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Is It O.K. to Press Your Spouse to Have a Vasectomy Before You Ditch Him?

From the New York Times. Letter here. This is a letter to an advice column that shows the ethos of the modern woman. Unbelievable, especially since the woman works for a reproductive rights agency. Excerpt:

'Some time ago, a friend told me that she was planning to leave her husband but was waiting for him to get a vasectomy. She said she knew she’d have to hold his hand through it to make sure it happened. Once the procedure was done, she planned to break the news that she was going to end the marriage.

I was dumbfounded and told her that I was concerned that she had chosen to pressure her husband to have a vasectomy before letting him know that she was ending the marriage. She said that she had been warning him for years that she was planning to leave and so it shouldn’t be a surprise. Furthermore, she felt that he could barely manage to parent the children they had and that she didn’t want him to be distracted by more kids.
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Your friend treated her spouse in an appallingly manipulative way. She believed that he wouldn’t have made the decision to have a vasectomy if he’d known she was ending the marriage for good, and she withheld this information in order to get him to do what she thought was best. That’s a case study in disrespect: People have the right to make the central decisions in their own life in the light of their best understanding of the situation, and she denied him his best understanding. That she judged he was a lousy father and thus shouldn’t have more children did not give her the right to manipulate him in this way any more than it would have given her the right to make him infertile by sneaking something into his food. (There are intricate and costly procedures for reversing vasectomies, but they’re not guaranteed to work.)

What you really want to know, of course, is whether this behavior shows her to be unfit to occupy her position at a reproductive rights nonprofit or to take up a career as a counselor. I presume this woman discussed these matters with you on the assumption that your relationship meant that you would treat the information as private. So to disclose to others what she told you would be to betray the relationship and ignore her understanding of what it entailed. Besides, there’s a person better placed to make such a complaint than you, namely, the husband she’s divorcing.'

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