In reading my tweetdeck this morning catching up on the conversations that were happening last night, I came across a very interesting one on tubal ligation. Specifically will an OB/GYN perform a tubal ligation on a woman who has not had kids or is considered “too young?”
My first thought was that if a woman wants a tubal ligation who is anyone to stop her? We don’t get upset if a man wants a vasectomy, do we? No, we think wow that is someone who is taking responsibility for their life and birth-control. Why should we get upset or refuse surgery to a woman who wants the same thing? Why should a woman who doesn’t want kids have to pump their bodies full of hormones or rely on a non-foolproof form of birth-control like condoms?
Looking at the failure rates, tubal ligation results in about 1 pregnancy in 1000 women sterilized, while a condom when properly used result in 2 pregnancies in every 100 women. Hmm, so doing the math, the tubal ligation is a much more effective form of birth-control.
The arguments against tubal ligation seem to stem from the surgeon thinking the woman might change her mind later in life. Well, this doesn’t really ring true. If a woman decides she doesn’t want to have children, if she is at all ambivalent she will choose one of the other forms of birth-control. She will choose the pill, condoms or an IUD. Most people do not opt for surgery UNLESS they are sure. The other argument I have heard is usually thrown at couples. Yes a vasectomy is an easier procedure, but it isn’t for all couples. Hell if you are single and don’t want kids taking care of this for yourself makes good sense. As stated earlier other forms of birth-control are not permanent or 100% effective. While not 100% effective, a tubal ligation is permanent and the .04% failure rate is pretty damn nice.
I am not suggesting that tubal ligation is for every woman or for every couple. If I were a single woman who didn’t want kids and I had really thought it through, I would be pissed if I couldn’t find someone who would perform the surgery for me. If the surgery isn’t covered and I am willing to pay for it, why should others be able to make the decision for me? If people made the decision to sterilize women without their consent we would be outraged. This is the opposite, people are taking away some women’s choices by refusing to perform this surgery. Would they rather perform abortions instead?
I also read this article from the Toronto Sun about a young couple with two kids being denied a tubal ligation after her scheduled c-section because of her age. Who but they should decide how many children they should have?
I love my children and I am so happy that I have them, but not all women feel the need to have children. Not all women are meant to be mothers. I think that is what really rankles about this subject. I wanted to be a mother, but if I didn’t I would want to be respected for my decision. I want to be respected for my decision to have children, because in the end it is MY DECISION.
What do you think? Should doctors be able to refuse to perform tubal ligation unless they deem the woman has had enough children or is old enough? Should it be entirely the decision of the woman who wants the procedure?