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Samantha Watier lives in Rhode Island and is the volunteer Good News Editor and Gratitudes Editor for Americans of Conscience. In her free time, she likes to do craft projects, try new recipes, read novels, and watch movies and TV. She occasionally edits cool video projects.

I did something unremarkable this year.

In January, I (young, childfree, single-on-purpose) made an appointment with an ob/gyn. I explained to her that I’ve never wanted kids, have always wanted a sterilization procedure, and didn’t want to deal with periods for another 20+ years.

I asked her for a hysterectomy. She approved my request on the spot.

On April 12, my uterus and cervix were removed. My surgeon and I also decided that my fallopian tubes would be removed for cancer prevention, since I’m sterile now anyway.
Three weeks later, I feel completely back to normal, plus gloriously unburdened by reproductive capabilities I never wanted and did not ask for.

And when I say “never”, I mean it literally. I have two younger cousins who were born by the time I was six years old, and from the second I grasped that babies come out of people I was turned off by the whole affair, even without knowing any details.

When I DID learn the details of pregnancy and birth, I said “absolutely the heck not.” (Except I used a much stronger word than “heck.”) Every time my period rolled around I got angry about having to experience that mess and pain in service of a bodily system I wasn’t ever going to engage.

So I did some research to find a doctor who would understand my perspective, and the rest came down to being very, very lucky. Lucky to have robust state-sponsored health insurance, a strong support system, and to live in a part of the country where I’m able to safely exercise my bodily autonomy.

But bodily autonomy cannot come down to luck.

Every single one of us, regardless of gender, race, socio-economic status, dis/ability, or location, has the inherent right to our own reproductive choices and the inherent right to feel at home in the body we live in.

Whether you want to be as sterile as the operating room I recently visited, have as many kids as you can, or something in between, that is your right.

It is your right to build your family, or not!, in the ways that feel right to you.

It is your right to use, change, and exist in your body how you see fit.

Our social and medical systems need to support each of us fully so we can make any one of those choices in safety, ease, and empowerment.

Everyone’s exercise of their bodily autonomy should be as unremarkable as mine was.

It is unacceptable and unjust that certain factions of the government think otherwise.

If you have found your way to this message and to AoCC’s work, you probably agree. Through working with our Checklist, you are helping to facilitate change so that every individual in the U.S. is the sole decider of their reproductive, gender, and medical choices, and I’m grateful for you. Thank you for joining us.

-Samantha Watier
(she/her/hers)

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4 Comments

  1. Very good you could do that. I didn’t want kids and tried to get a tubal ligation but was refused. That was in the 80 s. Finally in 1993 I got a doc to do one. Thankfully. Choice is important for all with no questions asked

  2. Thank you for your inspiring message, Samantha! And Yes, I do agree with you that it is each person’s right to do with their own body as they desire.

  3. Sound like this was a great gift for you, a real win, and congratulations.

    Yes, we all need to stand up for everyone’s right to bodily autonomy, including our friends, neighbors, fellow Americans whose right to live, and to live free, is also being challenged.

    Solidarity forever!

  4. I’ve been percolating on this at a low level for weeks, and finally decided it was worth it to put my thoughts in writing.

    When I was a kid, I had utterly no desire to grow up. I felt the same way as the author- I didn’t ask for this. In one of those “getting ready for puberty” classes in elementary school, I realized the instigator was the pituitary gland, and I dreamt and plotted fruitlessly of having it surgically removed. Should I have been able to?
    Now my face and body shows evidence of the decades that have passed. I wish I was at peace with it, but really, I wish it were otherwise. I didn’t ask for this decay, either. Should our health care system be responsible for restoring me to the looks I want?
    To take it to the extreme, if someone finds eating tedious – I know of at least one person that really does -they didn’t ask for a digestive system that works that way! – should we grant them a surgical port in their stomach where they can pour in nutrition?

    It’s a complex question, but I’m wondering – what do we lose by adopting an attitude that we should have the right to have our bodies be exactly what we imagine, as opposed to what they are? It seems to me there’s a societal cost, and also a more subtle spiritual one.

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