It's Time for Male Contraception

It's Time for Male Contraception

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Liza W started this petition to Food and Drug Administration and

The issue:

In 1960, the United States Food and Drug Administration approved the use of female oral contraceptives. "The Pill" dramatically changed the relationship between females and reproduction, creating a level of autonomy over the process that was unprecedented. The impact that the 60-year-old decision has had in the U.S. really cannot be understated- by 2013, studies showed that "four out of five sexually experienced women [had] used the pill." The last 6 decades have seen a broadening of contraceptive options, but many users still find it difficult to find a method that is both effective and completely safe. The reality of the situation is that users, rather than having the option to take contraception, are now expected to. The responsibility of preventing pregnancy at the cost of their health has become a burden that only female users have to bear. "The Pill" no longer liberates- it oppresses by enforcing traditional gender roles. 

Why should I care?

What's interesting about this issue is the fact that it directly impacts such a large number of people in the U.S. Regardless of race, ideology, sexuality, etc. males really only have three contraceptive options: 1) condoms, 2) abstinence, and 3) vasectomies. They don't have access to a single method of birth control- oral, topical, or otherwise- that is both long-lasting and consistently reversible. The FDA's failure to approve a form of male birth control is not only placing 100% of the burden of preventing pregnancies on females, but blatantly ignores the reproductive rights of males. 

What needs to happen:

It has been 60 years since the FDA approved the use of "the pill." We will not wait a moment longer for the administration to approve the use of male contraceptives. The speed at which trials involving male contraceptives are moving is insultingly slow, and with each passing year the divide between those who carry children and those who cannot grows more stark. The approval of male contraception is a fundamental part of breaking the rift that exists in reproduction and the care of children. Without FDA approval, males and females aren't even afforded the possibility of leveling the playing field in their relationships. 

An explanation on the part of the FDA or any other entity currently conducting trials will not be sufficient or acceptable. The approval of at least one form of male birth control must happen now.

A (very short) list of male contraceptives currently being tested:

Vasalgel

"VasalgelTM is being developed as a long-acting, non-hormonal contraceptive with a significant advantage over vasectomy: it is likely to be more reversible. The procedure is similar to a no-scalpel vasectomy, except a gel is injected into the vas deferens (the tube the sperm swim through), rather than cutting the vas (as is done in vasectomy). If a man wishes to restore the flow of sperm, whether after months or years, the polymer would be dissolved and flushed out.

In early 2010, the Parsemus Foundation began developing Vasalgel as a new vas-occlusive polymer contraceptive. Revolution Contraceptives was created to bring the product to market. This social venture company’s mission is to empower men worldwide to better control their reproduction with a reliable, safe, cost-effective, and reversible contraceptive."

Nestorone®/Testosterone

"The Population Council has developed a contraceptive gel for men that can be applied once daily and absorbed through the skin of a man’s shoulders and upper arms. The gel contains the progestin Nestorone®, which has been shown to suppress sperm creation in men, and testosterone, which is already approved and marketed in gel form in the United States."

Dimethandrolone Undecanoate

"Like the pill for women, the experimental male oral contraceptive—called [sic] DMAU—combines activity of an androgen (male hormone) like testosterone, and a progestin, and is taken once a day."

What else can I do?

Sure, signing this petition is pretty good. But what else can you do?

Start talking. Don't stop.

At the moment, there isn't even a conversation happening in the U.S. about male contraception. We need to start talking about what roles still exist in reproductive relationships and thinking about what sort of message we'll be sending to future generations by ignoring this divide. We need to ask ourselves whether or not it's fair to expect only one sort of person to have to take birth control when we've surpassed the point of being able to provide it for every sort of person.

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