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01/06/2010

Time for the Tubes to Be Tied?

A Massachusetts woman, Tessa Savicki, 35, is suing the physicians, nurses and the medical center she says tied her tubes without her consent after the birth of her ninth child. She thought they were putting in an IUD, but instead they performed a tubal ligation, reports the Boston Herald. According to Savicki, the ligation was done without her consent.

Savicki has been attacked for being a single octo-mom plus one (of course not all at one time) who is on public assistance and who now is outraged at the “medical mistake” made by the medical center. Savicki has been pummeled on her Facebook page by those who say she has no right to have so many children and that she should in fact have had her tubes tied long ago.

But who are these moralizers to tell her when her reproductive rights end? Many have and would argue that her reproductive liberties ended when they began to place burdens upon the state (the state being those of us who foot the bill for her nine children). Savicki argues back in defense that eight of her nine children were conceived in committed relationships. Not committed or stable enough to be able to support them without state assistance.

In reality, though, in this day and age, unless you are a multi-millionaire–who could support nine children? Jon and Kate with their eight made millions on reality TV–they could afford theirs (even post-divorce).

But seriously, Savicki shouldn’t be attacked for being on public assistance. She should be criticized for not availing herself of the extensive Planned Parenthood centers around the state of Massachusetts where she could have received birth control or other forms of contraceptives to prevent her from having nine children. It’s not the use of state resources that is the problem, it’s the quality of life for those nine children that concerns me. The quality of life at home. It’s the kind of life that even state assistance can provide for nine children and a single mother that worries me. Perhaps Ms. Savicki should have thought about that before having child 5 or child 7 or child 9.

The moral failing is not in taking the assistance; it was in not thinking through the quality of life and the futures of her first, second, third, and fourth child as she proceeded with subsequent pregnancies.

Now, does this justify physicians performing medical procedures upon her without her consent? Of course not.

Moreover, we don’t know if there were good medical reasons for the tubal ligation.

As the facts come out, we will learn more, but for now. Let’s be clear about where the moral responsibility lies.

Summer Johnson, PhD

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