6 And Judah took a wife for Er his firstborn, whose name was Tamar.
7 And Er, Judah’s firstborn, was wicked in the sight of the Lord; and the Lord slew him.
8 And Judah said unto Onan, Go in unto thy brother’s wife, and marry her, and raise up seed to thy brother.
9 And Onan knew that the seed should not be his; and it came to pass, when he went in unto his brother’s wife, that he spilled it on the ground, lest that he should give seed to his brother.
10 And the thing which he did displeased the Lord: wherefore he slew him also.
After Andy and Erin Gress had their fourth child, Andy decided it was time for him to “step up” and help with the family planning. So he did something that the mere thought of makes some men cringe: He got a vasectomy.
It was early one morning last winter — a brief moment of peace, before juggling getting the kids ready for online school and work Zoom calls. He happened to see a local news story about discounts being offered during “World Vasectomy Day.” He made an appointment that day.
His wife had taken birth control pills, but she struggled with the side effects. She had worked as a night nurse through four pregnancies, and the couple had children ranging in age from 2 to 11.
“The procedure was a total relief, almost like the covid shot — like I’m safe now,” said Gress, who works in higher education. “I wanted to man up.”
But Gress’s action wasn’t just about his family. He also believed he should do more to support his wife and other women who don’t think the government should decide what they do with their bodies. “I’ve seen the miracle of life,” he said. “But I’ve also seen kids who are born into poverty and misery and don’t have a fair shot.”
With the Supreme Court set to decide the fate of Roe v. Wade next year and with more than 20 states poised to ban or impose restrictions on abortion depending on what the court decides, some reproductive rights advocates say it is time for men to take a more active role in both family planning and the fight for reproductive rights.
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