Birth control costs have been the subject of huge debate over the past couple of weeks; a lot of people don’t think
women “sluts” deserve any help financing the logistics of family planning. Meanwhile, men are getting all kinds of encouragement to exercise their right to kid-free sex, including free pizza! A Cape Cod clinic is offering men a free pizza with their vasectomy, capitalizing on the fact that March is apparently the most popular time of year for men to exercise their reproductive rights. Other clinics have also taken the same marketing slant, suggesting that men get it done now so that they watch March Madness “guilt-free.”
Urology Associates of Cape Cod made local news with their ploy to get men in for surgery; watch the four-minute segment, wherein a reporter basically emphasizes the clinic’s sales pitch, below. And Virginia Urology is also getting attention for their new site, vasectomymaddness.com, where they pitch a similar argument for getting your vas deferens severed in time for college basketball’s biggest weekend:
Spend 3 days on the couch watching hoops with your wife’s approval! … Watch the Tournament While You Recover: Enjoy full days of uninterrupted basketball action from your couch.
Apparently, these clinics do see an uptick in vasectomy requests this time of year (though we don’t know if it’s inspired by March Madness so much as St. Patrick’s Day regret). But what’s more astounding than the seemingly random link between basketball and, well, getting your balls operated on, is the fact that men are being actively rewarded for taking control of their reproductive responsibilities, while women are being verbally abused for doing the same.
According to vasectomy.com, the cost of the procedure is often covered under insurance; even when it’s not, it’s relatively inexpensive compared to many methods of female contraceptive:
Typically, vasectomy costs will be in the range of $500 to $1,000, depending on geographic location, the surgical technique used by the doctor and other variables. But there may be little or no out-of-pocket cost to you…Contact your medical insurance company and discuss your health insurance coverage, as most insurance programs include vasectomy. In such cases, the majority of the associated vasectomy costs will be paid through the insurance. The out-of-pocket cost to you could be only a small co-pay or deductible amount.
Sounds nice, right?
It also sounds nice to walk into a doctor’s office, ask for a vasectomy, and get one. Women who seek out sterilization are not only confronted with a much more difficult and costly surgery; they’re also confronted by doctors who refuse to do it unless they’ve already had kids or are over a certain age. (Plenty of Blisstree commenters have experienced rejection from their doctors when asking to be sterilized; Blisstree writer Hanna has written at length about how her doctor determined for her that she’s too young.) Vasectomies are reversible, and tubal ligation isn’t, but something about men getting lured into vasectomies with pizza and free pass to sit on their asses all day, while women are told to come back in a few years (and use other costly methods of birth control in the meantime) just reeks of unfairness to me.
The costs and legalities of today’s birth control debates are complicated, but the lesson to for most of us ladies seems to be: If a man asks for a vasectomy, he gets free pizza. If a woman asks for birth control, she gets called a “slut.”