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It’s time to put those balls on the line

By Sarah Miller

“The goal: to provide excellent, safe, and dignified reproductive healthcare.”

I chose to be a family doctor to take care of all the basic healthcare needs of my patients and their families. Through my medical training (and my own personal experience) it became clear that sexual and reproductive health is not just ignored; it’s marginalized, stigmatized, and now, increasingly, criminalized. With 98% of Americans needing and/or using birth control at some point during their lifetime, and 1/4 of childbearing people having at least one abortion in their life, we are not serving the needs of our clients.

Spoiler alert; people have sex.

Some people get pregnant when they don’t want to.  Others can’t get pregnant when they do.  This all is why I took on years of extra training to become a family planning expert, and why I continue to train others.  The goal: to provide excellent, safe, and dignified reproductive healthcare.  I have been able to take care of basic sexual and reproductive healthcare needs in a community health center in the heart of the Bronx and in the deepest, warmest pockets of one of the reddest United States (until I legally couldn’t).  We have the technology and the people to deliver the care!! But are our rights to them guaranteed? AHHHHHH!!! 

Read on…

Even in this world of top notch family planning provision, the boys are still left out.  And by “boys” I mean testicles.  And by “left out” I mean not taken out enough— in the healthcare setting.  So… while I was able to provide primary care that integrated birth control, early pregnancy support, prenatal care, and abortion care, I had to travel to Florida, Quebec, and the Philippines to train with the best of the best to become the woman I am today: someone who plays with ‘balls’ for a living.  I mean, I am the proud owner and provider of a streamlined no-scalpel vasectomy practice.  

The connection between doing my part to make sure that the good women of Alabama have access to safe, legal, and kind abortion and making sure the be-sacked folk of the northeastern United States have access to (relatively) barrier-free and pain-free vasectomy services seems clear: both fill gaps in access to basic reproductive healthcare needs. Sadly, despite being more invasive, more painful, requiring a longer recovery time and more affordable, women get their tubes tied three times as often as men get vasectomies.  Increasing access to quality vasectomies helps us begin to reverse that unacceptable ratio.

The reasons to choose a vasectomy are many. For one, it helps our good men to take control of their reproductive futures.  It helps our swingers to not have more uh-ohs.  It helps all men protect their partners, themselves and their families and it takes the burden of family planning off of women’s shoulders and out of her uterus.  Out of our increasingly besieged uteruses. 

So… if you’re done making babies, or never wanted one, get the sperm out of that semen!  If you love your partner, your world, yourself or your family, and if you’ve got the nards to do it, go ahead and get the snip.  It’s actually not so bad.  No joke, at times we’ve even been told that the vasectomy experience is “fun.”  I’m not a man, so I can’t attest to that, but I have no doubt that sex without fear of an undesired pregnancy has got to count for something.  

Joking aside, now more than ever it’s increasingly important for y’all to stand up erect and make that hard call— to the vasectomy office (or book online– it’s easy!).  Need a skilled doctor?  Try googling. Want to learn more? Go to Afraid of some discomfort? Try giving birth!  

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