Here’s a repost that appeared on my original blog on October 7, 2018. I still think it’s wrong for a person to coerce another into having an elective and permanent surgery (which is what a vasectomy is intended to be). I get that they are reversible, but sometimes reversals fail. They are also expensive and invasive. I know this because Bill had one.
This morning, as I looked at my Facebook memories, I found a lively discussion that I had last year. It was about Kelly Clarkson and how she’s demanded that her husband have a vasectomy after she had their two children. Anyone who regularly reads this blog knows how I feel about coercing people into permanently altering their bodies to suit the other person. I think it’s wrong. It’s very admirable if a person offers to get sterilized for their partner’s sake, but I don’t think it’s right for the partner to try to force it.
Imagine my surprise this morning when I found an article in The New York Times about that same subject. Only this time, it was in the form of a letter to The Ethicist, written by a woman who knew someone who had decided she wanted to get a divorce. But before she got the divorce, she wanted her husband to have a vasectomy. Why? Because she thinks he’s a terrible father and doesn’t want him distracted by kids he might have with someone else. She also doubts any future women would be interested in having kids with him anyway, since he’s “middle aged”.
I probably don’t need to rehash my thoughts on this subject. The short version is that I think it’s wrong for a man or a woman to demand that their partner have a permanently altering surgery. If you are done having children, you should have the surgery… unless there is a very good reason why you can’t have it. Even then, you have no right to demand that your husband or wife get sterilized. There are ways to prevent pregnancy that don’t involve permanent surgeries, which is what vasectomies and tubal ligations are intended to be (even if they can be reversed). However… to insist that your partner have such a surgery and then dump them in a divorce is unbelievably despicable and unethical. In reading The Ethicist’s column, I see that he is fully in agreement with me on this point.
What is prompting me to write again today are the horrifying comments people left on the New York Times’ Facebook link. Thanks to all of the misogynistic crap that has been circulating in the news ever since Trump got elected, there is a hive of emboldened women out there who think the way this man was treated is perfectly okay. It’s just fine that his ex wife, who did convince him to have surgery and subsequently divorce him, manipulated this man into doing her bidding. And why? Because there’s so much “misogyny” in the world. Who cares if this guy might actually be a decent person and maybe might be a great partner to someone else and a terrific father? He has a penis, so therefore, it’s alright to mislead him. Screw him and his plans for his own life, and those of any other woman he chooses to have a partnership with or marry.
I noticed a lot of men were commenting, only to be shut down by a group of women who appear to pretty much hate all men. I will admit that sometimes men can be annoying when they mansplain, but the reverse is also true. Femsplaining is also extremely irritating.
I’ve never made it a secret that I’m for *actual* equality. When it comes to reproduction, women have a bit more power than men do, since they are mostly capable of having babies without anything more than a dose of sperm. However, I would never agree that it’s okay for a man to demand that his partner have an abortion or get her tubes tied. I likewise don’t think women have the right to demand that a man get himself snipped. Don’t want to get pregnant? Don’t have sex. Get yourself surgery that prevents reproduction. Use birth control. But you don’t get to coerce, bully, or trick someone else into having surgery.
I think some feminists have lost their sense of fairness when it comes to this issue. Some of them seem to have the idea that men should be punished for what women have endured for so many years. But we will never have equality and fairness as long as one group thinks the other “owes” them.
I see the comments on the article itself are a bit more even-handed. A couple of people even suggest that the man would have grounds to sue his ex wife over the duplicity. She would probably really deserve it if he did pursue that action, although since they have children, it’s probably not the best solution for the children’s sakes. Besides, a judgment against the ex wife would not bring back his prior fertility. He’d either have to undergo a reversal, which costs a lot of money and involves some pretty serious recovery time, or some other costly intervention.
I will admit that my feelings about this issue arise from the fact that I was personally affected by a woman who demanded that my husband have a vasectomy. She claimed pregnancy was “hard” for her. Then she had two more kids with her third husband, while I’m left being the mom of beagles. Bill wanted to have a child with me and I wanted to have a child with him. We were denied that chance thanks to his manipulative bitch of an ex wife who took advantage of Bill’s kindness and good character. And yes… I do think she’s a bitch, among other things. I don’t like to namecall, but it is what it is. She destroyed his relationship with his children, tried to turn his parents against him, and made it very difficult for me to have children of my own without resorting to measures that should have been completely unnecessary.
Even if this hadn’t happened to me, I’d still be against this kind of manipulative bullshit. What the hell right does that woman have to leave such a permanent mark on her victim? I only hope the man in this story goes on to find a far more ethical, decent, and thoughtful woman than his ex wife is. The woman described in that column is the very definition of a bitch, among other things. I hope she gets what’s coming to her.