Lately I’ve been pondering double standards. There seems to be no end to examples of this, but one of the most notable has been what we advocate as good for our pets, but “bad” for us.
It is largely accepted and viewed as normal behavior that we spay and neuter our pets to prevent overpopulation in all but a small subset of the population (I’m looking at you, cocky guy with your unaltered male Pit Bulls. If you are so big on appearances, do us and your dog a favor and check out these). No one looks at someone with a sense of shock when they mention that they spayed or neutered their pet. If anything you get an approving nod and a discount on your pet’s license.
Same goes with euthanizing a sick and/or old pet. “It’s best that you put them out of their misery,” people will say, “they’ve gone to a better place.” If anything, keeping an ill animal alive is looked down upon as not only a waste of money but potential cruelty.
Euthanasia is illegal in all states of the United States. Physician aid-in-dying (PAD), or assisted suicide, is legal in the states of Washington, Oregon, and Montana. I would love to see personal liberty and cultural acceptance of the ability to choose to end my life if I am terminally ill and wish to not suffer, as well as the ability to choose to not reproduce through sterilization. I am not for any sort of government mandates or ridiculous “death panels” or “reproductive panels.” I just want to have access to the same options (without shame or violating the law) that my dogs have.
But if this same pet owner were to say that they wish to be sterilized, or euthanized if they were to get terminally ill, they could become an object of derision and scorn. I know, because I’ve experienced this on both accounts. This is not to say that I am not estactic for my dear friends who are all having babies (as we are at the age where baby making is happening), as I know they are going to make amazing parents and that their children are proof of a positive future; I just have no desire to join them. I’m also finding I’m not alone in this.
In a day and age where there are no protests outside animal control offices for their policy of advocating for the sterilization of animals, it’s a source of cognitive dissonance when people get in an uproar over someone deciding not to reproduce (and avoid potential unplanned for children, reducing the chances of potential abortions). I had mentioned in my previous post how I have a background of belonging to a church that protested outside abortion clinics. Now, I don’t know of anyone who is “pro-abortion” or into recreational abortions. It’s a horrible and gut-wrenching decision for anyone to make, and not one to be made lightly. It’s because of my wish to never again be in that position that I asked after the birth of my daughter to have my tubes tied in 2002.
My doctor refused.
“You are young. You should have more children, they won’t all be like this.” (What I can only assume was referring to my experience giving birth to a child outside of marriage.)
I’ve heard this story often recently, of young men and women who are sure that they don’t wish to have (more) children that are turned away by their doctor and/or chastised by friends and family (married, in committed relationships, or not). Many of these people express a wish to adopt instead of creating their own children, or are like me have such a bad reaction to birth control and are content with the children they already have. Even some have no desire to ever have children. If someone clearly of their own free will has made this choice not to bring any more little people into the world, why is this wrong? They know their hearts and their minds better than we do, and who are we to impose our laws and morality upon someone else?
As a result of this refusal, as I’ve tried to gain control of my heavy and irregular cycles, I’ve been through the birth control gauntlet. Now, after a particularly brutal reaction from an IUD where I gained 80lbs. I was finally granted an ablation this year where my uterine lining was cauterized and no longer functional–rendering me essentially sterile. I’m still trying to get my health back, and this would not have been an issue had my original decision been honored by my doctor. I’m content and happy with my one child, my wishes never changed.
I understand the fallacies in logic of drawing likeness between out pets and ourselves, as pets don’t have a choice in the matter. I just don’t know of a better way to point out a lack of self-determination in citizens in the United States. If anything, I see both of these as being responsible especially when considering diminishing resources and how much of both birth and death is often paid for by the taxpayer.
I would love to hear if you disagree with this, and why.
If you do agree, I would love to hear your stories on this and other areas where you own personal liberty is denied, either through laws or societal mores.