Who should be responsible for birth control?

COURTNEY DICKSON — THE OMEGA (Thompson Rivers University)

Do you and your sexual partners talk about birth control?

Do you and your sexual partners talk about birth control?

KAMLOOPS (CUP) — Birth control for men has been making headlines lately. The pill hasn’t been perfected, but doctors and scientists are working on a hormone-based contraceptive for males and hope to have it ready for the market in the next five years.

Other than throwing on a rubber, all guys can do to contribute to baby prevention is get a vasectomy — and for most university-aged males that’s not an option. Otherwise, it’s up to the female or both parties working together to be responsible for birth control.

Women generally seem to be footing the bill for birth control. The cost is pretty minimal depending on the health care plan you have and what kind of contraception you choose. These expenses seem small, but they do add up.

For three months (84 days) of birth control pills, I pay $20. While this number varies depending on generic or name brand products, what kind of pill you take and what your health care coverage is, this seems pretty common for the pill. Broken down, the cost is less than $7 per month — seems reasonable.

After years of footing that bill, though, females can end up spending drastically more on contraception than their male partners.

Mirena, a common hormonal intrauterine device (IUD), costs $400. It  lasts for up to five years, but I don’t know many students or young people in general  who can afford a $400 bill all in one shot. While it might be a good investment in the long run, it’s unreasonable for those who may be struggling with money — such as students.

A box of 12 condoms costs roughly $10. That’s not so bad, and has the added bonus that it can be shared between partners. However, depending on how often you have sex and whether or not you’re in a monogamous relationship, that cost can climb pretty quickly.

In 1920, the founder of Planned Parenthood wrote Woman and the New Race, where she stated a woman cannot be free until she makes the conscious decision of whether or not to become a mother.

While this was written almost 100 years ago, I think many would still agree. But does that mean no man can be free unless he makes a conscious decision to be a father?

Women should be in control of their bodies and so should men. All genders need to take responsibility for their sexual health and activities.

About 40 per cent of pregnancies in Canada are unplanned, according to a study by the University of Ottawa. Though this can be due to failed contraception — or a complete lack of it from either party — would this number go down if males could also have access to more contraceptive options?

Some might argue there’s no sense in men doing what some women are already doing to prevent unwanted pregnancy. However, having the option certainly wouldn’t hurt.

Some women don’t want to go on the pill or use hormonal contraception because they don’t want the side effects. Perhaps if their male partners could try a pill or an injection they wouldn’t mind any potential side effects and the contraception dilemma would be solved.

The idea of a male birth control pill is very interesting. Not only would the concept mean big changes in relationships and health but it would mean a big change for society.

Until then, both parties need to be active participants in deciding what kind of birth control gets used — including discussions over cost.

Photo: Jenny Lee Silver/flickr

  • Anonymous

    Luckily, with the U of S Health Plan, the cost of Mirena is reduced to approximately $78

  • Mickey

    I look forward to the male birth control pill with open arms. Men will FINALLY have another option and I would think it could dramatically drop the rates of paternity fraud as well.

  • NightLord_001

    male contraception would be a godsend, so much easier than tossing those pro-life girls down the stairs and hoping for a miscarriage

  • angry foodie

    Strange…wonder what side effects such a pill would have on men. I know the problems some women have with the pill, and we all know that both men and women would rather not use condoms. I would be willing to try it…