My Mother’s Story, by GF

I’ve been reading here

after visiting with a friend last summer

and escorting for a day

reproductive rights have been more in the front of my mind

as political hopefuls seeming gleeful

at the idea of turning back the clock

and stripping rights away from women

I think about all the things that fall into

reproductive rights

I think about my mother

When I was born

I nearly killed my mom

She’s a tiny thing

my brother and I were huge

and I tore my mother to pieces

during the birth

churning inside her

with every contraction

nearly killing us both

My Mom wanted her tubes tied after that

knowing that one more child would kill her

and the child

leaving my Dad alone with two babies

knowing that her body could not stand another baby

Living in Texas in the 60’s

a woman could not get her tubes tied unless

She had 3 surviving children


was over 35


had permission of her husband.

holy crap.


So their only choices were my dad getting a vasectomy (which my Mom didn’t want — because logical woman she was — if she died and he remarried — his new wife might want kids — (yes — I was raised by Vulcans)) — or my Mom — if she got pregnant again — having an illegal abortion.

by the way — it always pissed my Mom off that there were not requirements or permission from the wife required for my Dad to get a vasectomy.

My Mom

who was never a feminist

never a liberal

the 60’s woman who wanted to be more Jackie O’ than Grace Slick

needed reproductive rights to protect her.

She was lucky



because she didn’t have to find a way to get an illegal abortion

they moved to Colorado

where my Mom had her tubes tied within days of arriving.

I grew up with this story.

and while it’s not a story about the pro-choice fight

it is a story about

what the world was like

when a woman didn’t have the right to make choices for her body

when her body was governed by the state

and her husband

I for one

do not want to go back

to those days

6 thoughts on “My Mother’s Story, by GF

  1. My sister-in-law’s friend has 3 more children than she desired because most doctors STILL require the husband’s consent for a tubal ligation, consent which he would not give.
    Legally spousal consent is not required but individual doctors can require consent and it can be quite a hassle to find a doctor that doesn’t require spousal consent, that accepts your insurance etc etc…

    • Oubli,

      It is hard to believe this is still happening so many years after Roe v Wade and the legalization of birth control, but I believe it. It is like the conscientious objection clauses for pharmacists to not prescribe RU-486. If the doctor doesn’t agree with tubal ligation without spousal consent, it leaves the woman with very hard choices or sometimes none.

      Thank you for sharing this story with us.

  2. Sometimes it’s easy to forget how hard Womyn had it before us. And how hard they worked to change it all. And how many years that took. Thank you for putting this picture in my mind. Your memory is now a gift to remind and hopefully haunt us so we can do what we need to do to stay free.

  3. Thank you both for you kind comments.

    When I think back to how I became pro-access (as I will now work to think of it) — it was in hearing this story as a young girl.

    It is my body
    I make the choices for my body
    and I don’t wish to forget that
    I can lose that ability


  4. Thank you so very much for sharing your mother’s story. I was not allowed to get my tubes tied, even with my husband’s permission, because I was only 23 and had only 2 children. That was in 1982! Barbaric!
    My girlfriend was not allowed because her husband did not give his permission, even though she had a life-threatening time after child three, and four, and after five the doc said, “to hell with his signature” and tied hers anyhow! He could have had his license revoked. That was the late 1970s.

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