Posted by: LucidMystery | February 23, 2008

No, I Couldn’t Have Heard That Right

Brianna and Sarah, hold on to your hats and copies of the Feminine Mystique. I came across a worrisome news article on-line today, and before I dive in head over heels, I wanted to make a disclaimer. After searching around, the only verification of the veracity of this article seems to be other news websites citing back to the article in question. I did some Google searches and couldn’t find anything of more substance or with actual quotes or dates the statements were made. That being said, I actually hope the article wasn’t true, because if it was, the worlds of feminism, politics, and playing God are colliding in a 1984 kind of way.

If you would like to read for yourself the article to which I’m referring, here is the link: It’s a long article, and if you don’t want to read it, I will summarize. Apparently, the British Minister of State for Public Health Dawn Primarolo made some sort of comment indicating she felt that it should be legally mandatory for all teenage girls to be temporarily sterilized to slow down the teenage pregnancy rate in England. Not birth control pills or patches, mind you, but there are multiple implants and surgeries that can do the same trick over an extended period of time with little or no long term affect.

Don’t misunderstand me, I completely agree with those who say that teenage pregnancy is a serious social problem that is creating a generation of children who are doomed from conception. To be frank, teenage girls don’t make the best mothers! They have no idea how to plan for a child (…obviously) and wouldn’t have the slightest clue how offer their baby any of the advantages that would help them become successful individuals later in life.

However, that being said, forcing sterilization of young girls may close one door of danger, but it opens 100 more! Ignoring the social and political implications for a moment, think of the girls who undergo these various procedures. What is a hormone-driven 15 year old girl going to do if someone tells she won’t get pregnant no matter what she does? I’ll let you work that one out. The new problem is now she and her partner in crime will definitely not be using any type of protection, and STD infection rate will skyrocket! But the sterilization methods aren’t foolproof anyway. Many female zoo animals are actually on these implants; but given the fact that just at my zoo, we have had gibbon and okapi babies from females that theoretically shouldn’t have been able to conceive, I’m guessing there isn’t a money-back guarantee on the sterilizations. Sooooo, legally require a 12 year old girl to have a mild surgical procedure (thereby assuming she plans to be promiscuous regardless of her own personal values), tell her she is safe to have sex, and then turn her loose with that thought into the madness of teenage hormones. Good call. And let’s not even discuss the fact that it’s girls who are targeted when teenage boys are just as biologically if not socially responsible.

So those are just my issues with a teenage girl being “fixed.” But what about the idea of the government requiring it? To me, just that thought is terrifying. I know this could just be one woman’s idea, and she may have just been thinking out loud. Yet if someone in her position and with her power to be flirting with an idea of this nature, I just don’t want to think about it if she is taken seriously. If a government starts making mandates like this, what is next? What kind of a precedent is this setting?

Of course, one could argue that required vaccinations were already a precedent. After all, it’s a case of the government requiring a medical procedure. Same thing, right? Wrong! In the case of vaccinations, the human race saw entire generations of people wiped out from diseases that we discovered we could prevent. There is a world of difference between a subcutaneous injection and fallopian tube cinching (though I won’t claim to know exactly how any of that works)

Look at this from the perspective of pro-choice women. I’ve heard the mantra “keep your laws off my body” from every angle, and they aren’t even talking something that is just their own body. They’re talking about a conceived baby that gets 50% of its genetic material from someone else! That entire camp should be furious at the very idea of forcing a surgical form of birth control on an innocent girl (and let’s not have a Minority Report moment and say that she may not be innocent in the future.)

You know what, though? Instead of putting a legal mandate on teenage girls, why don’t we put some ethical mandates on these girls’ parents? When I was in high school, my parents always knew where I was. It would have been most inconvenient borderline impossible for me to even figure out where or when I could be alone with a boy to participate in a time-old recreation of passion. This was the same for all of my friends, both girls and guys. Now let me assure you, us home-school kids certainly weren’t little goody-goodies and we had our exceptions that led to babies, but they weren’t the norm. Our parents were involved enough in our lives that they could figure out if something was going on that they should know about; but they weren’t so involved that we had no privacy. It was a good balance. When I read that article about how so many British girls were pregnant, my first thought was “Where are her parents? How could they have raised her to let this happen?” Rebellion was cited in the article, but that is why good parent-child relationships are essential! Not just in childhood, but later also. If she has a strong enough relationship with her parents, she won’t do things she knows they are against. Idealistic? Yes. But arguably a better idea than forcing a girl into a government-ordered surgery that she may not even fully understand yet. Controlling a child is the duty of parents, not politics.


  1. Your “I’ll let you work that one out” was funny.

    I disagree about this: “teenage pregnancy is a serious social problem that is creating a generation of children who are doomed from conception.” We shouldn’t categorize all these children as “doomed from conception.” Some teenage mothers can rise to the occasion and raise healthy, functional, smart kids—kids who grow up and become good members of society. We shouldn’t write them all off just because their moms had them when they were 16.

    I mean, I’m sure Jamie-Lynn Spears will prove your quote wrong. 😉

    There’s only 15 years’ difference between my aunt and her son, but he has grown up to be a nice guy who has raised good kids of his own. That’s an example of how her son wasn’t doomed from conception.

    I HATED /Minority Report/! What did you think of it?



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