Who should be responsible for birth control?

Courtney Dickson, Wellness Columnist Ω

Courtney Dickson, Wellness Columnist Ω

Courtney Dickson, Wellness Columnist Ω

In most cases, a child is the responsibility of the two people who conceived it. So, preventing an unwanted child should be up to two people, too – not just one.

Birth control for dudes has been making headlines lately. The pill hasn’t been perfected, but doctors and scientists are working on a hormone-based contraceptive for men and hope to have it ready 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.

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

According to TRUSU president Dylan Robinson, birth control is completely covered through the TRUSU health and dental plan, for up to $3,000 per year. So for those who aren’t satisfied with their health care plans, TRUSU’s plan may be something to look into.

For three months (84 days) of birth control pills, I pay $20. While this number varies depending on whether you use generic or name brand products, what kind of pill you take and what your health care coverage is like, this seems pretty common for the pill. So less than $7 per month – seems reasonable. After years of footing that bill though, females have often spent drastically more on contraception than their male partners.

Mirena, a common IUD, costs $400. It does last for up to five years, but I don’t know many students or young people 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 struggling with money (i.e. students).

A box of 12 condoms costs roughly $10. That’s not so bad, and that’s a cost that can be shared. Depending on your rate of intercourse and whether you’re in a monogamous relationship, however, 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 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 University of Ottawa study. Though this can be due to failed contraception, or none at all from either party, I wonder if this number would go down if males, too, could 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 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, or something, they wouldn’t mind any potential side effects and the contraception dilemma would be solved.

It’s all very interesting, the idea of a male birth control pill. Not only would that mean big changes in relationships and health, but it would mean a big change for society.