A woman’s story about an OB-GYN who would refuse to perform a tubal ligation without her husband’s permission goes viral
A woman’s tweet about a visit to her OB-GYN has gone viral for reading like something out of the Handmaid’s Tale. A woman named Holli shared on Twitter that her OB-GYN would not allow her to get tubal ligation aka get her “tubes tied” without her husband’s permission. Holli pressed her doctor, who told her that it was their “policy” to get approval from a patient’s male partner before operating. Holli was upset and not surprisingly, Twitter was too.
“My OBGYN just said if I want my tubes tied electively then my husbands signature is also required on the release form. I asked her if that was a law, she said it’s not but it’s their policy,” Holli shared online. “I’m fucking pissed.”
Most people chimed in to tell Holli to swiftly find a new OB-GYN, and that her doctor’s “policy” is sexist at best and life-threatening, at worst. Imagine if a woman in an abusive relationship was told to get her husband’s permission? It’s one thing to involve your partner in your family planning procedures, but it’s another entirely to tell a woman she cannot make medical decisions about her own body.
Others chimed in with expert advice. One woman’s husband, a urologist, says he doesn’t ask permission from wives when male patients get vasectomies and another Obgyn weigned it with her take. Others told Holli to report the doctor to the ACLU.
This woman’s story, while shocking to most, was nothing compared to the stories that flooded her mentions. Stories of sterilization without consent, single women having to get their father’s permission, and doctors patronizing women, saying they need to remain fertile for a future male partner.
Women do not have to get anyone’s consent to get their tubes tied, but private health care providers can still create whatever “policy” they want. Beyond getting your husband’s signature, there are a number of reasons a doctor could invent to prevent a woman from seeking the procedure. Despite the fact that the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists’ Committee on Ethics cautions doctors from taking a paternal approach to tubal ligation, some doctors won’t perform sterilization procedures on single women, young women, women with less than two kids, etc.
As Ariel Tazkargy, a health law attorney in Kansas City, Missouri, told Vice in 2019, “People have so many opinions about women choosing to reproduce or not, and I think physicians in the position to make that decision are hesitant because they think a woman might regret it later. And that comes down to: We don’t trust women. We don’t trust women to make choices for themselves.”
All this to say, we hope Holli found a new doctor.