An increasing number of bioethicists are raising concerns that young childless women requesting sterilisation as means of birth control are facing unfair obstacles. It is argued that these obstacles are inconsistent, paternalistic, that they reflect pronatalist bias and that men seem to face fewer obstacles. It is commonly recommended that physicians should change their approach to this type of patient. In contrast, I argue that physicians’ reluctance to eagerly follow an unusual request is understandable and that whatever obstacles result from this reluctance serve as a useful filter for women who are not seriously committed to their expressed requests for sterilisation. As women already disproportionally bear the birth control burden, less resistance that men might be getting in terms of voluntary sterilisation works to women’s advantage, providing a much needed balance. Societal attitudes towards women and motherhood should not be confused with individual physicians’ reasonable reluctance to jump at a serious elective procedure at fairly mild expression of interest.
- clinical ethics
Statistics from Altmetric.com
If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.