Monday, July 30, 2007

Controling Your Tubes At Any Age

An article in American Sexuality Magazine titled Are You Kidding? brings about some interesting discussion on tubal ligations ("getting your tubes tied") and age.

The article shares the story of a young woman, now age 25, and her trials in trying to obtain a tubal ligation over the last few years. After being denied the procedure from doctors and even a Planned Parenthood health center because she was too young, the young woman expresses outrage at not being able to choose what reproductive path is right for her.

The main argument against the procedure was simply "you are too young, you might change your mind, come back when you are 30". I can't help but ask myself - why 30? According to one doctor in the article:

“Why do we arbitrarily choose thirty? Because of the thirty years of practice in
my life. Because of the number of years of experience that we, as physicians,
have come to see that twenty-five, twenty-six, twenty-seven year old women have,
historically, more often than not, told you they regretted their decision to get
their tubes tied."

I'm not so sure I agree with this and according to the article, I'm not alone.

“It’s an issue of agency, and who gets to make that choice,” adds Christine
Brooks, a post doctoral fellow studying the purposefully barren at the Institute
of Trans Personal Psychology in the Bay Area.

According to Brooks, “The argument that these women might change their
minds is a paternalistic argument. It questions a woman’s inner knowing, her own
path in life. It also suggests that women don’t know what’s best for them and
that they have to defer to a medical authority to make life decisions.”

At Planned Parenthood of Central Oklahoma (PPCO) - this woman would have received different care and possibly a different outcome to her story. Tubal Ligation services at PPCO are available to women 21 years and older and more information about them can be found here.

It is part of PPCO's mission to support and affirm a woman's right to her own reproductive self-determination. The young woman in the article was ready to make a choice about her reproductive future and was denied the right to do so. What are your thoughts? This is what she thought (and it's a great quote):

“I think there’s definitely this idea where a woman’s function is to have
babies cause your body is made to do it,” she says. “My body is made to do a lot
of things. It’s made to run. That doesn't mean I go running every day. Nor
should I have to.”


Anonymous said...

I wonder if maybe the solution is in the pre-tubbal counseling offered. Of course we cannot predict how we will feel about something (like having more kids) ten years from now, but we can certainly gain confidence in our long-term decisions if we are given the tools to make those decisions. Also, how is worse than other long-term decisions we make, such a buying a house, going to college, quitting smoking, etc.? Do we want to give that decision-making ability over to an outsider?

Dedra D. said...

We should never buy into the argument that someone from the government is going to help us make better decisions. We should stop calling it "choice" and start calling it "freedom" which is what it is. Freedom means freedom to make the wrong decision and fail sometimes as much as it mean freedom to make the right decision and succeed. Ultimately, it means freedom to learn from our mistakes and make better decisions as time goes by. I certainly don't want the government taking away my learning opportunities.

There is power in your voice. Use it!