On January 22nd, 1973 the US Supreme Court made the landmark decision in the Roe v. Wade trial that gave women the right to have an abortion of an unplanned pregnancy. Since this ruling, many different groups, mostly religious and traditional conservative, have petitioned the government to reverse the Supreme Court decision and do away with abortion. For over 40 years they have tried and, for the most part, failed to get politicians to reverse the Roe v. Wade decision. Protestors have met with some success at the state level, but that has meant little more than an inconvenience to women wishing to get an abortion because they simply have to drive to another state.

It is interesting that traditional conservative groups (the “government is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem” traditional conservative groups) immediately went to government to solve their abortion problem. In the forty years that have followed, they still believe that the solution is to simply protest outside of Planned Parenthood clinics and vote in candidates who claim to be pro-life. They have not looked at any other possible solutions outside of politics.

Insanity is doing the same over and over again and expecting different results.

When you have a difficult problem it is best to go to people who are trained to solve difficult problems: engineers.


In the 1970s an Indian biomedical engineer by the name of Sujoy Guha was working on a cost-effective way of killing bacteria in drinking water by coating the inside of water pipes with an electrically charged polymer called styrene maleic anhydride. As bacteria flowed through the pipes, this polymer would tear them apart. Then as the population in India surged in 1970s, Sujoy Guha came up with the idea of using it as a non-hormonal male contraceptive. The vas deferens, which is the tube sperm flow through to get from the testes to the urethra, is much like the water pipes he was working with and sperm are similar to bacteria. In addition, a second injection of sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) flushes out the maleic anhydride, returning a man to full reproductive potency.


In 1979 he succeeded in proof of concept on rats and in 1985 he got the same results in monkeys. He called this new contraceptive method RISUG, reversible inhibition of sperm under guidance. It has been tested on hundreds of men in India. Recently a company called the Parsemus Foundation bought rights to RISUG and is putting it through clinical trials in the US under the name Vasalgel.

So what does all this have to do with abortion? Simple, in order to have an abortion a woman needs to have three things.

  • An unplanned pregnancy
  • The desire to terminate the unplanned pregnancy
  • A clinic where she can legally terminate the pregnancy

The efforts of traditional conservatives have mostly focused on finding a political solution to number three. A few have tried to protest in front of clinics with pictures of dead fetuses in order to change number two, but very little effort has been put into preventing unwanted pregnancies in the first place, which is the Achilles heel of the abortion problem. Women can’t get abortions if they don’t become pregnant.

According to The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy there were 3,370,000 unplanned pregnancies in 2008, which is the most recent data they had available. In a time when women have access to dozens of different affordable forms of birth control, the sheer number of unplanned pregnancies can mean three things.

  • Not all of these pregnancies were truly unplanned.
  • Women suck at remembering to take the pill on time.
  • A combination of 1 and 2.

That is why if pro-life groups were serious about ending abortion they would take the engineering approach and get RISUG/Vasalgel on the market as soon as possible. Then they could use their massive influence to push parents to get the procedure for their sons when they turn 16.

If pro-life groups did this then they could do to Planned Parenthood what Internet Explorer did to Netscape Navigator in the 2000s. Instead of making abortion illegal they would make it redundant. There would still be the occasional slip-up and some young woman would get pregnant and want an abortion, but it would take place at a much lower rate than the over 1 million abortions per year that are currently happening. It would probably be even lower than the number of illegal abortions taking place before Roe v. Wade was passed.

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