Young women are having difficulty accessing tubal ligation, despite it being a relatively safe (death rate is 1-2 per 100,000) and elective surgery.
There is a waiting period of 30 days for women seeking tubal ligation, yet no waiting period for men seeking vasectomies.
Young women are often discriminated against when seeking sterilization. Many doctors ask offensive questions (“What if you met a billionaire who wanted to have kids with you?”), state categorically that their patients are too young to consider the surgery, and generally act as though, as one woman who tried unsuccessfully to be sterilized at the age of 21 in the U.K. put it, ”just because I was a woman, I’d reach a point where an urge to breed would overcome all rational thought.” (Perhaps unsurprisingly, that woman’s 25-year-old husband faced no such presumptions when he asked his doctor for a vasectomy. The procedure was quickly approved.)
Say that at 18 I slap down enough money so I could have my whole body covered head-to-toe in tattoos, piercings all over myself, a mountain of cigarettes, plastic surgery, and plan to have like 20 babies… but if I try at all to safely make it impossible for me to breed for the sake of my health suddenly its like WOAH THERE SLOW DOWN MISSY YOU’RE NOT READY FOR THIS KIND OF COMMITMENT YET
I have stage III Endometriosis, which means I have to get my uterus removed because I literally have terrible cramps ALL THE TIME and not just when I’m on my period. Now, I’ve always said I don’t want any children for personal reasons and I don’t need my uterus, really. I am not worried about that surgery and I don’t feel any kind of nostalgia over an organ I won’t ever use.
The thing is, my doctor is a ‘man’. This ‘man’ told me I had to get pregnant right now before it’s too late. I told him I didn’t want to get pregnant and explained the multiple reasons but what, do you ask, did my doctor have to say about this? 'Well, better have a kid now because just imagine how depressing it must be being a thirty-something woman without children and a husband?'
I was diagnosed a year ago. I should have gone through surgery six months ago and I still can’t find a doctor that will perform the surgery without trying to force me to have children first. Basically, if you’re a woman you don’t have a say in what can and cannot be done to your body without a shitload of people getting in the way AND I’M FUCKING SICK OF IT.
Women are getting non-consensually sterilized in prison but no doctors in my area while tie my tubes at 24 because I might regret it? Fuck you, doctors. I have more purpose in life than dropping babies. Some of those women in prison are probably great moms and I have no interest in parenting. Let us have a say!
A dear friend of mine wanted to have her tubes tied. She was about to give birth to twins and the doctors wouldn’t consent because she wasn’t 21 yet. She had already had children and they still refused to let her have the procedure.
My friend got a vasectomy a week after asking his doctor for one, no problem. He was 25.
Me? I’ve asked 4 different doctors for some kind of permanent sterilisation—tubal ligation or Essure or whatever—and I get a pat on the head and a “You’d regret it if you did.”
Oh, DIDN’T REALIZE YOU HAD A DIRECT LINE TO MY BRAIN.
On the flip side, as a vagina-having person who had her tubes tied at the age of 26 (after having 4 children, however):
MY HUSBAND HAD TO SIGN A CONSENT FORM IN ORDER FOR ME TO HAVE THE PROCEDURE DONE.
How many times have we heard stories about husbands having vasectomies behind their wives backs and never telling them, letting those wives wallow in guilt and misery, thinking it’s their fault that they can’t get pregnant?
And yet I had had to get my husband’s permission to have my tubes tied.
(Obviously this was a decision we’d talked about extensively beforehand, so it’s not like he was about to say no, but we both couldn’t believe the fucking audacity of the hospital, asking HIS permission for ME to do something with MY body. In fact, he said as much to the nurse that brought in the forms.)
This is fucked up. Your body is no one’s business but your own. Even if there’s no law against young sterilization, women still suffer just from societal expectations, which influence doctors who are unable to be objective. People think they’re being caring but are actually just afraid of anything that goes outside of their preconceived notions of what people should do with their lives.
I got mine at 23 (no prior children). Via the Health Department in the state I was living in at the time. It was on a sliding scale, and because I was poor- it was free.
I ended up having to wait a year and have a psychological evaluation. Considering my tubal was free and they were actually giving one to me, I considered this a small price to pay at the time.
In the state I live in now, I never would have been able to get one that easily. I was EXTREMELY lucky. I consider it a minor miracle, frankly.
Still, the psych eval is hella fucking offensive. And it does make me wonder whether sterilization would have been denied to someone like me, who is certified disabled with a mental illness. Because I might be too crazy to make such a permanent decision (but not too crazy to decide to HAVE a kid who would likely inherit the same disorders I have*).
* I have no problem with people who have mental illnesses and DO want to have kids. I’m just not doing it, and I’m not pretending that the desire not to pass on the hellishness of my particular brand of crazy isn’t a part of that.
I found that arguing that I was too crazy to take care of a kid and would pass my crazy down to one was enough to get them to agree.
White women though. White able bodied women.
They’re STILL sterlising incarcerated black women as well as disabled people. And they’ve got a history of forcibly sterlising black and Indigenous American women but they keep white able bodied women forced to have babies.
That’s real important to include in this whole scenario. Because it really makes you see exactly what the point is.