It seems like a no-brainer: if you don’t want to be fertile, you should be able to make that choice. However, this is a world where you can’t even get a haircut without being interrogated on whether your boyfriend gave you permission*. So you get things like this story in the Telegraph, about a clinic that offers the quick-and-easy Essure procedure to women.
A private clinic claims it is the first in the country to offer a “walk in – walk out” ten minute procedure which permanently renders a woman infertile.
But its efforts to market the procedure to women who want to make such decisions in secret has sparked a row among medical experts, who say it is an “unethical and cynical” attempt to encourage dishonesty in relationships.
Hee hee. “Row.” British people speak funny.
Anyway, I had a mixed response. My first response was “OMG WHERE IS THIS PLACE DO THEY TAKE SINGLE WOMEN,” immediately followed by “Britain. Crap.” My second (or third, whichever) response was “Wow, it must suck to be in a relationship where you feel like you have to go behind your guy’s back to take control of your health. That can’t end good.”
Then you realize that yeah, it does suck to be in that sort of relationship. That’s the reality for a lot of people- they’re involved with an abusive partner who won’t rest until they get their way regarding children. When you realize that, you realize that such services are not only necessary, but long overdue.
But then, not all of the patients are in abusive relationships. Maybe they saw an opportunity to get a less meddlesome procedure and took it. Maybe they’re the abusers. Maybe they’re sluts or prostitutes or Satanists or bwap bwap bwap BESIDES THE POINT.
What does it matter the motive of the women? Why did this clinic choose to capitalize on secrecy in the first place? Why is there so much hand-wringing over women electing to be sterile?
Of course, if you’re a regular reader you know the answer already. It wasn’t that long ago that the birth control pill was only prescribed to married women who already had kids. The reason why it was that way for the pill, and it’s currently that way for permanent or semi-permanent sterilization procedures, is the same. It’s because we like to assume women are too dumb to make their own life choices. Especially choices that aren’t patriarchally correct.
I hope that Cadogan Clinic continues to offer convenient Essure procedures for any woman who wants them. Further, I hope more clinics follow their lead, in Britain and elsewhere.
*Seriously, what is up with this? I go get a haircut, the stylist always asks if my boyfriend/husband is OK with it. Not “are you sure” or even “do you have a boyfriend”, they just go ahead and assume I’m married to Captain Vidal. Is every stylist I go to a closet lesbian discreetly checking if I’m available? I am suspicious of this notion.