Sunday, March 18, 2012

Double Standard

There's been much debate lately regarding contraception. And, whether or not you follow politics or keep yourself abreast of current legislation, chances are good that you've at least heard SOMETHING about the "whore pill" argument.

What I haven't seen, however, is a look at the other side of things.

The male side of things.

You know. The side with the penis.

The side with the sperm.

"The sperm required for pregnancy, Lindsey?"

Yes, dear reader.

Because, you see, a female can't become pregnant unless an egg is fertilized. With sperm. From a male.

I just blew your mind, right?

Well, Ohio State Senator Nina Turner is taking a stand.

You can watch her interview on MSNBC here: Viagra Bill

In an effort to level the playing field in an all-out war on female reproductive health, Turner has introduced Senate Bill 307; a bill that would severely limit a man's ability to acquire a Viagra prescription. To be more specific, the bill would require a man who wants a prescription for Viagra or other erectile dysfunction drugs to see a sex therapist, receive a cardiac stress test, and get a notarized affidavit signed by a sexual partner affirming impotency.

The best part about it? She's dead serious.
Turner is inspired by female legislators across the country who have been countering anti-abortion and anti-contraception legislation with men's health-focused measures that come with conditions, she said. Oklahoma Sen. Constance Johnson, also a Democrat, proposed a "spilled semen" amendment to her state's "feel personhood" bill that would declare it an act against unborn children for men to waste sperm. Illinois state Rep. Kelly Cassidy, another Democrat, introduced an amendment to a state mandatory ultrasound bill that would require men to watch a graphic video about Viagra's side effects before being able to receive a prescription for it. A bill filed by Virginia state Sen. Janet Howell (D), would require men to obtain a rectal exam before obtaining such a prescription. In Wilmington, Del., City Councilwoman Loretta Walsh authored a resolution that declares "each 'egg person' and each 'sperm person' ... equal in the eyes of the government."
Source: Huffington Post

And, while these amendments and bills will most likely never receive any sort support, we can't deny the attention that these women are bringing to the "other side of things."

Sure, we read the proposed legislation and giggle about it. We share it with our friends on facebook, and we write comments in support of women taking a stand. But the truth of the matter is, there IS a double standard in contraception and reproductive health. That cannot be ignored.

Let's take a moment to delve into the male gender and the role that they play in conception. The saying, "it takes two to tango," may be cliché, but it's true: a pregnancy can't happen without a sperm and an egg. While the male birth control pill may be on the horizon (read about the progress here: Male BC), the only contraceptive measures currently available for men are either A) condoms, or B) a vasectomy.

All other birth control pill usages aside (cycle regulation, acne, PCOS, etc), let's look at it from a pregnancy prevention standpoint ONLY for a moment.

If you are against the birth control pill (and, subsequently, against allowing it to be covered by health insurance plans), should you not also be against condom use? If we're going for equality here, and you are looking to place stringent rules in place regarding a woman's access to pregnancy prevention, should you not also do the same for men? After all, a pregnancy can't happen without an egg AND a sperm - and a woman on her own only has one part of the equation. And yet, condoms are available over-the-counter, in grocery stores, drug stores, and even gas stations. No one asks you for proof about why you're buying a pack of condoms - chances are good that you're buying them with the intention of using them for pregnancy prevention, but who's to say that you're not just an art student, making a collage? Or, that you need them for props on a film set?

What if condoms required a prescription? If they were marketed as "male birth control," chances are good that they COULD require a prescription. Furthermore, if condoms suddenly DID require a prescription, and your employer was allowed to fire you because he/she doesn't believe you should be using birth control unless you have a medical reason to do so, how many men would suddenly be without a job?

What I'm trying to say is, if you're going to limit a women's ability to access contraceptives, then you should also limit a man's ability to access contraceptives. Perhaps that seems a little far-fetched, but then again, is it? Really?

1 comment:

  1. This has always been one of my favorite arguments to make on the matter. Amen that it is finally being voiced by our women representatives. I can only hope men will be as receptive to the very obvious double standard.