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
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.
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.
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
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…
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.
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.
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
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.
Thank you so much for sharing your mother’s story. I remember those days. I never want us to go back either.