms.

This thought kept increasing after hearing the controversy surrounding female contraceptives and whether or not they should be covered by health insurance.

Earlier this October, CNN reported that President Trump’s administration passed a rule that made it easier for employers and other organizations to opt out of providing health coverage for birth control citing religious reasons.

But what about forms of contraceptives for males?

While scientists are trying to develop new methods of birth control for men, at the moment the two most popular options are condoms and vasectomies.

Most people know about condoms, but vasectomies are frequently less mentioned.

As female contraceptives are making headline news lately and condoms seem to not be an issue involving insurance, the topic of vasectomies should be discussed more.

A vasectomy is a procedure where the small tubes in a man’s scrotum are cut off so that sperm cannot leave the body and cause a pregnancy. They are considered a more permanent form of birth control but vasectomies can be reversed.

As one of the only primary forms of birth control for men, vasectomies are often quite costly but that does not seem to be a concern as most insurance plans cover partial, if not the whole cost of the procedure, depending on one’s health insurance.

While female-oriented birth control, such as the pill, is being criticized by legislators and is controversial when it comes to medical health insurance coverage and access, vasectomies don’t seem to have that problem.

This past June, Vermont was added to a list of several states that are working towards making the procedure covered by health insurance.

As someone who believes that woman should have access to affordable birth control, it is infuriating that, while the media covers all of the controversies on whether or not female birth control should be covered by health insurance, male “birth control” flies under the radar.

While both female and male contraceptives face the backlash from religious organizations that believe their use is immoral and against God’s will, vasectomies seem less controversial than the pill.

I genuinely believe that one of the main reasons why vasectomies aren’t as looked down upon like other forms of contraceptives is because they are for men.

However, I have also found out that their stigma is lessened by the belief that they are, for the most part, a family decision.

State Sen. Christopher Pearson of Vermont oversaw the legislation and said, “In many cases, families make this decision together, and that’s appropriate.”

This contributing factor is controversial in itself. While I agree that a couple should talk about their future together and whether that will involve a biological child, I believe that birth control is a personal choice.

If a woman decides that she does not want to have a child, that is a decision her partner needs to respect. Likewise, if a man decides that he wants a vasectomy, his partner should respect his wishes.

Regardless of the birth control method, both males and females decisions regarding their bodies have to be considered in order to have a healthy relationship.

Recently “The Vampire Diaries” actor Ian Somerhalder came under scrutiny when the public misinterpreted a comment he made during Dr. Berlin’s “Informed Pregnancy” podcast. Viewers believed he purposely threw out his wife’s birth control pills to start a family without Nikki Reed’s consent.

While that might not have been what happened, the main message is that his wife had a right to take her birth control even without his support or permission, regardless of their relationship status.

That should be the main discussion point when considering birth control for both parties and one that politicians seem to never address.

Vasectomies should not be praised or seen as a birth control option for the whole family, as that title gives the impression that the individual’s wants are outweighed by the approval of others.

As I continue to search for a form of birth control, my only concern is how I feel about it.

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