I found out that a male contraceptive pill had been successfully created through a meme page.
This Wednesday, scientists announced at the Spring meeting of the American Chemical Society that they had created a new non-hormonal contraceptive pill that prevents pregnancy with no side effects. So far having been only tested in mice, they plan to test it on humans in the second half of the year.
This is seen as a breakthrough in contraceptives as men have less options that women, with their only other options being condoms, or vasectomies (which are reversible, unlike the women’s equivalent).
But yes, I found out through a meme page. And all the comments were “Hell no I’m not going to take it,” “What if I end up on meds years later because of this stupid pill,” “Rather not have to think about it tbh,” and honestly, I had to take a little break. I had to get up, walk around, take some deep breaths, because inside I was filled with a roiling fury.
Naturally, the pharmaceutical industry would focus on creating a side-effect free pill for young men, who then would decide not to take it, “just in case.” Society raised a huge problem with the Covid-19 vaccine, considering it had a 1 in 100,000 chance of creating blood clots, and people didn’t want to take it due to those side effects. Little did they know, women’s contraceptive pills taken daily hold a much higher risk of blood clotting, and the world is silent. Currently, with the contraceptive pill I am on – the pill with the least chance of weight gain, acne, depression, and anxiety – has a risk of 5 in 10,000 chance of creating blood clots. Compared to 1 in 100,000, that’s a big jump.
Most female contraceptive pills have a similar risk of blood clotting, with the National Blood Clot Alliance stating that the number is as high as 1 in 3000 a year. Other side effects for female contraceptive pills include nausea, muscle tenderness, migraines, weight gain, depression, decreased libido, and even changes to the thickness of the cornea in your eyes, weirdly enough.
Other contraceptive methods such as IUD’s or the patch hold similar risks.
On this particular Instagram post, naturally women in the comments were upset that big pharma had not improved our current contraceptive pills and the risks they pose, and to make matters worse, men were meeting that argument with, “Well we’re not forcing you to take birth control! Don’t complain about double standards when it’s your choice…” This point of view is so casually cruel – and here’s why.
If we don’t take forms of contraception, and we risk getting pregnant, the burden of creating and raising a child traditionally fall to the woman, effectively screeching her career to a halt and potentially damning her to a life of poverty. This may seem extreme, but the Turnaway Study proved that women denied adequate contraceptive and access to abortion (stringent and almost impossible regulations are becoming more and more common these days surrounding abortion) “results in worse financial, health and family outcomes.” In the US, 4 out of every 10 single-parent family headed by a woman live in poverty, with 45% of those being classed in the “extreme poverty” zone.
So thank god men finally have a contraceptive pill without ANY side effects! Women have been using contraceptive pills since the 1960’s, and clearly the pharmaceutical industry did not care to safeguard women against potentially fatal side effects. Now, men have a side-effect free contraceptive pill – that they don’t seem to be willing to take “just in case”.
Would I trust a man to consistently take his contraceptive pill? Would I trust a man to metaphorically hold the risk of my pregnancy in his hands? If men don’t want to wear condoms to prevent pregnancy because “it just doesn’t feel as good,” what are the chances that those same men are going to consistently take a contraceptive every day at the same time?
It’s actually a great thing that men will be able to take control of their fertility, and control unwanted pregnancies. But it remains to be seen whether this will positively affect women or not. Will it become common for men to take the pill? I hope so. Until then, I’ll be wearing my compression socks on the plane, and hoping that with all the growing number of women in STEM, one day we’ll have crucial medication that doesn’t make us fat, depressed, sick, or dead!