On vasectomies

In an interesting opinion piece in The Guardian Felicity Hannah discusses the role of vasectomies in heterosexual couples as a feminist method of birth control. Her rationale is that with most other forms of family planning, most of the costs disproportionately fall upon women.

The third of the four goals formulated by O’Neill in his book The High Frontier is about the establishment of a voluntary, non-coercive system of birth control. Unfortunately he does not address the details of such a system. However, British zoologist Robin Baker gives an outline of his sterilization & storage system in his book Sex in the Future.

The core premise of Baker’s method is that both men and women would choose to get a vasectomy or tubal ligation, while simultaneously storing their sperm or eggs outside their bodies. Whenever a person or couple decides it is time to start or expand a family, the stored gametes will used in an IVF procedure.

Throughout his book one of Baker’s main concerns is the fact that the more affluent part of society could easily afford this method of voluntary family planning, while this would be out of reach for the poorer members of the population.

On a related note Baker also proposed a mandatory system of paternity tests, to force men to pay child support for any children they conceive. This government-run program, he argues, would create an incentive for men to get a vasectomy.

We believe that if a society really wants to prevent unwanted pregnancies and resulting abortions, it should consider to provide free sterilizations to its citizens. Of course, any participation in this system should be entirely voluntary.