Days Five and Six (and Seven, by the time this gets published) are coming. Hey, I said I’d take photos every day; I didn’t necessarily say they’d actually get posted every day, right? Day Five and Six would have been published last night, except that… my internet is down again! YAAAAAY! Download speeds are fine, peachy, in fact. Upload speeds have slowed to a dribble, and Flickr finds that unacceptable (oh, and yes, I could email them in to Flickr, but that also requires uploading a file into gmail to send it, and gmail also finds our current 0.01mbps speed unacceptable for uploading files).
The scenario itself is, of course, heart-wrenching. The summary for those who don’t want to click over is basically that from the 1920s to as late as the mid-1970s, some communities engaged in eugenics practices that we would find horrifying today– that is, sterilizing those who they believed for some reason should be prevented from reproducing in order to essentially remove them from the gene pool (North Carolina did a LOT of this, for reasons which are too numerous to engage in here, but basically relate to the fact that there was a crapload of money in this state back then– thanks, tobacco!- and the rich were quite fond of eugenics). The populations that were deemed worthy of removal from the gene pool included the poor, the racially-undesirable, epileptics, and those with mental deficiencies (to name a few). The subject of this opinion piece was sterilized at age 13, and told that she was having her appendix removed. Her mother agreed to the procedure, though they aren’t entirely sure what sort of pressureful tactics might have been used to encourage her to agree to that procedure.
Anyhow, this woman was rightfully devastated when she determined at age 21 that she had, in fact, been surgically-sterilized, and she claims that due to her inability to have children. she has “never felt whole.” And as a result, she is rightfully seeking financial compensation due to her losses.
While the story itself stands alone as a topic of interest, to me, as part of an infertile couple, I’m interested to find out what exact monetary value the state places on the ability to attain parenthood, especially in light of so much opposition to infertility coverage, with many opponents claiming infertility as simply something that affects one’s lifestyle, not worthy of actual medical treatment and coverage like other diseases. The situations are, of course, different. In one, opponents might say that the state “intervened” in the natural order of things and wrongly limited someone’s ability to reproduce (and they would, of course, be right).
But still. While there is truly no adequate financial compensation for sterilizing a person whose only crime is poverty (or epilepsy, or slight mental deficiency), I’m curious to find out what value people would be willing to assign to the loss of the ability to experience motherhood, and why that same value is not assigned to people whose infertility is caused by, say, one’s choice of partner, or naturally-occuring conditions which limit fertility.
What are your thoughts on this topic? Is there any comparison to be made? Are you curious about the value placed on the motherhood experience?