As young people across the country ponder ditching birth control pills—and tradwife TikTokers try to convince them the “rhythm” method is a safe alternative (it’s not)—it seems an unlikely spokesman has emerged to…attempt to take one for the team. Snip, snip hooray?
Last month, Caelynn Miller-Keyes of The Bachelor fame said on her iHeartRadio podcast that her fiancé and Bachelor in Paradise castmate, Dean Unglert, offered to get a vasectomy. But not just any vasectomy! A feminist vasectomy.
“[Dean] wants to get a vasectomy because he doesn’t think it’s fair that a woman has to take birth control,” Miller-Keyes said at the time. “So then when we’re ready to have kids, he would un-snip himself, and we would have children.”
The soundbite quickly generated headlines across the internet, including on Fox News, for what sounded like an extreme suggestion out of context—so much so that Miller-Keyes found the need to clarify her comments to E! News on Friday morning.
“I said something that people picked up on and I felt so bad, but he is really doing such a sweet thing,” she said. “Birth control is reacting really badly with me. He was like, ‘Instead of you being on birth control, there should be something out there for men. Instead of you taking birth control, putting hormones in your body, I’ll get a vasectomy.’”
The plan, then, is that whenever the couple are ready to have kids, Unglert would reverse the vasectomy, though Miller-Keyes has previously said that they both need to “research this more” and that she is not thrilled about the prospect of her partner being “in pain.” “It was a very kind thing that he was thinking of doing that people just took the wrong way,” Miller-Keyes said. “It used to be Dean creating the headlines and this one was me.”
On the one hand, if this suggestion feels extreme, that’s because it kind of is. If people with ovaries have negative health reactions to the pill or to an IUD and are considering getting off birth control, the next best option for contraception is condoms. Currently, there are no available male birth control methods approved by the Food and Drug Administration, though some are in development. So Unglert, in offering to get a reversible vasectomy, a minimally invasive surgical procedure, seems to be attempting to bridge the insultingly large gap between gendered birth control methods. And the intention behind that decision seems genuine!
At the same time, the pill is by and large a safe, cost-effective, and accessible birth control method—at least for now—and the copper IUD doesn’t emit hormones, so there are other options before the vasectomy stop. Spreading the message that a vasectomy is an appropriate or normal alternative might just feed the misinformation beast around the pill, a conservative-led effort to convince young people that they are better off resigning to the pullout method or that woo-woo bullshit cycle-tracking is an equally worthy alternative. Plus, while all vasectomies can be reversed, that doesn’t always guarantee that conception will be possible. I would hope this duo engages with a healthcare professional before making a decision like this (and it sounds like they would!) especially because the “hormones are bad” narrative is very nuanced.
All of that said, we appreciate the concern, my dude. Just know that we are well aware that March Madness is underway, and that vasectomies tick up around this time so men can have something to focus on while they recover. We’re watching, Dean!