Early in my life I had decided not to have children. When I met the man I was to marry, I told him I did not want to have children, explained the reasons why and I understood if he wanted to break up. He respected my decision, agreed with it, and after many years of marriage, we decided to finalize our decision.
“If I were to be raped and become pregnant, in many places I would be forced to have the child.”
I went to my doctor to get information about tubal ligation, and my husband sought information about getting a vasectomy. Interestingly, I came home with a form that required my husband’s signature to get my tubes tied and he had no such form asking for my permission for him to get a vasectomy.
After careful consideration, my husband opted for the vasectomy as it was a simple, in-office procedure requiring no time off from work.
So there we were in our lives. We made a decision that involved careful thought, mutual respect, and maturity.
Over the years, I’ve watched the erosion of a woman’s right to reproductive health which includes access to a safe abortion. In horror I watched as the debates about reproductive health spiraled down to a complete disregard of women. I soon realized that if I were to be raped (statistically a real possibility) and were to become pregnant, in many places I would be forced to have the child I had decided I did not want. I was in a monogamous relationship for over 20 years, made a decision with my spouse not to have children, and I could potentially be forced to carry a child from a rapist.
I have now been married for over 30 years. I’m at a point in my life that the possibility of a pregnancy no longer exists. But when I was young, I was raped not only by a stranger when I was in my twenties, but by a family member for many years when I was just a little girl.
Tell me again why this decision is not mine to make.