Every few years, a story circulates in the media about a men’s contraceptive pill. Currently, all men can do if they don’t want to get a girl pregnant is wear a condom – which all men say they hate – or get a vasectomy which seems so drastic. Hence, we live in a culture in which women mostly bear the weight of the problem of contraception and its counterpart unwanted pregnancy.
I never paid much attention to this men’s pill story, but suddenly it hit me: life would be different if men could take a pill. First of all, the whole women-trapping-men-by-getting-pregnant-just-as-the-guy-was-breaking-it-off paradigm would end. It sounds simple, but do you know how many men fall into this every year? You probably know several. I know men and women on both sides of that. “The oldest trick in the book,” it’s been called, but if men were taking the pill…
“There would be no kids,” one man emphatically told me. Then amended, “Well, far fewer unwanted pregnancies.” But, I reminded him, men’s single-mindedness makes them forgetful. So forgetting to take the pill would result in more unwanted pregnancies. Still, it seems that if both men and women can take the pill, unwanted pregnancies would probably decrease in general.
Money could also be saved obviating DNA tests for men on the pill. For example:
She: I’m pregnant.
He: You are? Whose is it?
She: It’s yours. I haven’t been with anybody else.
He: Really? But I’m on the pill.
She: Have you been taking it every day?
She: Maybe it’s not working. It’s a new drug after all.
He: It’s working. I just had a test.
BAM! He’s not the dad, and he finds out she’s cheating on him.
But the above episode illustrates another fear: that the pill won’t work, or that its effects won’t be reversible. According to a recent article in the New York Times, however, the men’s pill they’re testing has only a temporary effect, and allows men to go in and out of fertile periods.
Increasingly, as one man points out, men are taking charge of childcare, and even divorces, at least in California, often default to joint custody now, so it’s in a man’s best interest to take charge of contraception. A men’s pill gives men more say regarding domestic issues, specifically, the number he has take care of. What are we waiting for?