Halted male birth control study belittles women’s voices


Women have suffered for over 50 years from the side effects of birth control. It is no surprise to the public that male birth control is appearing to bring forth similar side effects. Recently, the new form of a male contraceptive has been introduced, and mainly declined by the participants.

A study released by the Endocrine Society found that male birth control has a success rate, when used correctly, of over 96 percent. Twenty of the male participants discontinued usage of the injection, and six of the men did it only because of their drastic mood changes. The six men complained of systems that consisted of anxiety, depression, acne, palpitations, aches and pains as well as erectile dysfunction.  Men are also feeling the side effects of birth control that many women go through every day, since birth control was made legal by the Supreme Court.

It has become very apparent from the study that there are many things that need to be adjusted about male birth control, but what about the same side effects females have been encountering since the pill was prescribed in 1972. It appears that in wake of the male birth control’s side effects, females are raising their voices, as well, to the double standard. Women are questioning why we should deal with birth control side effects, put our bodies through this pain and suffering, and males same complaints are taken seriously enough to rigidly halt the study.

The study was conducted between 320 male participants that ranged from age 18 to 45. The 56-week study included men being injected regularly with two hormones, progestogen and testosterone, with the hopes it would reduce sperm count. The study was effective at reducing sperm count, but didn’t live up to the expectations of female birth control.

“It’s no surprise that women have always been and continue to be held responsible for preventing unwanted pregnancies,” said adjunct professor of philosophy Danielle Meijer. “Ostensibly it’s our responsibility because we are the ones who can get pregnant, but of course in a heterosexual encounter both partners need to be responsible for their respective roles — it takes two to make a baby after all.”

Her point is heard loud and clear, mimicking what many females are thinking. Millions of women use birth control worldwide, and are expected to suffer from these annoying and bodily — changing side effects. It is irrational for women to feel the same side effects with no amend, while the study for male birth control is halted for the same reason. Female side effects are so miserable that they can even cause sleep problems and other mental health problems.

“My body does not adapt easily to change so I was nervous about going on the Depo shot senior year of high school,” Kass Antonino, a sophomore at DePaul said. “I’ve heard all of the negative effects of birth control only when it comes to weight gain and mood changes; I thought I could handle that. However, I did not gain a lot of weight and I did not become overly moody, I instead had to endure intense and realistic night terrors.”

She went on to speak of the miserable dreams that she would have of being chased down alleys and things such as witnessing violent murders. She eventually spoke with her doctor who assured her that her dreams were caused by the hormones from her birth control.

“This made me feel a little better, but once I kept remembering the fact that these experiences were not my original thoughts, enduring my nightmares became much easier,” Antonino said.

Antonino is just one of thousands of women who experience miserable side effects from female birth control.

For the men negatively affected by these irritating side effects, maybe their complaints will help aid women’s silent call for help. The promise of males adapting their bodies to a birth control, with hopefully lesser side effects, is a positive thing for everybody across the world looking to add that extra protection to sexual experiences and preventing pregnancies.

Cody Starostka, a junior at DePaul thinks that eventually there will be positivity with male birth control.

“I think it is great that we are finally trying newer contraceptive options for men,” Starostka said. “We have a lot to work on with side effects, but a few years down the road I would be interested in trying it myself.”

For men like Starostka, they are lucky that they have the option to wait. Many females feel like they are socially and physically responsible to bear the weight of contraceptives on their back.

“The fact that there has never been a male hormone birth control is proof that sexist ideology is still at work in our society,” Meijer said. “It puts the economic as well as physical burden on women, which makes sex a much more dangerous and onerous activity for women than it does for men, and that’s simply unacceptable.”

This concern is ever growing now with a Trump presidency in office. Women are left wondering what the future of female healthcare will look like in America for the next coming years. The sexist ideology Meijer references is similar to the rhetoric Trump has expressed throughout his campaign. This topic needs to be addressed before he formerly takes office in January. Similar to women speaking up about the sexist ideology behind the study being halted, women have been speaking up in regards to Trump’s misogynistic rhetoric.

Both the rhetoric in his campaign and the reasons behind the halted study have the same underlying motives, demeaning the female voice.  With this study being halted, yet again, the sole responsibility of practicing safe sex is on the women and with a threatening president in office the future of women’s health is concerning.

The halted study is representative of the double standard women must face in present day America especially with a upcoming Trump presidency, which was fueled by sexist rhetoric. Women must keep working hard to make their voices heard on the double standard that will continue to run America.

“For women the Trump and Pence presidency looks like a setback. There has already been a lot of discussion on overturning Roe vs. Wade along with banning IUDs and other forms of birth control,” said DePaul senior Margaret Lindauer. But I will say this, we need to stay hopeful, we need to keep working. There’s so much that still needs to be done. We cannot give up the fight yet. This should only make us want to work harder for everything.”