Men Should Also Be Responsible


I read a tweet this morning that really hits the nail on the head when it comes to pregnancy and abortion. The tweet was by Brad Betts @870south:

If a woman has sex with 100 random men in a year, she can still only produce one full term pregnancy. If a guy has sex with 100 random women in a year, he can produce 100 full term pregnancies. So why exactly are we only talking about regulating women?

Like most women, I grew up being taught that I was responsible for any kids and pregnancies that might arise in my life. Due to medical conditions, I’ve been on birth control since I was 12. Along with all it’s horrible side effects. The Real Malachi is 5 years older than I am. When I was in my late teens, he got his diagnosis of ASPD with psychopathic tendencies. He’s considered high functioning. And shortly after that diagnosis, he realized kids were not in his future. By the time he was 25, he’d convinced a doctor to do a vasectomy on him.

Here’s one of the huge differences in our society. Malachi walked into a doctor’s office, told them he didn’t want kids, and got a vasectomy at 25. At 22, I walked into my gynecologist’s office and told him, I didn’t want kids, we should tie my tubes. And was told no. Even though I’d been seeing this doctor for 10 years at that point, he wouldn’t tie my tubes, because I might change my mind and want kids later. Fast forward a few years and it’s decided that pregnancy puts me at high risk for death. So I again talked to my gynecologist. I was 25, pregnancy could kill me, why risk it? He still refused to tie my tubes. I got a second opinion from a female gynecologist that one of my friend’s raved about and she also told me she wouldn’t do it. I was too young to make that kind of decision, I might want kids in the future, I pointed out I’d been told not to have them and she responded with “medicine is always evolving, what we can’t treat today we might be able to treat by the time you want kids.”

Despite having the same doctor since I was a teen, a doctor who had been repeatedly told I didn’t want children. I couldn’t get a tubal ligation. Even after it was discovered that I had a blood disorder and pregnancy would probably cause a clot to form and kill me, I couldn’t get a tubal ligation. And I consulted four different gynecologists, got a note from my primary about the blood disorder, and got a note from my psychiatrist all stating that kids were NOT in my future. I as a 20-something female could not get a tubal ligation, nor could I get my uterus burned, another “permanent” form of birth control.

And I had side effects to the birth control pill and depo provera. The first time I took depo provera I was 19. I was 125 pounds when I got my first injection. When I went back for the second injection (3 months later) I was 190 pounds. I was told I couldn’t get the second injection, because extreme weight gain like I had experienced was an indicator of a problem with the medication. With the pill, my PMS was extreme. I’d lay around in bed for days unable to get up because the hormone migraine was so bad. And it would trigger other types of migraines. After being hospitalized for a migraine for the 4th time, my primary finally had a talk with my gynecologist because it had been triggered by a hormone migraine and they couldn’t get rid of it. I’d had that migraine over a month before I was hospitalized for it. It was decided that I didn’t require menstruation very often and I was moved to one of the newer 3 month at a time pills (it was the early 2000s and they were new at the time). After I was hospitalized a 5th time, again triggered by a hormone migraine, the way I took those pills was altered. I’d take 6 months of them before being off for a week.

This is why I get so angry about abortion bans. I have done everything in my power to prevent pregnancy since I was 12. I have taken the horrible drugs, I’ve suffered migraines from hell, I got fat because of them and haven’t been able to lose it again – especially the last 6 years since I’m once again on Depo Provera because birth control pills stopped working for me entirely. I have begged doctors to sterilize me and none would because as a woman “I might change my mind and want kids later.” I’ve been responsible about this. It seems like if the worst should happen and I become immune to the effects of Depo Provera or I have to go off it for whatever reason, I should have options. And CRPS prevents me from being sterilized now. J is afraid of needles and won’t get a vasectomy. So, even though neither of us want kids, it is still solely my responsibility to not get pregnant.

Furthermore, vasectomies and condoms are the only forms of male birth control available, because the side effects of hormone related birth control have been deemed too intense for men. But female birth control that causes migraines that require hospitalization and make you gain 65 pounds in under 3 months aren’t extreme side effects? Also for the record, Depo Provera is my last option. I can’t use an IUD because they have metal on them. Norplant the one they put in the arm also has metal on it. And I’ve become immune to birth control pills… So if Depo Provera ever stops working, I am out of birth control options. Furthermore, I know 2 women who are allergic to the artificial progesterone in hormone based birth control.

Considering men are just as necessary for pregnancy as women and male birth control doesn’t have any more extreme side effects than that of women’s hormone based birth control, it’s time to start holding men to the same standards as women when it comes to preventing pregnancy. Because as that Tweet illustrates, a man can have a lot more than one full term pregnancy in a year.

As a PS: I knew a guy in high school who didn’t like wearing condoms. He complained it didn’t feel right. When his girlfriend informed him they had to use condoms because she was allergic to hormone based birth control, he told her it was fine, if they got pregnant she could just have an abortion. They broke up over his stupidity and he told anyone that would listen what a bitch she was because she demanded he use a condom.

7 thoughts on “Men Should Also Be Responsible

  1. Unfortunately, for the average man, there may be no way to take any more responsibility than what we expect from women. Unlike your friend, my husband couldn’t get a vasectomy without me signing off on it. And another male friend in college (with documented mental health issues) was told he couldn’t get a vasectomy because “what if his future wife wanted children.”

    Even if they can find a doctor willing to give them a vasectomy, what if a man wants children in the future? There is no approved hormonal birth control out there for men, and frankly, the average man can’t do much to change that. Sure, they can write their congressmen and donate money for research, but beyond that, it isn’t like they can go out and buy black-market male birth control. So their options are condoms, which everyone agrees are not infallible, or abstaining. Since most women will agree that it is highly insulting for men to say women should just abstain, I don’t think women can reasonably ask men to abstain and still be taken seriously.

    So condoms it is. And then when that condom breaks, men have no choice about whether or not that baby is born. Whether they would choose an abortion or not, if the woman wants that baby to be born, the man is expected to pay child support. Most states, and definitely the one I live in, will pay for the paternity test so that isn’t a burden for the mother to bear. And then, heaven forbid they don’t feel connected to the child and/or never agreed to co-parent a child they didn’t want in the first place, because now they are considered no-good dead-beat dads, and fair game for public condemnation. But let’s also look the other way; if they would gladly take on the responsibility of a child they accidently created, and the woman wants an abortion, the man has no choice there either.

    This might sound like I’m anti-abortion, but while I would never choose to have one myself, I don’t think the government should be able to say whether or not I can (it’s the libertarian in me showing its colors). But I also feel the average man is getting a bum rap. Sure, there are plenty of jerks out there, just like there are plenty of jerkettes, and we all have stories of the doctor that wouldn’t listen and the boyfriend/girlfriend who pushed their preferences. But I just don’t believe the majority of men are a-holes, I just think they don’t have the options women do

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    1. I agree it’s not a good system. But hormone based male birth control has been submitted to the FDA and has always been denied because the side effects are “too intense”. And I know all too well the realities of a guy getting a girl pregnant and not having a say… a friend of mine in high school dated a girl with baby rabies, she swore she was on birth control, but wasn’t because she wanted kids, immediately and of course, he was on the hook for the child. But I don’t think abortion bans are the way to fix it. I know just as many guys that have pressured girls into having abortions as girls who’ve had them without any input from the male that got her that way. At the same time, I get tired of hearing men tell me how they hate condoms and their girlfriend/wife should be on birth control so they aren’t expected to wear them.

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  2. Keep in mind that the legislators making abortion illegal are mostly old straight white christian males. Of course they want their chattel barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen. If a woman is pregnant from rape or incest (which is probably just a variant on rape) or has an ectopic pregancy she should have thought it out first before getting pregnant. As a meme when Paul Ryan was running for vice president said “Girl, if you have an ectopic pregnancy you gonna die. It’s God’s will”

    The amazing thing to me is that these same legislators decry the idea of shariah law in the US when they want to revert us to the good old days prior to Roe vs Wade. Waiting to see Loving vs Virginia and Brown vs the Board of Education in their moral targets next.

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  3. When you think we have made Progress! In the 70s I had a friend wanted a tubal after one child and a divorce. Doc said no what if you meet Mr. RIght? If he wants children he is Mr. Wrong was her reply. It took her 4 years to get the tubal. At the same time they were telling women they could only get tubal if their husbands signed off on it, yet a man could get a vasectomy without saying a word to his wife! To quote The more things change the more they stay the same.

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  4. Unfortunately, when it comes to vasectomies and getting tubes tied goes frivolous lawsuits are a big part of the problem. Doctors have been successfully sued for regret and are therefore unwilling to do those procedures without others signing off or at all on young adults. Whatever the chance as minuscule as it maybe that medical advances would allow you to have a baby and you would all of the sudden want one if they do the procedure now you could sue them. As far as birth control goes women have all the rights. If I get a woman pregnant I cannot opt out of financial obligations, even as a nine year old raped male, for that child. So yeah men should be responsible with their sperm as the consequences can be high if they are not. Men also have no actual say in whether or not any pregnancy they help create actually results in a birth. So whether or not we want a child our sctual rights give us zero ownership over the outcome. I am not suggesting anything about abortion, but since women have total control of the outcome there is a certain amount of responsibility that comes with that.

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