Snipping your tubes won’t cost a thing!
Contraceptives aren’t the exception in this modern day and age—they’re the rule! More than 99% of the women over the age of 15 who have had sexual intercourse have used contraceptives at some point. It’s estimated that up to 62% of women of reproductive age are using contraceptive methods right now.
But women aren’t the only ones who need to take measures to prevent pregnancy. Men have the responsibility to have safe sex as well! Thankfully, a lot of men are being smart about their sex. Up to 93% of men surveyed said they used protection the last time they had sex. Up to 85% of them use contraceptives regularly. And 16% of men between the ages of 36 to 45 have had a vasectomy.
A vasectomy is a simple procedure where the vas deferens in the testes are severed and tied. This prevents the flow of sperm, ensuring that ejaculation only delivers semen. Without sperm, there is no risk of pregnancy. This makes vasectomies the most effective form of contraception for men.
And, thanks to lawmakers in a few U.S. states, vasectomies may soon become free around the country!
Women in states like Illinois, Maryland, New York, and Vermont are able to undergo tubal ligation (the female sterilization surgery) without being charged. On the other hand, men have to pay a pretty hefty out-of-pocket expense in order to undergo the surgery. But there are proposals being presented to governing bodies in these states for sterilization equality. Essentially, these proposals state that if women can receive free surgeries for sterilization, men should be able to receive them for free as well.
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Oddly enough, it’s WOMEN championing the case for free vasectomies. They believe that promoting free tubal ligation is putting the decision and burden of contraception on the woman’s shoulders, rather than making it an equal partner decision. Couples trying to live frugally will obviously choose the free surgery. This means more women will be sterilized—an inequality the women in these states believe needs to change.
They believe birth control can’t only be the decision and burden of the women. It needs to be a shared relationship burden. If the women championing this cause have their way, men will be able to soon receive free vasectomies. Even if they don’t actually receive the vasectomies, the ruling will bring more equality to the birth control decision.
Here’s a fun fact: up to 25% of women would rather use a male-only form of contraceptives. In most cases, that means the men wear condoms. However, a lot of the women would prefer the MEN receive vasectomies rather than undergoing tubal ligation. But because of the high cost of vasectomies, more women receive sterilization surgeries than men.
Of course, health insurance companies aren’t jumping at the change. They’re looking for ways to cut costs and keep premiums low, not find new ways for people to undergo free medical procedures at the insurer’s expense.
Whatever the outcome, it’s important to understand that this is a decision about CHOICE, not one intended to promote sterilization. If the burden automatically falls on women, there is no choice or equality. Money is often the prime motivator behind many decisions, including the decision to undergo sterilization surgery. If the cost for male and female sterilization is the same (free), it will lead to a much more equal discussion and decision. That is the point behind this decision, and for that reason, free vasectomies may soon become a reality!