A cruel irony is that most often it’s the person with a uterus who is tasked with the responsibility of birth control, but we still live in a world where their choice about how to manage fertility can be invalidated—by the state, by their partners, and even by their doctors. This story about a woman named Holli who went to her OB-GYN to get her tubes tied is enough to enrage anyone who has had to navigate birth control options.

Holli’s tweet about her horrible doctor’s visit went viral, because it shows how easy it is for a woman’s choice to be taken away. She wrote that when she asked for the elective procedure of tubal ligation, which is sort of like the vasectomy of the uterus, her doctor told her she needed a signed permission slip from her husband. When she asked if this was a state law she was informed that it was just the doctor’s personal policy.

“My face has been stuck like this for 15 minutes,” she wrote. “I’m f—king pissed.”


For the record, this is an illegal practice, but doctors can have an enormous amount of control over what someone can actually do with their own bodies because of their position of power over their patients. It’s not possible to know what Holli’s personal situation is: maybe she has the money to go to someone else, maybe someone out of her insurance network.

Maybe she lives in an area with many practice options and can take off work to go to more appointments. Maybe she even has the money and time to actually drag this doctor to court over violating her rights, and can make a huge change for everyone who visits them in future. But that’s a lot of maybes.

People are enraged on her behalf, and have explained how messed up this situation is:



And some women have said they had to sign for their husband to get a vasectomy, so the issue does go both ways:

It would be messed up to lie to your partner about your fertility, though there are reasons why someone might do such a thing, but most people have probably discussed it with their partner before going into surgery. Is that really for a doctor to decide whether or not they’re legit? Your body, your choice. No permission slips should be required.


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*First Published: March 1, 2020, 9:04 am