In The Married Feminist this week: Who takes charge of the birth control?

One of the hairiest topics in modern marriage is perhaps not who brings in the bacon or who takes charge of changing diapers, or perhaps who loads the washing machine. It is this. Who takes charge of the birth control. More often than not, it falls to the woman to ensure that she is not likely to be saddled with an accidental, unwanted pregnancy.

Kiran Manral The Married Feminist SheThePeople

The Indian man, according to latest research figures, is not one to volunteer for a vasectomy, no matter that the procedure is minimally intrusive, and often even the bait of a monetary reward does not tempt him. The family planning programme in India, therefore, is almost completely dependent on the women of the country.

The male versus female ratio for sterilisation in 2016-17 stood at 1:52 according to latest data released by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. And more tellingly, the most popular contraceptive method used in India seemed to be female sterilisation. According to data 36% of married women opt for sterilisation, 6% use male condoms and the pill.

To quote the NFHS-4 report, “Female sterilization remains the most popular modern contraceptive method. Among currently married women age 15-49, 36% use female sterilization, followed by male condoms (6%) and pills (4%). Among sexually active unmarried women, female sterilization is the most commonly used method (19%), followed by male condoms (12%). More than eight in 10 (82%) women who got sterilized underwent the procedure in a public health sector facility, mostly a government or municipal hospital or a Community Health Centre (CHC) or a rural hospital.” The Indian government funds approximately 4 million tubal ligations per year, more than any other country in the world.

Of course, surgical sterilisation of women does not come without risks, after all, it is an intrusive surgical procedure, often performed hurriedly, under less than ideal conditions in government health centres. Deaths, complications are not uncommon. A huge price to pay for the simple decision by a woman to limit her childbearing.

Read the rest of the column here

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