Thursday, July 30, 2009

Pro-choice: It's not just about abortion

I believe strongly in pro-choice for both men and women when it comes to reproduction.
But an issue I haven't seen much about is the waiting periods imposed for men and women when it comes to tubal ligation and vasectomies.
It seems when it comes to controlling this side of reproduction there is an extreme imbalance.
Most states require women to wait for at least thirty days after they have been cleared as being medically sound for the surgery. This is to give them time to decide if they really want to go through with this. A few states also require a waiting period for men wanting a vasectomy. Usually it is at least 24 hours. Thirty days versus 24 hours seems a little imbalanced.
My daughter has three very active children. She is 32 and doesn't want any more children. She has been counselled that she "might get remarried and change her mind". Highly unlikely, I assure you. She won't even date a man who wants children of his own. Expecting her to go through the health tests, two weeks before she
signs the consent forms, then to wait an addiional 3o days to give her a chance to "think about it is redundant.. She has thought long and hard about her decision, weighing the pros and cons, researching all the possible side effecs and consequences. Her mind was made up long before she broached the
subject to her doctor.
Why then is she not afforded the same priveledge as a man when it comes to her reproductive choices?
Twenty four hours is reasonable. Any surgery, even as minor as a vasectomy has risks. If a woman, having weighed the risks, and made the decision, must wait an additional thirty days and obtain her partner's permisssion if she is married,
why are men required neither a substantial waiting period nor spousal permission for the procedure?
Pro-choice is about deciding when to stop having children. It isn't just an abortion issue. A woman who chooses to end her reproduction capability is not "killing babies". She is permanantly preventing the need for an abortion.
This waiting period needs to be put to rest.
A woman's right to choose should, at the very least be equal to a man's choice.
After all it is women who carry the burdon of pregnancy, childbirth and all that goes with them. We are not irresponcible or irrational and our decisions should be our own and not at the mercy of the state in which we live.
I do not believe men should have to wait longer than the 24 hours some states require. They should be in charge of their choice not to reproduce. I do believe women's choices should be equally respected. We are no less intelligent or informed than our male counter-parts. This needs to change. Pro-choice is for everyone, and it is not always about abortion.


  1. Thanks for your post, I was not aware of the discrepancy between men vs women undergoing voluntary sterilization. The unspoken message I get from this is that the culture is telling women their value as a person is tied to their reproductive capability. Women are supposed to breed, and if anyone wants to voluntary not fulfill their societal duty then lets make it as difficult as possible.

    Just another way that women's biology is being used to treat them differently from men.

    Now you've got me wondering if we have one of those laws where I am.

  2. I agree with your post. I know when a woman considers sterilization and goes to a doctor to have this procedure, she has already put much thought into it and has already made the decision. Shouldn't make her wait any longer than 24 hours.

  3. Excellent post. Thanks.

    My friend wrote this, along the same lines: