Last week, we talked about male feminist allies. This week, we’re going to talk about male birth control!

The problem is that there’s not a whole lot to say about it. Men’s options are a vasectomy (chill, they’re fine), a condom, or ejaculating somewhere that’s not inside a vagina, which, best of luck, my bros. While checking all my various reproductive news sources every week, I come across a litany of headlines promising: “MALE BIRTH CONTROL IS ALMOST HERE! IT’S SO CLOSE!” Which, incidentally, is what one tends to hear just a second too late when implementing that third form of male birth control.

Why do we rarely include those headlines in our roundup? Because, frankly, I’ll believe it when I see it in the wild. This has been said 14 billion trillion times, but I don’t think it can be said enough: Until the burden of contraception is borne equally and abortion access is universal, women will always be the ones who end up being punished just a bit more in sexual relationships — which is why, ladies, you should never feel bad about being selfish in bed! That’s mostly a joke.

This real news is powered by you. Support Grist

Anyway, South Carolina State Rep. Mia McLeod (D) is doing the Goddess’ work and calling attention to just how unbalanced our approach to reproductive responsibility is — by demanding the same obstacles for men seeking Viagra that women face as they seek abortion care. “You could consider it tongue-in-cheek, but I think it’s no laughing matter for women who have been dealing with this issue for years,” she said to The State.

That’s extremely hot, Rep. McLeod! With that, let’s dive in to our news for the week.

SHOT: We gotta talk about RU-486, aka mifepristone, bka the very easiest way to get an abortion. In Arizona, lawmakers successfully repealed two laws concerning the drug: The first outlawed its use in abortions after seven weeks of gestation, and the second required doctors to tell women that a non-surgical abortion could be reversed by substituting a heavy dose of progesterone for the second dose of RU-486. Laws like the latter create another layer of doubt for women considering abortions, despite the fact that this information has not been proven to be medically accurate — and yet, a very similar law was just passed in South Dakota.

SHOT: The Illinois House of Representatives passed a bill that will require health insurance plans to cover contraception — including, controversially, Plan B. According to Northern Public Radio, Illinois State Rep. Dwight Kay (R) takes issue with the bill, even though mandatory birth control coverage is already federal law: “I seriously question how much promiscuity should an insurance company pay,” he said. How much? All of it, Dwight. All of it! I will not rest until Blue Cross Blue Shield is wholly on the line for every second of rampant, recreational fucking!

SHOT: The Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives, the House committee investigating Planned Parenthood’s alleged sale of fetal tissue, is likely basing their investigation almost entirely on “stolen and misleading documents,” according to Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.).

SHOT: There’s a new pregnancy test that connects to your smartphone. From Fortune: “During the three minutes between the time she takes the test and receives the results, the app offers her three options to help mitigate anxiety — Calm Me, Educate Me, and Entertain Me. Calm Me offers relaxing visuals, including ocean waves; Educate Me provides informative content, like quizzes about fertility and conception; and Entertain Me shows her videos of playful animals and other similarly distracting things.” Yes, ladies, you can now pee on the most bafflingly high-tech stick you never dreamed of, but you still can’t get a condom that men will wear without complaining. Coincidence?

SHOT: Last Friday, Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant (R) outlawed a procedure that’s commonly implemented in miscarriages and late-term abortions. According to Rewire, Bryant announced on Twitter that he’s “making Mississippi the safest place in America for an unborn child.” Because when it comes to actual living women, who cares, right?

SHOT: What are candidates saying about abortion this week? Donald Trump — unlike Ted “Not Not the Zodiac Killer” Cruz — thinks that the GOP platform should be amended to make exceptions for abortion in the case of rape, incest, and to save the life of the mother. (Currently, it does not condone those exceptions.) Hillary Clinton was “appalled” by Bernie Sanders calling abortion issues a “distraction” from real issues.

CHASER: In addition to having to take on the majority of responsibility in the contraception department, women often feel pressured to do some bonkers things in the bedroom. Try these tonight! ;)


Why do we do this news roundup every week? Even if each subsequent development in access to sexual education, contraception, and abortion is hair-tearing-ly frustrating, it’s really important that women know that they’re happening.

But why should all environmentalists (and humans, honestly) care about reproductive rights? Watch our video to find out more: