‘Choice’ is a word that comes up frequently when discussing gender equality. A woman’s right to choose if she wants to work or stay at home, what she wears or the most hot button topic of all – choice over her reproductive rights. Body autonomy is something that men take for granted but when you have people making laws or even doctors standing in your way it is something that women cannot choose to ignore. Recently one woman tweeted out a thread telling the story of her mother, who had to battle some serious risks all because she wasn’t given the right to choose.
Online user Salome Strangelove, is a lyricist and poet began the thread on her mother by sharing that even she hadn’t heard the heartbreaking saga until she was almost 40-years-old.
The author and all of her siblings were a surprise to her young mother, writing “She hadn’t planned to get pregnant with me. She didn’t plan any of her pregnancies, in fact, but she was unaware that her birth control was frequently being rendered ineffective by medication.”
For this reason, doctors should always ask their patients if they are taking any other medications. Medicines contain an enzyme called the P450 system which helps process hormones in birth control such as the pill, patch and the ring. However other medicines can intervene by breaking up the hormones too fast – resulting in pregnancy.
Following the traumatic ordeal, her mother asked if she could get a tubal ligation “her tubes tied” in order to prevent further risking her health with another pregnancy: “Tubal ligation is a surgical procedure that permanently closes or blocks your fallopian tubes.”
And while her doctor’s response may seem inappropriate and outdated this is still a battle that women are fighting every day. In the U.S women ages, 21 and above have the right to this procedure but they must sign a form, wait 30 days and even with these steps a doctor can still refuse.
According to a report from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation: “Most states with a Family Planning waiver or SPA also cover the procedures for women, but there are exceptions. Ohio and Oregon do not cover tubal ligation (neither general nor post-partum) in their family planning programs. Connecticut, Georgia, Missouri, and Mississippi do not cover tubal ligation performed post-partum in their family planning programs, with Georgia noting that pregnant women are not enrolled in the state’s family planning waiver.”
It was not until the delivery of her brother that she was able to meet with another doctor about her request, “she did so in fear for her life convinced her next pregnancy might actually kill her.”
The young doctor was outraged at the previous care she had received and realized that her health issues went even deeper than she knew.
According to ACOG Committee on Ethics Opinion, Sterilization of Women, Including Those With Mental Disabilities there should be a system in place to prevent this type of medical negligence.
“Sterilization, like any other surgical procedure, must be carried out under the general ethical principles of respect for autonomy, beneficence, and justice. …The physician who objects to a patient’s request for sterilization solely as a matter of conscience has the obligation to inform the patient that sterilization services may be available elsewhere and should refer the patient to another caregiver. …”
Out of 100 women who have a sterilization procedure each year, less than one may become pregnant.
Other women responded by sharing theirs and those they knew experiences of medical resistance
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