A 30-year old British woman recently made news for getting birth control. The catch? Her method of choice was permanent sterilization, and it took her four years of trying – including lobbying the National Health Service – to get it.
This situation is not unique to England. Many women seeking to find a permanent method of birth control are routinely turned away, despite it being a legal and safe procedure. Why? Their doctors think they’re too young.
Tubal female sterilization, also known as tubal ligation or, colloquially, “getting your tubes tied,” is one of the most common methods of birth control in the United States. According to the Guttmacher Institute, tubal ligation is the method of choice for close to 9.5 million women, second only to the birth control pill at 9.7 million. Yet that number is skewed toward older women, often who have already had children.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists affirms that tubal sterilization should be available to any woman. However, in interviews and on online forums, women–especially younger women who have never had children or are single – report being turned away again and again from the procedure. Often women have to wait years and meet with multiple doctors before finally finding one willing to perform it.
“Each doctor I went to had the same story – the new ones straight out of med school or the ones who’d been around the block for 30 years,” wrote 23-year old Victoria Amrhein.
A user of the online forum The Childfree Life had a similar experience. “So far I’ve asked
To read more, please continue to page 2.