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In 2016, the World Health Organization commissioned a clinical trial of an injectable hormone contraceptive for men, through which they administered shots to 320 men every 8 weeks. The results of the clinical trial were promising: The shots were 96% effective in preventing pregnancy. But the study was cut short over concerns about the development of acne and mood changes in participants. The termination of the trial over two side effects, both of which women and people with uteruses have experienced since the advent of birth control pills in the 1950s, makes clear who is expected to suffer for sex. Many forms of birth control intended for women and people with uteruses have significant negative side effects, including spotting or bleeding between periods, breast tenderness, nausea, headaches, decreased sex drive, and change in vaginal discharge; rare but serious side effects may include blood clots, high blood pressure, liver tumors, and risk of cervical or breast cancer—things many people would consider far worse than acne and mood changes. The availability of dozens of birth control options for women, compared to 2 for men, means women bear most of the financial and health-related costs of birth control. As an NPR story commented, “When women use a contraceptive, they’re balancing the risks of the drug against the risks of getting pregnant. And pregnancy itself carries risks. But these are healthy men—they’re not going to suffer any risks if they get somebody else pregnant.” The sexism of science strikes again! 

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