by ALEXANDRA DESANCTIS
A new study shows that a hormonal birth-control shot for males could effectively prevent pregnancy in female partners, but further studies were cancelled after the men involved in the study experienced side effects, primarily depression. The decision to curtail the studies is ironic, considering the growing evidence that hormonal birth control has similarly negative side effects for women.
The latest example is a recent study of over one million women, which showed that the birth-control pill greatly increases women’s risk of depression, exponentially so among teenage girls. It’s generally accepted — especially after reviewing the evidence gathered over the 55 years since the pill was first approved — that 20 to 30 percent of women on hormonal birth control have experienced depression severe enough to require anti-depressants. Contraception bears negative consequences for a vast number of women, compared to the depression experienced by a mere three percent of the 320 men who received the trial birth-control shot.
And depression is not the only possible side effect for women who take hormonal birth control. A number of studies have shown that women on the pill have a higher risk for developing breast cancer; the World Health Organization has classified many hormonal contraceptives as class-one carcinogens. There are reports that Plan B One-Step, an emergency contraceptive that can function as an abortifacient, necessarily causes systemic side effects in every woman who takes the drug. Hormonal contraception clearly poses terrible risks to women’s health, risks much more serious those experienced by the men in this study.
“If anything, this may wake us up to finding out better hormonal contraceptives for women, right?” said Dr. Seth Cohen, a urologist at NYU Langone Medical Center. “Because certainly, I know that a lot of young women don’t get the type of counseling that maybe they deserve when it comes to contraception. Just a [prescription] and a visit to Duane Reade is all they get, and that may not be enough.”
It is disgraceful that the medical community would abandon male contraception due to mild side effects while at the same continuing to prescribe and advocate even more harmful methods of birth control for countless women. If feminists and “pro-woman” medical professionals actually cared about women’s health — as opposed to unequivocally defending Planned Parenthood, insisting upon abortion-on-demand, and advocating ubiquitous, government-funded contraceptives — they would expose this clear double standard that favors men’s health over women’s.