Are Men Legally Required to Ask Their Spouse’s Permission for a Vasectomy?

Last week, prominent mommy blogger Katie Allison Granju wrote a truly startling article titled “Husband Want a Vasectomy? He’ll Have to Ask Your Permission.” Granju, a mother of five children, revealed that when she and her husband decided together that he get a vasectomy, she was required to sign before he could snip.

[A]pparently, many doctors in this country really do require men who come to them seeking vasectomies to fess up to marital status, and to then get their wives’ written consent before the physician will perform the procedure? In some cases, doctors require a face to face meeting with a man’s wife—in addition to the signed consent from her—before a vasectomy will be performed.

A story like this should have caused riptides among sexual rights activists (it certainly made my ears ring), but the only place I saw it covered was over at Instapundit, which struck me as odd. A Google search revealed a wide array of personal accounts that backed Granju up, but plenty that dismissed the practice as a rumor. What’s a journalist to believe?

So I checked with some urologists to find out. Here’s Dr. Charles Wilson from the Vasectomy Clinic in Seattle:

In terms of good medical practice, most doctors would be a little concerned—if not alarmed—if their patient didn’t talk to their spouse. I’m on the side of allowing men to make the decision even if they’re not going to tell their spouse but not without a whole lot of counseling and discussion. I want to be sure that if he’s making that decision, he’s thought about all the repercussions. Frankly, some men just don’t get it.

And Dr. Ira D. Sharlip, Chair of American Urological Association’s Vasectomy Guideline Panel:

There’s no legal requirement for spousal consent and no minimum age for vasectomy other than the minimum age of consent. But while it’s not necessary to have spousal consent, it’s a really good idea, and involving the spouse in the decision is encouraged.

Simple, boring, safe. But then where are all of these accounts coming from?

Well, according to Janet Crepps, a lawyer at the Center for Reproductive Rights, while there’s absolutely no law requiring men to obtain their partner’s consent, it can be imposed on a case-by-case basis at a clinical level.

Doctors can impose requirements in a private setting in order to protect themselves legally. It’s their choice that they want to do that. While it would be pretty difficult for a wife to successfully sue a doctor for doing a vasectomy on her husband, it wouldn’t surprise me if their legal counsel insisted that they would be better off getting that consent. That said, nobody I know is imposing that kind of requirement.

In short, doctors are given license to decide on whom they perform surgery based on medical judgment and experience, but most of them seem to be conducting themselves reasonably and ethically.

But what if the genders had been reversed? What if we took out the words “urologists” and “vasectomy” and replaced them with “gynecologists” and “tubal ligation,” or even “abortion”?

Is there a double standard here, folks? And for those of you with vasectomy experience, care to share? Leave it below.

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About Lu Fong

Lu Fong was a staff writer and blog editor for the Good Men Project in its formative years. As the requisite woman on staff, her hobbies included cleaning, cooking, knitting, fainting, and childbearing. Follow her on Twitter @lufong.

Comments

  1. What if he doesn’t want children but she keeps poking holes in the condoms or forgetting to take her birth control because she wants children? He should have a choice and it’s much easier for a woman to trick a man into getting pregnant or to stop herself from getting pregnant – than it is for a man to have a say in the matter. Millions of men are tricked into an unwanted pregnancy every year. They should NOT have to have their wives consent to have a vasectomy and a woman should not have to have her husbands consent to have a tubal. A woman SHOULD have to have her husbands consent to abort a baby though. (unless he pregnancy is life threatening for her, then the answer is obvious) Once that baby is there, it is just as much his as it is hers and he should have a say in whether it is born or not. As a married woman she has options to avoid an unwanted pregnancy – LOTS of options. Once she is pregnant, as long as the pregnancy isn’t life threatening (the risk isn’t greater to her than it is to every other woman on the planet) then she should require his signature for an abortion. If she doesn’t want the baby but he does, she can give him custody when it’s born and leave. – Same goes for him, if she gets pregnant and he doesn’t want the baby but she does, he can sign away his rights and leave. And no, don’t complain about child support. Condoms are cheep, health insurance covers sterilization, there are tons of ways to avoid a pregnancy and there is no reason for a married couple who KNOWS they are having sex, not to take the steps to protect from getting pregnant if they don’t want to get pregnant.

  2. British Associatation of Urology Surgeons – Chronic testicular pain rates with vasectomy = 10 – 30 %

    http://www.baus.org.uk/_userfiles/pages/files/Patients/Leaflets/Vasectomy.pdf

    British NHS Quotes 10%

    http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/contraception-guide/pages/vasectomy-male-sterilisation.aspx

    Chronicle testicle pain rates at over 15% at 10 years out:

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15008732

    Be a hero guys, punch yourself hard in the nuts once every couple of minutes every day for the rest of your life (as this is what the chronic pain following vasectomy can be like).

    Men have been lied to and deceived and presurised and manipulated around this surgery for years, then lived in shame silence and pain. No. More. Time for the truth to come out.
    – See more at: http://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/the-story-of-my-vasectomy-a-jingle-and-tom-waits-h2l/#comment-2299211

  3. Adi Patricia says:

    I think comparing a Vasectomy to an Abortion is unwise. One procedure terminates a single pregnancy, while the other procedure stops ALL chances of pregnancies, forever and ever.

    I think women should have some input… What if the two of you agreed to have three children, and then the husband decides he’s “One and Done”, and gets the surgery? There definitely needs to be a huge discussion between both parents. It would feel like a huge slap in the face if my spouse went out and did this without telling me.

    • No! the argument still stands for a ovarian hysterectomy. Civil right activists would be up in arms if women were required for their husbands permissions. It most certainly is a double standard.

      Your body, your choice applies to men just as much as women. You can’t tip the scales to “level the playing field”, or you will encroach on others civil liberty.

    • Matthew Moor says:

      Women should have no input. Men aren’t allowed to object to an abortion. Women shouldn’t tell a man what to do with his body neither.

    • Tracy Kidwell says:

      An art ion and vasectomy are apple and oranges. A man should have say in an abortion positively or negatively as having and supporting a child is a life long committment. A vasectomy or tubal ligation is the prevention of a pregnancy.. this is a personal decision. If a spous wwould do this without discussing this with his or her partner, then you may want to evaluate your relationship!

  4. Yup. Definitely a double standard. I got mine 10 years ago. The doctor gave me a form for my wife to sign. He said he would prefer to speak to her in person as well, but the consent form would be good enough. I remember calling around to the two other urologists in town. Their policies were the same. It ticked me off, but I needed to get it done, so I put my anger aside. The morning of the procedure, my wife signed it before she drove me down there. She made a joke, saying, “I guess this means I own your a**, huh?” She wasn’t trying to be ugly, she was just trying a little humor to lighten the situation. I think the look on my face made her realize that the joke fell flat, because she apologized on the way over. All behind me now, but I really think our society has turned matriarchal in the past 50 years or so.

  5. Technically speaking it is illegal by federal law to require spousal premission.

    I had a vasectomy long before I married (at 21). They never specifically asked if I was married. They never specifically asked if I had children. The consultation was only about five questions. Mostly the interviewer wanted to know if I had questions.

    Anyway, in the 28 years since, no woman has had a problem with it. I was married and divorced. I married again last year.

  6. Women should never tell men what they can and cannot do.

  7. Sarah Goodwich says:

    It’s amazing how Roe v. Wade allows abortion, which is pretty permanent, but not a procedure that makes them unnecessary. It’s as if we’re still caught up in the “biological duty” myth of the past. .. and double-standards.

  8. erik the red says:

    another interesting question, do men need their wife’s consent to undergo a sex change?

  9. erik the red says:

    I think the issue here is that consent is needed, implying that a woman can prevent her husband from having a vasectomy. I think it would be fair to require that the wife be informed of the vasectomy (after all, I could see a husband keeping it from his wife and robbing her of the potential to have children). maybe require people to inform their fiancees that they are sterile before marriage?

    • Then, Erik, women need to inform the father before they get abortions. My point is, it is none the doctors business, if the husband and wife have talked about it. That is their marriage. A doctors concern should only be for the health of his patient, not the health of the marriage.

  10. Kristen says:

    The idea of competent adult needing someone else’s permission to make decisions about their own fertility is insane. Even if it’s not legally mandated, far too many medical professionals *insist* on involving partners in decisions a person should be able to make on their own. The problem is, because it’s a demand made at the provider-level rather than a legal mandate, it’s a lot harder to target efforts to put an end to the practice. The only thing that’s going to get doctors to change their policies is for large numbers of their patients to refuse to be seen by a doctor who doesn’t respect their bodily autonomy. In the meantime, cross your fingers for Vaselgel making it to market.

  11. People wake up and Doctors get a clue! If You and your spouse can not discuss and agree on such a decision you have no business being married. If she doesn’t need your consent for her surgery then you don’t need her consent for yours. If a Doctor requires her consent then sue him and set the presidents. Problem solved.

    I was 26 when I had mine done; I was in the military and it was done in a military facility. I have since divorced her and remarried. Do I regret getting it done? No I do not! I have 2 kids from my ex which she has little to no interaction with them. I love my current wife with all my heart and she has no children biologically but she has 2 kids if you get my meaning. We discussed reversal but we felt it was too expensive and the percent chance of it working was too slim. Our children are grown and still call her Mom. If they want a female point of view they call her not their biologic.

    I think a there is a major dysfunction in second marriages when siblings come along. 9 times out of 10 there is preferential treatment to the Biological kids over the step kids. I know firsthand because my mother remarried and had two more from my stepfather. To this day we are not as important as those 2 as far as they are concerned. If you can’t love and treat all your kids the same your better off not having any more!

  12. In regards to your last point, it’s extremely difficult for women to get tubal litigation. Most docs won’t do it, or require a certain number of kids, or past a certain age. And many want the husbands consent too before they’ll consider it. It’s far easier for men to get vasectomies than TL for woman. Ask any woman who’s tried and you’ll get stories spanning upwards of two decades still with no doctor willing to perform.

    The abortion analogy is much more spot on, except in states that have past draconian laws on the subject.

    • Noting that TL is an extreme option for a woman who has a plethora of far less invasive and permanent alternatives (medications, implants, etc).

    • erik the red says:

      I wouldn’t say abortions are a good analogy at all. if a man is allowed or not allowed to get a vasectomy, his life isn’t particularly different aside from sex being riskier for him.

      an abortion has much bigger implications. by not allowing it, you are forcing a woman into 9 months of pregnancy, childbirth, potentially ruining her figure and/or career and giving her an unwanted burden for life, and by allowing it, you’re killing a man’s potential child, stealing the mantle of fatherhood away from him.

      somewhat different

      • I disagree Erik,
        It’s about rights to one’ own body. Doctor’s have no right to get in the middle of someone’s marriage or relationship. They should assume that he has talked it over with his partner. Even after the birth, moms can walk over t a church and silently and anonymously give the child away and never let dad know. There is no way a doctor can be sued because a man was not honest with his wife about a procedure. That is none o heir business.

  13. I live in SC. Here, even when a hysterectomy is medically necessary (as an example, after child birth, if a woman is hemoraging) the husband is requried to consent before it can be performed. If he is not avaliable or will not provide consent, a team of doctors can over ride him. Welcome to having your atomomy taken away.

  14. When I went to have my vasectomy I did not bring the consent form on purpose. The Dr’s office called my wife at work. they faxed a consent form to her had her sign it and fax it back before they would do the procedure.

  15. Let’s look at it from a different perspective, do women need permission of the father to abort their baby? The answer is no. Moreover, with HIPAA laws, a physician wouldn’t even be allowed to speak about a husband’s procedure anyway.

  16. I had to sign a consent for my husband to get a vasectomy. There are some cases where husband had to sign consent when a woman wants tubsl ligation. My mother in law said this was the case for her and my father in law. In some cases, there are even minimum age requirements. It really depends on the doctor.

  17. It works both ways, people. It’s up to the discretion of the doctor. My husband is in the military. He cannot get a vasectomy at a military treatment facility without my consent.

    http://everydaylife.globalpost.com/married-woman-need-her-husbands-consent-her-tubes-tied-29832.html

    • Did you read your own link? Do you understand its summary. You may want to re-read it. It is a better counter argument against what you have said than it is an actual argument. As a result, you appear pretty silly.

      • erik the red says:

        well, if you read around the end, it is essentially in the same state of affairs.

        “Others protect doctors and hospitals from being forced to perform the procedure against their judgment. A doctor or hospital determined to obtain spousal consent before performing a tubal ligation might be protected under these laws, but courts have repeatedly found that tubal ligation does not require spousal consent.”

        and while I find it outrageous that men must seek permission (yet another reason for men to avoid marriage), it seems that while it does not require spousal consent, a doctor may be able to require spousal consent

  18. As an OBGYN, I was amazed to hear from one of my patients that her husband had been told that he needed to get his wife’s signature on the Urologist’s consent for surgery form. It wasn’t a “legal” requirement per se, but just what the group of MDs required before they would do the surgery. So she came to our office for her BTL. And I can assure you, we do NOT require a husband’s signature. Now this was about 15 years ago–no idea if they still require this.

  19. Look at all the women trying to derail this into a discussion about women’s reproductive rights.

    NEWSFLASH girls: You HAVE reproductive rights, men do not, so hush and check your privilege. 🙂

  20. Thoughts of the cranberry probably bring forth memories of Ocean Spray commercials or circular slices of the jellied variety adorning a Thanksgiving platter, yet cranberries are one of the most healthful and multifarious fruit available

  21. I apologize My wife and I.

  22. I and my wife decided to do a vasectomy after she almost passed away during delivery of our twins, what disturbed me was simple. I asked my doctor when I was told my wife had to come in and sign off on it. I asked him if she needed one to have her tubes tied. He told me no. I then asked what if she wanted to abort a child? He said it depended on the clinic. I said this is ludicrous so I’m as a pro lifer need to stay out of these women’s uterus but they seem to have my nut sack in there hands. I think it would be logical to require it no matter woman or man. Or keep your politics off my nuts and maybe there would be an argument to keep politics out of your uterus. Porter vs. porter finds it unconstitutional to require male consent for women but they find it okay for men to have to have consent? Utter b.s.

  23. This is beyond disturbing. Dont you (hopefully if you are married) believe in coming to your spouse with everything? My husband just did this, he told me he was going to do it and that was that i told him I didnt support it and with all my pleading he had a friend drive him. Its horrible, I feel like a knife has stabbed me in the abdomen. Why get married if you can’t go to your spouse and make that decision together? I am a Christian and believe that the ” two become one”, I do believe in marriage forever, but this is horrible. It definitley makes you second guess your marriage. That trust is gone. So for all you who saynits your body, well, it is, but when you are married you are to serve, please and enjoy one another and trust me, no matter how right you feel, it will hurt your marrige. Its not about being right, its about one another…think before you do something this devastating and permanent. (Yes its reversible for alot of $$$ and going through that again but that isnt the same)

    • NeoSubZero says:

      It is his body. He SHOULD talk to you about it, but he shouldn’t have to get your permission just like you wouldn’t have to get his permission for any of your reproductive surgeries, especially an abortion. The thing is, you two did make the decision together, but it came to a disagreement. At the end of the day, my body, my choice, remember?

      This article wasn’t about men not talking about it with their partners like you have taken it. It’s about men not having to get permission from their partners for their only surgical reproductive option just like women don’t have to.

    • Why would a man need permission? It’s his body. Women have had abortions without even consulting the father. Women have gone off the pill and not told their husband or boyfriend. I see no reason to force a man to obtain his wife’s approval. It is a double standard. You just have to get to know the guy you are marrying. Remember the feminists anthem? MY BODY MY BUSINESS!!!!!

    • What if he doesn’t want children but she keeps poking holes in the condoms or forgetting to take her birth control because she wants children? He should have a choice and it’s much easier for a woman to trick a man into getting pregnant or to stop herself from getting pregnant – than it is for a man to have a say in the matter. Millions of men are tricked into an unwanted pregnancy every year. They should NOT have to have their wives consent to have a vasectomy and a woman should not have to have her husbands consent to have a tubal. A woman SHOULD have to have her husbands consent to abort a baby though. Once that baby is there, it is just as much his as it is hers and he should have a say in whether it is born or not. As a married woman she has options to avoid an unwanted pregnancy – LOTS of options.

  24. joe twocuts says:
  25. Re the last sentence of the Center for Reproductive Rights lawyer quote:-

    “That said, nobody I know is imposing that kind of requirement.”

    A quick browse of the Web will show many many people are asking for permission. There ignorance shows how much the CRR knows or cares about men’s reproductive rights.

  26. No one should require another’s consent but you’d be an asshole to get a tubal, vasectomy, abortion without informing your partner in most cases. It’d be terrible to have someone try for a baby when the other knows they’re infertile and keeps quiet on it…

  27. Its called the Menopausal Mafia in America… Men we need to ban together on this one!!! We are already getting our ass handed to us with Child Support,Father Rights, and now this shit!!!

    This is a violation of our rights..!!

    I wont stop until I get satisfaction on this…

  28. This is outrageous!!!! Its my bosy and my testicales!!! Who in the hell should have the right to tell a grown man that he needs permission to have a medical procedure performed on thier own body!!

    I experienced this yesterday with the Urologist office in South Carolina as I had scheduled a Chinese procedure.. The lady told me that I would have to have a consent form signed by my wife… I though she was joking..

    Does any othe man out there know of a good attorney that is heading up the law suites for this..?

    I am one angry guy today !!! Whi in the hell do these right wing idiots think they are…

    Perhaps they would also like to control who can wipe our ass when we take a @%!*..!!!

  29. This entire site is dependent on the opinion of women not men themselves. Why don’t we define our own manhood’s.

  30. ““You want Men’s Reproductive Rights? You’ll need to work with and ally with the queer, the liberal, the alternative.”

    I doubt homosexuals much care about vasectomy or other men’s post conception reproductive issues, as it has no effect on their lives. Pregnancy is not high on their list of concerns.

    The so-called pro-choice movement is most complicit because of the hypocrisy. At least the catholic church is open about their opposition. If this were happening to women, Sandra Fluke and the many who supported her would be outside the Capital with picket signs. They obviously couldn’t care less. Their silent indifference speaks volumes.

  31. My urologist required written permission, signed in front of him, from my wife, to have a vasectomy.

    Interesting that 2 years later, when she became pregnant as the result of an affair…I had no say so in her decision to keep the child, divorce me and sue for child support. In my state…the “married spouse” is considered the legal father, regardless…and you’re on the hook for 2 years, at which time the state will allow DNA testing.

    I’m sick to death of the blathering of the lefty feminist hardass women that scream about “institutional rape” and a dozen other terms when someone even DARES talk about regulating abortion or sterilization. Grow a set honey, life is tough all over.

  32. I can’t believe women are even attempting to make an argument over this. The good news is, more and more men are starting to wake up to the BS that some women as a group are pushing.

    You get to have an abortion over my objection, but I need your signed approval for a vasectomy?

    Tell me again who is trying to control who?

    • Eric M. says:

      The more I learn the clearer it becomes that the reproductive rights groups are anti-choice for men. They want men to have no reproductive rights whatsoever.

      • BS.

        There are countless women and men out here trying to figure this out. Heather and I, Joanna? Feminists! Focused on reproductive rights! Say it every day with people I talk to in the groups I frequent.

        I know hundreds of women who want RISUG and men involved here in TX for Repro rights, clinics, education, equality, and yes access. Men Women. Think of that.

        This kind of generalizing Eric? While it must feel really good? Helps NO ONE.

        I wish I was on the ballot right now running for office where I could be like BIRTH CONTROL FOR EVERYONE!!!! SEX ED FOR EVERYONE!!! I wouldn’t win you know why? Because there are as many or MORE conservative people in this country who think there should be NO sex ed, NO access to BC (no matter who pays for it) NO choice around abortion, NO alternative forms of marriage and custody and NO sex for pure pleasure.

        That’s not feminism. That’s the religious right.

        I know SO many sex positive activists focused on men and men’s health. So many. There are thousands and thousands of people out there doing this work. Thing is? Most of them are queer. Alternative. Not catholic. Into sex toys and porn and pleasure.

        You want Men’s Reproductive Rights? You’ll need to work with and ally with the queer, the liberal, the alternative.

        That’s probably the only way to undo the bullshit sex negative stuff we’ve been saddled with.

        Don’t claim to know what all and everyone involved in repro rights thinks. You don’t know.

        • “You want Men’s Reproductive Rights? You’ll need to work with and ally with the queer, the liberal, the alternative.”

          This, I think, is the heart of it. A lot of the same people I see asking for male reproductive rights are also quite conservative when it comes other aspects of sex and sexual liberation. Meanwhile, a lot of the people I know who are more open-minded with regards to sex are also advocates of male reproductive rights. I think Julie’s right on the money here in saying that it’s the religious right that’s probably the biggest hurdle when it comes to male reproductive rights, because they’re the biggest hurdle when it comes to sexual rights, full stop.

          • Heather …. your another sheeple on this …. it is the left that has put money to push the AMA and the American Academy o f Urologists ….. I have some knowledge on this ….. I practice medicine

        • Im sorry but if what you said was true than why would Feminist boycott Dr. Coutinho’s Male birth control pill on the basis that they didn’t believe men wold be responsible enough to take it which if they weren’t for whatever reason; their is still the women’s contraceptive there as a safety net. Doesn’t this kinda invalidate what you just said by being self evident?

        • So stupid Julie ….. BEFORE we had sex ed in schools, free condoms, access to birth control pills for teenage girls without parents consent the national rate of abortion and birth out of wedlock (#1 predictor of female poverty!) was 230% LESS!!!! GOOD JOB FEMINISM!!! You really did a good one here!!!

    • So much for the “War on women!”

  33. Vasectomy and abortion are not comparable. They are not even apple to orange; they are like apple to a potassium cyanide capsule. Abortion does not involve only a woman’s body, it also involves a baby’s body inside; vasectomy does not involve any other human body than the man who is opting for it. Vasectomy does not involve crushing a skull, tearing of limbs and such other gory details. Come on those of you who are brain washed by feminism – it’s not that you actually do not understand the difference; you just choose to show as if you do not. I heard hypocrisy has a limit – seems that’s not true the more I am exposed to feminism.

    • “gory” abortions are largely a figment of your imagination. The vast majority of abortions occur early in pregnancy and are not gory at all. The leftovers look a lot like period blood. The late-term abortions you imagine are only permitted when the pregnancy is doomed or the woman’s life is in danger. These are the medically necessary ones, and sometimes medical necessity is messy. Try to get your facts right before you head to the voting booth, okay?

  34. *IF* married ….both male and female should be required consent from their spouse before tube tying, abortion or vasectomy. They should have dull disclosure and rights to their partners decision about their family growth or not.

  35. Rejum and I are in the same boat. I’ve known pretty much my entire life that I do not want to have children and I make that clear with any potential partner that I am NOT going to change my mind on the subject. I hate the fact that I cannot get my tubes tied because I have not had a child. I almost don’t want to marry because I don’t want to have the fight with my husband about having an abortion if he ever gets me pregnant. But because he would be able to get snipped without having any kids, that might be my only option, other than staying single. It really isn’t fair that a doctor won’t tie a woman’s tube until she has already distroyed her body and had an unwanted pregnacy. People should not feel forced to conceive. Its not like the species is about to die out.

  36. Prior to my Vasectomy My then Wife had an abortion, when I protested I was informed I had no say in the matter, it was not my body, and to either support or get out the way because she was getting it done regardless. I checked with a Lawyer and sure enough I had no say. Now when I got my Vasectomy I was told by numerous Doc. that I would need my Wifes Consent before hand. *Shrug* it is what it is. Also they tend to not give them unless the Man has had at least 1 child.

  37. Now with, Abortion, vasectomies, tubal litigation, and any other similar procedure should be balanced with two major ideas: The right of patient (and only the patients) consent vs. the medical risks of doing the procedure. Anything else should not be factored in by the doctor.

    • I think when dealing with abortions (with married couples) the rights of the Father should be taken into account. I can not explain what having my childed killed by the woman I loved did to me.

  38. Here in Texas a friend of my sisters has 3 more children than she needed or wanted because her husband REFUSES to consent for her tubal ligation!

    The sterilization consent issue cuts both ways!

  39. wellokaythen says:

    I’m no lawyer, but I suppose that because a vasectomy is generally an elective surgery, private physicians or their clinics have the right to set some rules before they perform the procedure. HOWEVER, there are still all sorts of patient confidentiality governed by all sorts of state and federal laws. The doctor can’t call your wife about ANY procedure without your prior consent; to do that is a huge violation of confidentiality.

    No doctor is professionally obligated to heal a marriage or keep a couple together or keep marital communication open. The primary loyalty is to the patient. Married male patients with STI’s are generally not required to inform their wives that they’re infected, so why would husbands be required to get consent for something that won’t hurt their wives?

    Besides all the moral and ethical problems, what about the fact that he could technically be married but legally separated? Maybe he hasn’t talked to his wife in a year. What if it was NOT elective surgery but necessary surgery that is going to hurt his sperm production — would he need his wife’s permission to treat testicular cancer?

    By the same argument, he will need full documented spousal permission to buy briefs at the store instead of boxers. And forget buying a racing bicycle seat if your wife does not sign the waiver.

  40. That is plain preposterous. You don’t need the males consent when getting an abortion. So why need one when getting a vasectomy? If dude wants to get snipped, let him be.

  41. I ran into a similar circumstance at my place of employment. My spouse has far superior insurance than my company can offer so I naturally declined mine as it would take my entire paycheck to cover my family, and a very large portion of it to cover just me. I was not allowed to opt out of the coverage with out my spouses signature. I assumed that it is in the best interest of those providing the service to make sure everyone impacted is in the know about what is going on.

  42. Laissez Fairie says:

    Just an aside for single men seeking vasectomies so they don’t have to worry about kids (or married men wanting to cheat without consequences): VASECTOMIES DO NOT PREVENT HIV! Snipped or not, keep your tool in it’s protective cover. Straight men are at high risk of HIV, because the don’t think they ARE at risk, and behave foolishly.

  43. Mervyn Kaufman says:

    From my experience and knowledge, both husband and wife usually concur in the decision to try to have children (yes, I know, some women have been known to trick their spouses into parenthood, but I think that happens only rarely). Thus it would seem logical that a wife should participate in the decision-making process involving vasectomy. Frankly, I can’t imagine any man secretly going off to be cut in that manner. Wouldn’t such action be considered a violation of marital trust? Frankly, if a male friend of colleague were to tell me he planned to have a vasectomy without his wife’s knowledge, I’d say to myself, “I’ll bet that bugger’s got a mistress!”

    • You don’t need the males consent when getting an abortion. So why should they need the females consent to have a vasectomy? They don’t get to tell us what to do with our uterus … So leave the vas deferens to the ones who actually have one.

    • Miss Understood says:

      I had this happen to me…yesterday I received a letter in the mail addressed to my husband, from a urology clinic instructing him to fill out the paperwork and return by mail before his appointment. He was at work, and being clueless, I was TERRIFIED, because as a child he had Scarlet Fever, and that did permanent damage to his kidneys…It didn’t help matters any, to see that on the appt. card in black ink, highlighted with neon yellow were the words, “Wife will need to attend this appt. with you—” Well, I went crazy in my mind for the next 3 hours….is it serious? Is it something life-threatening….they need me there–is it CANCER!?!? I was beyond edgy I was insane with worry! I love this man SO VERY much, and we had been having some problems but I was praying God would work out whatever this was, and restore my marriage…he came home and I was quiet about it at first, then my worry overcome me, and I blurted out, “why do you have to go to the doctor?!” He simply gave me a smirk and said, “because I want to get snipped!” (he even included a little scissor motion with his hand) I BURST into tears!!! I felt so helpless, so betrayed! He was angry with me and said he’d intended on not even telling me but they refused to do the procedure unless I consented…I refused consent, and today I even called the clinic myself and told them such and to cancel the appt. They stated that, partly, that is why the spouse must be present, so they may be notified of the procedure and/or any risks involved……I know alot of men out there are cursing me right now, but I didn’t do it to affect his freedom in any way…..I did it because I DID feel betrayed, and it seems to me that if he wants to be secretive, then maybe there IS a secretive reason he wants it done? It’s hard to explain and I pray you never have to go through this…..so you see? there really are 2 sides to all arguments…when you enter into a marriage, sometimes there are just some UNSPOKEN bonds or rules that if you have ANY morals you will abide by……if you want to be free, then you shouldn’t expect to be married either! I am praying daily for God to help us, but with this type of behavior it seems so hard to understand why I even care, but I do….love is patient, and all-enduring if it is true love

      • Miss Understood says:

        And BTW, it really DOES happen….like I said, this was my husband’s appt., but when I called and said I was unaware of the procedure and I didn’t consent, they gladly cancelled it for ME; my husband wasn’t here to consent to the cancellation……I think they are just trying to save any trouble that MAY arise, in case of complications during procedure, etc…….I mean, if something went wrong, who would they call? The unsuspecting wife who has all knowledge of the husband and his medical history, insurance, etc….I would NEVER do anything so final without discussing it with him first because we ARE married…….if we were single it would be different….but we are NOT! Until he divorces me and our separation would be FINAL, then he is still in this marriage WITH me!

        • A Man's perspective says:

          SO Miss Misunderstood, am I to understand that if wished to have tubal ligation performed or decide to have an abortion that you would ask your husband for his consent first?

        • I am sure he will have his Vasectomy in the near future as you will be divorced in short order. You are nothing but a controlling , overbearing, NUTCASE!

        • You’re an absolutely selfish and disgusting monster. If you felt betrayed then you should divorce him, and let him be free to make his decisions. He is a functioning, human being with hopes and desires. If your desire is to be knocked up then find another man.

        • I honestly would have served you divorce papers right then and there.

          • You are sick, all of you taking out your anger on this woman are. I think both men and women do not need anyone’s permission to do what they want to their own bodies, but this woman is married. If you have no trust for your husband or wife, you should not be married. Hiding a vasectomy, hysterectomy, or an abortion are all dealbreakers in a marriage. I could care less if people do any of them, but hiding it? That is just BS both ways. What is the point of being married if you are going to hide such huge things? And I 100% believe that for both husbands and wives. If you don’t, then I pity you and your spouse.

  44. So much of this `debate’ could be eliminated if the vituperative, adversarial atmosphere assumed to pervade husband-wife relationships were abandoned. How about just a simple: “Honey, what do you think about me being `snipped’ ” being asked over dinner and coffee.

    Why in heavens name let the lawyers into this ? All they ever do is quack loud, long and take home big fees. Stop already debating and talk, morons.

    • Catullus says:

      Lawyers could be cut out of the picture. Simply indemnify doctors for any effects a decision to vasectmoize may have on any relationship in the patient’s life.

  45. As an ardent feminist this type of practice is completely ludicrous. Was I aware of it until now? No. Does that mean I support any sort of double standard? Absolutely not. For @AntZ and @Daddy Files to suggest ANY feminist does is just as ludicrous. You clearly don’t even know any feminists or you wouldn’t make such a statement.

    To be fair, women often have to effectively get *government* permission to get an abortion, eg) waiting periods, counselling, listening to lies about fetal development, intra–vaginal ultrasounds, etc. So to suggest that clinics are imposing stupid policies on men only is unfair. With respect to tubal ligations/hysterectomies, I know many women who cannot find a doctor to do it, even WITH a partner’s support. Is the fact that you aren’t up in arms about that an indication that you don’t care? No. It doesn’t affect you the same way it affects me so you aren’t aware. Same reason why feminist don’t always deal with issues such as vasectomies.

    Ultimately, you can show your displeasure with a clinic and walk away if they refuse.

    • Not Guilty: Woah there, calm down.

      I wasn’t knocking feminism or feminists with my comment. I was expressing my displeasure with a readily apparent double standard. I never said feminists put the double standard in place, I’m simply pointing out its existence and my disdain for it.

      I didn’t know men couldn’t get vasectomies without their the consent of their wives, and I didn’t know women had difficulty getting tubal ligations without the consent of their husband. And I’m equally disturbed about both. Don’t go off falsely characterizing my positions and my beliefs when you don’t know the first thing about me.

    • Not Guilty,

      I’m glad you cleared this up. Your prior comments at the top seem to indicate that you do, indeed, support transferring reproductive rights over men’s bodies to their wives. After reading these later comments, I can see you intended sarcasm, but at first I was greatly offended.

  46. Ridiculous! Also, although it may not make sense to compare abortion to vasectomy, it does have a female equivalent in the form of tubal ligation (one may argue that sometimes tubal ligation can be reversed or fail, the same point can be made for vasectomy), and neither form of contraception should be up for discussion between the doctor and any individual other than the client. Though it would be considerate for the man to consult his partner on the issue before the procedure, he should be the one who gets to decide. His body, his choice.

  47. When I had my vasectomy, I gladly discussed it with my then wife. She was at the first visit but not on subsequent ones. Being almost 7 years ago I can’t recall that she needed to sign any consent to proceed. And yes, there may very well be a double standard here.

    While I don’t think that consent should be mandated I do agree that the spouse should be ‘informed’ of the decision, any inconsistencies will certainly surface at that point.

    • Catullus says:

      When I had my vasectomy, I gladly informed my then-girlfriend of a decision I and I alone made. I was 43 and only wanted one child—-’nuff said. Just as it would have been ’nuff said if she’d said, “I don’t want to have a child with you” and acted on it.

  48. Liz Benedict says:

    last time I looked, a vasectomy was permanent and an abortion was a single event that did not interrupt a woman’s ability to get pregnant again. To kvetch that there is a double standard is simply wrong on its face: the two procedures are completely different – there can’t be a double standard because we’re not comparing the same things.

    • While I am pro-choice Liz, I think you missed the point with a very, very weak and arbitrary distinction. Let’s be plain, do you support taking away a man’s reproductive rights and transferring them to his wife?

      Yes or no.

      If yes, how exactly is that not a double standard?

      • A Man's perspective says:

        Liz, the argument also applies to tubal ligation…and that is considered permanent as well for a woman…..

        • Yes, and a woman cannot get a tubal ligation with out first having been forced to perform as an incubator, breeding more spawn to oil the machine.

          • I know women who have had such procedures performed. Perhaps the physicians in your area are the problem. Is it an uber-conservative area? I know of no law in the U.S. that requires a woman to give birth before having her tubes tied. Show me the statute please.

            • There’s no law to require wife’s consent for vasectomy either…and yet it seems a lot of doctors are asking for it and if they don’t get it, refuse to perform the procedure.

          • They don’t need a man’s permission. That’s the difference.

  49. Yes, that’s definitely a double standard. A woman is allowed to receive an abortion without her husband’s consent. Why shouldn’t a man receive a vasectomy without his wife’s consent? Granted, both parties should talk in detail about either cases, but ultimately the one who owns the body should have the control. I didn’t even know this. How disturbing. I’m going to assume a woman has to receive permission from her husband to get her tubes tied—and yet she can get an abortion without consent. Something just doesn’t make sense.

  50. Double standard is the name of the game in the modern feminized world. It is no longer worthwhile to point them out, they occur every second of every day.

  51. A friend of mine wanted a hysterectomy after years and years of horrendous pain related to a variety of medical conditions. Every doctor she saw agreed it was the best course of action, but none of them would perform the hysterectomy because she was 29 and unmarried. More than one doctor told her it would be a different scenario if she was married and her husband also didn’t want kids. She visited 6 doctors before finding one that would perform the surgery.

    • Beth, was she able to get this resolved? I’ve known unmarried women without children who’ve had a hysterectomy for various medical reasons. Was this a particularly conservative area she lived in?

  52. If a woman can murder a child through abortion without consenting, I don’t think they have any place telling a man what he can do with his.

    • If men (in government) can tell women taking control of her reproduction is wrong, then why can’t women have a say in men’s reproduction? See how the double standard ACTUALLY works?

      • Laissez Fairie says:

        Thanks for your insight, Not Guilty! I can see it now: Extremist Republicans realize that if they’re going to hold control over what, when, where, why, and with whom one can have a baby, they need a Constitutional Amendment to ban vasectomies.

        Now do you all understand, guys, why it matters to men what Repugnicans are trying right now to do with women’s reproductive rights. You may one day need, not your wife’s approval for a vasectomy, but instead approval by a court!

        • nice try… you’re not gonna use our issue to further your goals. your arguement makes no sence… one issue is to end a beginning life, the other to prevent that life from starting. big difference. the abortion issue wouldn’t be an issue if more women took more responsibility with their reproductivity or lack there of. if raped…get treated…if “opps” …should have been on the pill or other product… if big mouth controlling parents and/or male partner…stand up for your self/body. it really VERY simple

      • Only if women must notify the prospective father the she is obtaining an abortion should men required to inform their wife of vasectomy. Female sterilization also exists and in such cases women should be required to inform their husband.

        So I agree with notification but only if women must do so….currently they do not.

        • Yes, because currently a woman cannot even discuss female sterilization unless she’s fullfilled her role as a brood sow at least once.

          I never want children, so doctors tell me no every where I go.

          Some double standard, at least you don’t need to destroy your body with a parasite before a doctor will let you make a decision like an adult.

      • Not Guilty, how about we make the stunning leap that NO ONE should have to hand over the control of their body to anyone else, regardless of gender. Many men AND women (both Republicans and Democrats) who pass laws restricting reproductive rights are one thing and a separate issue that will require more lawsuits and activist work to fix.

        Handing control of men’s bodies over to their wives is hardly the same thing and will not correct those injustices. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think that women are required to get their husband’s permission for any kind of medical procedure in the U.S.

        • You’re wrong, women have been told to wait for their husbands to arrive before they even purchase a car. Simply not having a husband, or children, can prevent a single woman from making choices about her reproductive system, like if she wants to have her tubes tied, or a hysterectomy.

          Doctors basically say in so many words that women MUST breed and get married because they can even consider the surgery.

          • Rejum,

            That is interesting and likely based on OLD policies. Nor does it make me wrong as I know several women who’ve had hysterectomies, tubes tied, etc. while unmarried. Show me the law (cite the actual statute that requires a woman to be married or have a man’s consent to have a hysterectomy).

            Again, I say: “Handing control of men’s bodies over to their wives is hardly the same thing and will not correct those injustices. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think that women are required to get their husband’s permission for any kind of medical procedure in the U.S.”

            • But did those women have children? or no? If they did, then that’s why they were allowed to. if hey did not have children then I am very happy for those women that they were able to find an understanding doctor, lord knows i’m still searching.

    • MrsPackman says:

      @Redge: What’s up woman hater? The article wasn’t about woman needing permission for abortions(murders). It was trying to answer the question on whether or not men need permission for sterilizaition. Are your English comprehension skills so lacking that you didn’t understand this? Or are you just a jerk?

      • Lolabunny says:

        Answer: Just a jerk. GMP is filled with the jerkiest dudes who will try to demean and deny women’s issues and battles and try to twist and vilify women’s opinions and experiences.

  53. Wow. I’m shocked at this. And pretty disturbed as well. Do I think it’s a good idea for men to discuss this with their wives? Absolutely. But a doctor refusing to perform a procedure until a woman signs off on it? That’s screwed up.

    I guess “My body, my choice” only applies to the female body.

    • Actually, men have more rights in terms of vasectomy, because as it stands a doctor will not sterilize a woman if she’s not had children. That’s a bit worse than needing a spouse to sign a paper.

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