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From the Forum: Surgical sterilization and minors
June 3, 2003

A teenage girl can get pregnant and then choose to (a) have an abortion, (b) put the kid up for adoption or (c) keep the child and raise it herself. Her teenage boyfriend can currently be made to pay child support. Many of us on this board argue that he should have a choice to (a) pay child support or (b) sign away his rights and responsibilities to the kid.

All of these choices are irreversible, permanent and have a major impact on the rest of that person's life.

Yet if the very same teenage girl or boy decided they wanted a tubal ligation or a vasectomy, they are legally barred from getting the procedure done. The excuse is "they're too young to make such an important, irreversible, permanent decision."

Run that by me again? Why is making one type of irreversible, permanent decision okay, but making another (one that, BTW, I think is less harmful) not?

If a teenage girl is old enough to decide to abort, etc., she should certainly be old enough to decide to have a tubal ligation. If a teenage boy is old enough to decide to accept or sign away his rights to his child, he should certainly be old enough to decide to have a vasectomy.

Some people will rebut, "What if they regret it later?" Fine: What if the girl later regrets having an abortion, choosing adoption or deciding to keep her baby? What if the boy later regrets signing away his parental rights, or deciding not to? Why is it okay for them to live with those regrets, but not regret over choosing sterilization?

I would much rather an individual live with regret over a mistake s/he made that affected them only, not an innocent kid who didn't ask to be born to two screwed-up parents who weren't prepared to be parents.

I think if a minor wants to have a tubal or a vasectomy, and they have the money to pay for it, there should be no legal barriers stopping them. We have too many people in the world producing unplanned, unwanted children that they cannot and/or will not care for.

Originally posted on the ifeminists.com discussion forum, June 2, 2003.

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