Reproductive Injustice in the Doctor’s Office

reproductive injustice

Pronatalism is all around us…and in the doctor’s office.  Many women who seek sterilization face doctors who are unwilling to do the procedure, whether it be a tubal ligation or essure. Why do docs create roadblocks to sterilization? Here are three reasons –

  • Religious beliefs or moral preferences. In this case, what is appropriate is to refer the woman to a doc who does not have this issue.
  • Liability concerns – getting sued if she changes her mind in the future. This can so easily be avoided with full documented disclosure at the time of the procedure, not to mention the fact that the percentage of women who change their minds is very low (and we need to know more about those who do – are they more likely to already be mothers? Childless? Childfree who change their mind? On this last one I would bet money the answer is no).
  • Pronatalist beliefs – such as but surely not limited to The Baby Matrix‘s Destiny Assumption and Normality Assumptions. They subscribe to the beliefs that women will eventually realize they will want children, this is a normal part of her development as an adult woman, and that once she has children, she will realize her true, deeper purpose in life.  The docs put their own beliefs onto the women which ultimately makes them think they know the women better than they know themselves.

The outcome of the roadblocks? Vanessa Cullins of Planned Parenthood Federation of America sums it up by saying that denying “access to tubal ligation is another form of reproductive injustice.”

Indeed. Violating women’s rights to have no children is part of the continued prejudicial context – driven by pronatalism – that prevents full reproductive freedom in our society.

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