Founded in 1974, the Women’s Center was established to:
Dismantle, from a feminist perspective, all forms of oppression, including but not limited to those based on ability, age, class, ethnicity, gender, race, and sexual orientation.
Advocate for an equitable environment free from violence and harassment based on gender, race, and sexual orientation.
Create an anti-racist, non-sexist, queer-affirmative space where all people can feel valued and safe.
Facilitate and strengthen connections among people across lines of difference through programming and educational campaigns.
Integrate an appreciation of Women's Gender and Multicultural Studies across the disciplines.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Male Birth Control Shot

Researchers in China have potentially developed a new form of birth control geared towards men: a shot of testosterone that has been shown to be safe, effective, and has no harmful short-term consequences. As Dr. Yi-Qun Gu of the National Research Institute for Family Planning in China points out, "For couples who can not, or prefer not to use only female-oriented contraception, options have been limited to vasectomy, condom and withdrawal."

He raises a good point in that male contraceptives have never had as high as a 99% success rate (I.E. condoms, the withdrawal method) without hindering the ability to conceive children, as in the case of vasectomies. However, this new option seems to be a promising lead in the often-ignored field of male birth control. For many years now, going on birth control has been seen as solely a woman's issue and there has been little to no mainstream pushes for male hormone treatment as a means of birth control. This is almost certainly caused in part by the traditional notions of masculinity, wherein a man who cannot produce viable sperm is seen as somehow being less of a man for it. It is heartening to know that research is still being conducted to provide more contraceptive options for men, as this will increase the ability of more couples to obtain access to long-term birth control. In cases where hormonal birth control or an IUD is not a viable option for a female, for example, this new shot will prevent her and her partner from being limited to condoms or shaky methods like withdrawal.

As great as this research is, one must not forget that there are precautions that would have to be taken. In addition to long-term effects not yet being known, this treatment would do absolutely nothing to stop the spread of STIs - condoms would still be the best option for those who are sexually active to prevent transmission and infection. Overall, though, this breakthrough is a great leap forward in reproductive health and one must hope that this type of research continues, because it will benefit everyone to have more contraceptive options available.

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