The Rules Behind Tubal Ligation

Sophia Jackson, Writer

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The United States has officially hit a historic low in fertility rates, with only sixty-two births for every thousand women. Many researchers have speculated why that is, some saying that it is entirely due to problems with the economy. Others say there is a significant decrease in teenage pregnancies, which is a positive. The widespread fear within the United States is that “millennials” have decided not to have kids at all, which could cause a national emergency. This may be a factor in the reasoning behind not allowing a woman to get tubal ligation until she is of a certain age or has a certain number of kids, depending on the state.

In the past, when the unemployment rates were higher, the fertility rates were lower and vice versa. This has been accurate for several decades and is a common topic for research. William Frey, a demographer at Brookings Institute, said, “Every year I say when the economy is getting better then we’ll start having more children and I’m still expecting that to happen.”

Other demographers say that this may be a cause for celebration. They say that the number of teenage pregnancies is lower than it has ever been. Since 1991, it has decreased by 67%. Additionally, there has been a four percent increase in fertility rates in women ages forty to forty-four years old. Dr. Elise Berlan is happy about the decline because “we know that the vast majority of teen births are unintended.”

If millennials as a majority have decided against having children at all, it could cause a national crisis. The main problem with a lower birth rate is that there will be less people going into the workforce. This causes a lack of new or innovational ideas entering the United States, which could worsen our current economic situation.

Despite all of this, there is still a lot of controversy over the restrictions on tubal ligation. U.S. News said, “A growing population is good for the economy when rising productivity continually reduces the amount of resources required to produce a given amount of output.” This may cause doctors to be hesitant in allowing the procedure, considering our current problem with population and the benefits that occur when there is a larger population in a country with a lot of exports.

Overall, the controversy lies with the women who want the procedure. Many women feel that tubal ligation is a much better alternative to abortion and is far more reliable than birth control. Also, in several forums they have made the argument that at a young age, they are more susceptible to having children with birth defects.

The women who do not struggle with these problems have had positive things to say about the restrictions. Many did not realize they wanted to have kids until they were placed in a position where they were unable to completely prevent it. In many cases, they said they would not trade their experiences with the newest additions to their family and are glad they did not get the procedure.

The United States is dealing with a diminishing number of births each year, which could be a major factor in the extensive restrictions regarding tubal ligation. Many women feel that this is unfair, especially in some of their unique situations. Some women have found that if they had been able to have the procedure, they would have regretted getting it. With regard to the decline in birth rates, Frey said, “when the economy is getting better then we’ll start having more children.” Ultimately, it all comes back to the question, should there be restrictions on tubal ligation?