Women, the weight of the world is on you. You hold the key to keeping the population (and thus the weight. Get it? You don't? Oh you think it's a stupid joke? Well what if that joke thinks YOUR stupid!!...I spelled "you're" wrong didn't I?) of this world down. This is because the responsibility of birth control lays squarely on your uterus. It's not fair and it's not right, but if you think about it, it's definitely right. On the not fair side, we have the fact that the only male-responsible birth control option is condoms, and on the right side, we have the fact that guys fucking suck at taking care of condoms, let alone some pill or doctor's visit. So even if there were a better male birth control option, the good lord knows we can't possibly trust those shit-head dudes to be in control of it. In fact, historically, everything we have put males in control of has turned out pretty piss-poor. We can't even get porn to be good and that's like, our thing. Let's hope the recent equal opportunity employment shows some returns soon.
Back to the subject at hand, birth control. In 1971, a manufacturer came out with something called a "Dalkon Shield", which was an IUD (or intrauterine device) that was extremely effective at blocking a dude's load of Dalkons. Unfortunately, it had high infection rates and almost single handedly set the American birth control scene back far enough to be dependent on chastity belts. This IUD debacle left a burning taste in America's mouth, and, well, their what-whats too, and since then, it has to be the most underutilized, underestimated, underappreciated device of all time. It's the William H. Macey of the contraception world. And I think it too had a small scene in Jurassic Park III.
So what is this thing that I'm raving about? Well it's a tiny T shaped instrument that gets placed in the uterus in a relatively easy and painless out patient procedure. There are two kinds, one with a single hormone (a progestin) and one that has no hormones. It sits up there with two strings hanging out of the cervix (not visible) that exist to ensure that it's still there and so that it can be easily removed when desired.
Let's see some stats. It is the most widely used reversible birth control in the world (and basically unheard of in the US) with 156 million users in 2000. It's effectiveness is right around a 0.1% failure rate. That puts it up there as equivelanent with a tubal ligation. Let me repeat that. Taking someone's anatomy and dismantling it has the same effectiveness as this device. That is like saying it is as effective to bomb the Golden Gate bridge to prevent people from crossing to San Francisco from Marin County (goddamn Marin Countyers) as it is to place an orange traffic cone in the middle of the road (the non-hormonal IUD is, in fact, orange). The hormonal one lasts for 5 years (and don't tell no one, but supposedly data supports its use for 7) and the non-hormonal one lasts for 10 years (-cough12cough-). It has no long term side-effects on fertility and is immediately reversible. It can even be used as a form of emergency contraception for up to 5 days after the deed. Yeah. That just happened.
Continued in Part II
*you know, because both involve terrible mistakes and can lead to an 18 year loss of freedom when poorly handled.