No, let's not get sterilized

The period between adolescence and adulthood, in which the boy becomes the man, was once seen as the critical time in which to cultivate moral character. Good habits were encouraged to set a young man up for life, to help him understand that some things are bigger and more important than his whims and appetites. His virility propelled him toward marriage, given that commitment was the price of sex and offered tremendous purpose. After falling in love with a woman, and discerning that they were well suited, he would ask her to marry him. Should she agree, the two of them would get married, accept and raise children as part of the deal, and then (after a hopefully long and certainly meaningful life) die, as we all must.

But who needs romance or purpose when you have licentiousness? “Men: imagine walking into a doctor’s office when you are eighteen and walking out with the knowledge that an unintended pregnancy will not be in your future,” Shepherd writes. For those wishing to prolong adolescence through emasculation, perhaps that’s appealing. But for those aspiring to more, what an insult.

Slate recently published an essay about the “people who ovulate” (i.e., women) who have also decided to be sterilized in post-Roe America. Some of these women, mostly in their thirties, say they have always known they don’t want kids, and they are therefore terrified of a world without guaranteed access to abortion. As for why they want to be sterilized, one woman cited 16 reasons including “bad side effects from previous birth control” as well as “the cost of child rearing, gun violence, and item No. 10, fascism.”