At age 23, Brie Ripley is certain she does not want to have her own biological children. Really, it’s something she has known since she was a teenager. She tried virtually every method of birth control available, but found she experienced side effects and bad reactions to each. So she settled on a more permanent solution: She wanted to have her tubes tied.
Ripley approached a doctor about getting sterilized, and was rebuffed. So she asked another, and another. All told, Ripley says she contacted a dozen different health care professionals, and none would agree to perform the perfectly legal, relatively minor operation on this young adult. They cited data that shows how many young women regret sterilization, and they assured her she’d change her mind.
Now Ripley is producing a radio documentary about the science and politics that impact a young woman’s ability to make permanent decisions about her reproductive future. She spoke with Gabriel Spitzer about what has gone into her thinking about it, and why she believes there are many ways to be a mother besides carrying a baby in the womb.