Celebrating Responsible Men and Giving Them their Voice in Family Planning

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By Maria Fotopoulos

Maria is a CAPS Senior Writing Fellow who focuses on the impacts of growth on biodiversity. Find her on Twitter | in | FB.

The writer’s views are her own.


 

November 6, 2014

In Iran, men wanting vasectomies won’t have access, now that the government has banned surgical, permanent birth control methods, and any “violators” will be punished.

Assaults such as this continue worldwide on basic rights surrounding reproductive health, so any activities that can act as a counterweight are needed, welcomed and should be supported.

One welcome response is World Vasectomy Day, created by Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Jonathan Stack and Doug Stein, a urological surgeon who has provided more than 33,000 vasectomies, including for men in Haiti, Kenya and the Philippines. WVD is building awareness of, and dispelling myths about, vasectomy. Other objectives of WVD are to increase access to the procedure and inspire more men to become equal partners with women in the global family planning conversation.

Last year, 1,000 vasectomies in 25 countries were performed by more than 100 physicians who participated in the first WVD. Leading up to this year’s event, scheduled for tomorrow, November 7, organizers again focused on encouraging physicians across the globe to provide free, discounted or low-cost vasectomies.

A focal point of the day will be vasectomies live-streamed from WVD Headquarters in Florida. Additionally, the global vasectomy-thon will include broadcast feeds from participating doctors and family planning leaders.

According to a WVD press release, about one-half of the 6.6 million pregnancies in the United States each year are unintended. Worldwide, approximately four in 10 pregnancies are unintended. The average female spends more than three decades of her life trying to avoid an unintended pregnancy.

Dr. Stein says he was inspired to take on this mission by men like George Mbogah, a Kenyan father of two, who scraped together the funds for a 20-hour bus trip for his vasectomy. Stein says Mbogah told him, “I don’t want my wife to suffer another painful pregnancy, nor my children to suffer the bitter taste of poverty.”

Read more about WVD here, and find 10 Reasons to Support WVD here. Watch the documentary, “The Vasectomist,” here.

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