Elective sterilisation

This is the advice to men seeking a vasectomy on the NHS. It contains the advice,

If you have a partner, discuss it with them before deciding to have a vasectomy. If possible, you should both agree to the procedure, but it is not a legal requirement to get your partner’s permission.”

And also this,

Your GP does have the right to refuse to carry out the procedure or refuse to refer you for the procedure if they do not believe that it is in your best interests. If this is the case, you may have to pay to have a vasectomy privately.”

This is the advice to women seeking sterilisation on the NHS. It contains no advice to seek the agreement of the woman’s partner. Nor is there any mention that a GP may refuse to refer a woman for sterilisation.

The point being made is the contrast between the two. No one would dare suggest that any other person – and certainly not a man – should have any say in a woman’s decisions about her own body – nor that a doctor should be able to stand in the way of her decision. But this absolute autonomy is not extended to men.

And, as you will be aware, the NHS advice regarding abortion contains no mention at all of the existence of the father of the foetus in question. No consultation is advised, even as a courtesy.

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