This story of a woman who was sterilized against her will is absolutely heartbreaking. It bears the typical issues with the medical field: Tessa Savicki has had 9 children, she asked to get an implant device that could be removed if she changed her mind, doctors “can’t find” any record of her operation–but then they *can* and the release form patients undergoing sterilization are required to sign is not there.
But the saddest part of it all is that this story also has all the earmarks of becoming a question of “did this woman deserve it or not” argument (rather than a what criminal charges will be brought up against the doctors who committed this heinous act) as influenced by the knowledge that the woman in question is not a ‘steller’ woman. That is: she’s no Suzy Homemaker.
From the article:
In 2001, the newspaper reports, Savicki reached an out-of-court settlement with CVS pharmacy and a spermacide company after she claimed she was sold an expired spermacide.
The Herald reports Savicki’s nine children have several fathers. She reportedly is unemployed and relies on public assistance for two of the four children who live with her.
She receives supplemental security income for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, she tells the paper. Her mother has custody of three of her children, according to the Herald. Two of her children are grown.
I’m not really sure why any of these details are necessary to the story–A doctor performed a surgery on a human being that she gave no consent to perform. That is an act of violence. A direct challenge to the idea of human rights and autonomy.
Unfortunately, Savicki’s illegal surgery is not unusual. Women of color, disabled women, addicted women, sex workers, indigenous women, trans women, “illegal” women and so many others are all groups of women whose basic bodily integrity is only rarely respected.
My question: why is this doctor, and all the doctors that committed these crimes against women, not in jail? What would happen if there was a history of men getting their testicles removed in the U.S.? Would we force the men to sue (rather that imprisoning the doctors)? Would we debate whether or not the men deserved to get their testicles removed?
Would we argue that it may not have been “right” to do remove the man’s testicles, but in the end, he deserved it and it did our country a favor?