By Franchie Viaud, Staff Writer

Younger women who are sure of their decision not to have children are finding it difficult to find a doctor who will agree to sterilize them./PHOTO VIA Flickr user Justin Block

Younger women who are sure of their decision not to have children are finding it difficult to find a doctor who will agree to sterilize them./PHOTO VIA Flickr user Justin Block

Young women are finding it difficult to find a legitimate doctor to willingly sterilize them. The arguments against sterilizing these women are always the same—either they are too young, or they are worried that by not having children, they will come to regret their decision later on, subtly implying that the women are not old enough to make their own decisions.

A recent article from the Huffington Post tells the story of a 24-year-old woman when she first approached a doctor about being sterilized. She was turned down on account of her age, and then again when she asked the next year, and again the year after that. She was told that she would find no self-respecting doctor willing to go through with the procedure.

It begs the question as to whether gender clouds decisions. Is it somehow harder to render a woman childless permanently, at least the natural way, than it is a man? Are vasectomies met with more acceptance? Physicians’ concerns are in no way invalid — after all, a large number of women who have gone through with the procedure later regret choosing a less permanent route in their formative years. And at this point, it is often too late.

It also makes you ponder why women even take such a drastic step. A cocktail of birth controls and condoms should take care of the issue of conception without having to go through with something so perpetual. It seems like an unnecessary risk.

There are even laws in place to make sure that a woman has to be a certain age to get sterilized, yet there are no statures put in place that require a certain age for a man to receive a vasectomy. It is too hard to believe that a woman can’t come to this conclusion as a spur of the moment thing, that a lot of thought had been put into it, like all difficult choices and wasn’t simply a flight of fancy? A doctor’s hesitation does have merit — if the doctor hadn’t at least tried to make sure that she were absolutely certain about her choice, that doctor wouldn’t be doing his or her job.

Some doctors, however, make the case for similar long-term forms of contraceptives, arguing it’s the “better” option for sexually active young women. They’re both effective as an “almost permanent” means of sterilization, and are completely reversible should she choose in the future to bear children.

As long as a woman is informed about the risks, and the numbers and statistics are spelled out to her in great painstaking detail repeatedly, then her age shouldn’t come into consideration. Given, sometimes you can’t be prepared for things until you’ve experienced it firsthand. How you feel now doesn’t determine that you will feel the same 15 years later. In the end, we should be allowed a little change of heart.