Thursday, November 1, 2012

Get Your Tubal If You're Over 18: How to Deal with Paternalistic Asshole Doctors Who Think They Can Intrude on Your Private Life

With all the shit I've read about how there's no lawyer posting this guideline & after reading this Dear Prudence column yesterday where Prudence decides to just be another member of the "You're too young" chorus, I decided enough was enough. A lot of the comments on that letter really pushed me over the edge, particularly those by men who DO NOT have a fucking uterus & can NEVER be forced to carry an unwanted baby.

I even read a while ago in a LiveJournal community the lament of someone who claimed no lawyer cared about this issue.

Well, that commenter is wrong. DEAD wrong! Didn't you hear? I had a tubal at 26; in fact, the XX Factor blog published an essay I wrote on why I have chosen to be childfree. You can find the link in an earlier entry; don't be lazy. I don't abide that mess.

So, I'm going to write that guide. Feel free to pass it on far & wide. In fact, I encourage it. Remember, I want to inspire fear, dread & contempt in the hearts of OB/GYNs who want to create more problems by playing God with women's lives.

Before we get to those tips, some preliminary facts:

* Make damn fucking sure you do not want to have children EVER. Permanent solutions are nothing to mess around with. If the answer to "Do you ever want children?" is anything other than an emphatic "No!" you have no business asking for a tubal. You should get an IUD instead.

You also don't get to call yourself "childfree." You are what we call a "fence sitter," a "maybe" case. If the answer to that question is "Maybe someday," do not waste a doctor's time. A legion of childfree women who want permanent sterilization & can't get it will beat you upside the head (or at least, I'd like them to).

* If you think for even a second that you can sue the doctor if you "change your mind," also don't bother doing it. You are the bitches that make it harder for me & anyone else who has an old soul or sense of who she is to get any credibility or respect on the issue. I'd go so far as to say you're an enemy to women's lib right up there with Todd Akin, Paul Ryan and all the other closet rapists.

Plus, if you live in NY you only get 2 years to sue for medical malpractice. That's it. I forget if the time starts when the malpractice happens or when you discover the malpractice so don't quote me on this but I believe it is when the malpractice happens. You discovered it 20 years later? Tough shit, you've most likely waited too long. As my NY Practice professor in law school said, the doctors have a good lobby that made this the law in NY state. The doctors in your state may also have a good state lobbyist. Check your state laws.

* If you're not good with surgery & willing to sign a waiver saying you won't sue if you "change your mind," don't do it. More setting women back & causing issues. Let me just punch you in the face right now if you pull that.

So, if you are an actual childfree person who is hellbent on never, ever having kids no matter what & will never lament the loss of your unborn rugrats here is what you do:

1. Research, research, research! Research your local state & federal laws when it comes to this subject. Know how long the statute of limitations is for a doctor to be sued for giving sterilization to someone who later changes her mind. Research current news & know about mothers who killed their children, the harm done to children from resentful parents who didn't want them, the consequences of parenthood & what it does or doesn't make you.

2. Have strength in your convictions, no matter what. If anyone can talk you out of it, you aren't prepared to do it.

3. Have logical arguments prepared. Cite the laws on consent, voting, any professional licenses you hold like being an attorney & the process you went through to get that license, etc.

4. Use "Do no harm" to your advantage: ask the busybody doctor about violating that provision by allowing an unborn child to be born to a home where (s)he will not be treated well say not being fed, clothed, etc. Ask about the harm to society, the court system and everyone else who has to get involved in the abuse and neglect involving this kid. Ask about the increased crime rate & future victims of this child born to an unfit parent (and resenting or hating your child certainly qualifies you as an "unfit parent" in my book).

Cite any contacts you may have involved in sexual abuse who might still be in the picture if some unborn child was brought into the world if you had one. Furthermore, ask about the emotional harm being done to you with this paternalistic attempt to shove you into motherhood against your will.

5. Know the slippery slope argument like the back of your hand: when you've asked every single doctor who takes your insurance about this & go to your last ones or the last one, mention that fact. Tell them that all have denied you & they are violating your civil rights with this collective denial.

6. Do NOT, under any circumstances, be deferential to the doctor on this choice. This is YOUR body, YOUR health & YOUR life. Now that doesn't mean "be rude." It means don't act like this doctor is superior to you due to his/her education. Doctors will play that card without question. If you don't have a lawyer card to play, you need to get away from the "he's more educated so he's smarter than me" mindset. No one knows you better than you do. YOU live in your body & your mind. This prick doesn't.

YOU know your household better than any doctor does. (S)he wants to step in? Then that fucker needs to be held liable (maybe criminally in some cases) for denying sterilization & the consequences that result to the woman, family & unborn child. I bet these wannabe gods would think twice about such intrusions if that happened. Don't get sucked into anyone's God complex or allow yourself to be bullied!

Do this stuff before you ever call anyone. To continue,

7. Call the OB/GYN's office & ask the first person you speak to about this. Doing so will save you time, money & heartache. Sometimes, they'll have the answer & sometimes, they'll have someone call you back.

If you don't get a "yes," keep going. Don't waste your time going into anyone's office unless they will do it. If they insist, ask if they are giving you a free consultation or expect you to fall for their bait & switch tactics.

8. If you get push back, cite your valid reasons. Use these logical arguments I mentioned above. Also, ask this doctor point blank about the war on women going on in our current times & the lunatic fringe Republicans trying to outlaw abortion, make contraceptives impossible to get (such as allowing employers to dictate the uses for it in female employees), etc. If you've done that research, you can cite those instances in your state & elsewhere of such laws.

See what this doctor says when you point out that you may not have the option of less permanent contraception if Romney takes office or your local Republican representatives get those harsh, draconian, sexist laws through. Maybe even ask if the doctor is pro-life or pro-choice. That could even be done in the initial phone call but if the doctor says "pro-life" you can ask how bringing unwanted children into the world is in any way healthy or being "pro-life." You could even ask how taking free will away from an adult woman is in any way in keeping with his/her religious faith if the person cites one.

I was raised in an independent Baptist household so I know how the Christian fundies think. If you're also from a religious background, use it to your advantage.

9. If you are outright lied to like the first doctor I had did to me, don't you dare give up. Use Tom Petty's song "I Won't Back Down" as your mantra. You talk to the next doctor & the next, using the same approach. If you really want to get creative, you could even make up a story about having been raped by a family member that you're still forced to have in your life b/c other family members sided w/him & not you i.e. any unborn child would be exposed to a rapist.

Remember also the words of Malcolm X: By whatever means necessary. Considering the US may become just another 3rd world country on this issue soon, you may want to make getting permanent sterilization a high priority lest you end up being forced to raise your rapist's baby or give up your career and all you hold dear for some puking, mulling rugrat you never wanted in the first place. People who aren't uncivilized pieces of garbage will allow abortion for ectopic pregnancies (you know, those ones that have zero chance of viability). If they don't, well maybe these closet rapists should also decriminalize rape since they believe it's "God's will."

Personally, I think if you have to start lying to doctors the doctor/patient privilege is useless. Point out this hypocrisy if you need to.

10. Be civil but don't be nice unless the doctor respects you as an adult woman capable of living your own life & making your own decisions. If your logical arguments have failed, that says the doctor is NOT respectful of you. If you have children & some doctor is doing this, most definitely show no mercy for this blatant paternalism.

It's not just men who engage in this paternalism, by the way. I had women pull this on me as well. Be contrary & if you have to, be a bitch. No, not just a bitch. An unrepentant, bulldozing bitch who won't take shit off the likes of this wannabe God.

Propose that the age of consent, voting, etc. for women be bumped up & zero liability prescribed to you for anything if this doctor wants to deny you the right to make this choice for yourself. Cite figures about women who actually change their minds, the viability of such a lawsuit, whatever fits for the situation.

If you want to tell them not to bullshit you & just be honest, go ahead. Uncovering the motivations behind doctors acting like they know better than adult women is a good idea & should be done more often to assess whether some people should even be in the field in the first place. Would they deny abortions to 12 year old rape victims next? Are they THAT baby happy?

11. If the doctor doesn't want to do it but isn't a total prick about it, ask for the names of people who WILL do it. Not give you maybes or harass you about it but will actually treat you as an adult with a fully functioning brain and free will. Feel free to say that last part to drive your point home.

Maybe something good will come out of it, maybe not. Either way, at least you tried.

12. If you find a doctor who does your surgery & you're happy with the results, spread the word. Tell others about this OB/GYN who is respectful of women & isn't infantalizing adult women (defined as those over 18, not those over 35). I've been more than happy to ID my surgeon to women seeking this in NYC.

I have very little stock in OB/GYNs these days. Since my insurance no longer covers the one who did my surgery & another one I had vanished from the face of the earth, I've not found one who is respectful of women. My mom says that since I already had the tubal, it's too late to worry about that but I disagree. I don't want my copay going to some anti-woman dirtbag who belittles my childfreedom & insists that I'm not a full person or have some kind of mental defect b/c I'm not some baby crazed harpy who treats her husband like a child. No way do I want some gynecologist saying "You could get your tubal reversed. Let's see about doing that," when I'd violently object to it. This issue most certainly is going to affect that health care provider's medical judgment & treatment of me and I'm not interested in that shitty bias.

If you also had this done or are contemplating it, you should definitely consider a future doctor's beliefs on that issue for your future OB/GYN needs if you run into the situation I have.

Finally, I'd like to point out that by the time these objecting doctors think you're "old enough" for a tubal you're already in menopause or a stone's throw away from it.

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