Just recently, women who were sterilized against their will were awarded $50,000 apiece. Maybe. There’s still a lot that can go wrong, the money is not guaranteed. They were sterilized simply because a board decided they were of unsuitable stock to reproduce. A woman who wanted a family is deprived of that dream and after decades she gets an insulting check? Hell, smokers get more for suicidal behavior. Some of these women were sterilized fifty years ago, is the pain of sterility not even worth a grand a year? Let’s take a quick look at why they were selected for sterilization. For being poor. For being black. For being “willful” or having come from undesirable families. A room full of men sat in judgment on whether certain women should be allowed to conceive. And in the case of over seven thousand women, they decided they were not. By whose authority? The states who allowed this owe a hell of a lot more than $50,000. These women’s lives were forever changed against their will on false pretenses. They get a pittance and a half-assed acknowledgement instead of the apology and promise of a better future for women. Instead, all but maybe 2,000 have died without knowing even this humble victory.
If we were willful, we could be sterilized. If we are not beautiful, we are less valuable. If we do not please our husbands we are failures, no matter how unreasonable those expectations might be. We are treated like another class of people, whose bodies are subject to debate by those who will never walk in our shoes. We are paid less for working harder, and charged more for health insurance. If we are strong, we are bitches. If we are intelligent, they make fun of our ass.
This is just another reason why women should be allowed full ownership of their bodies and medical decisions. This is the same argument as abortion and birth control, it all comes back to women being able to decide their future. It’s also about a bunch of men sitting in a room, safely removed from the consequences, not being able to choose for strangers what is right.