Category Archives: Medicine
This isn’t exactly a childfree topic, but I think it’s worthy of addressing here because it reiterates why antinatalism is the way, the truth, and the light.
A pair of Belgian twins born deaf recently started going blind. As they started to go blind, they requested euthanasia (euthanasia is legal in Belgium). After a legal battle, the courts ruled that they were suffering unbearably and granted their right to die, and they died via lethal injection, together. Here’s a link to the story: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2262630/Brother-deaf-Belgian-twins-killed-euthanasia-describes-final-words-reveals-live-learning-going-blind.html
First of all, on top of being an antinatalist, I’m a firm supporter of one’s right to die. I believe the right for (born) people to live also includes their right to die without any interference from the state. I support these brothers’ decision and would have definitely made the same decision myself if I were in their shoes. That said, I think euthanasia/assisted suicide should be legal whenever and for whatever reason a patient deems fit, and that includes just being tired of life. Voluntary euthanasia should be a protected right, for any reason. Period, end of story. There’s just no way to effectively argue against that.
That said, I said this story reinforces why I’m an antinatalist and I’ll tell you right now why. Had these brothers never been born, they’d have never had to suffer these devastating effects. They’d have been spared a lifetime of pain and suffering had they never been brought into existence. Their lives were not only not worth starting (nobody’s life is worth starting, though), they apparently also were not worth continuing. When there’s a risk of life that’s not worth continuing, why bring someone into existence whose life might possibly not be worth continuing? Once again, we see why procreation is immoral.
I’m just glad there are some forward-thinking countries in this world, and I hope the right to die will soon be advanced everywhere. Good job, Belgium.
Concerning abortion, for ages the anti-choice community has (incorrectly, I might add) labeled pro-choicers as “pro-death,” I guess as a direct antonym to the term “pro-life” which they erroneously refer to themselves as. I personally don’t know any pro-choice individual who could be described as such, though as my understanding of the world and life itself has evolved, I suppose it is an accurate description of how my views on abortion have shifted over the years.
The pro-death view of abortion is merely a natural extension of the antinatalist view. Since coming into existence is the worst possible thing that could happen to an individual, it naturally follows that a pro-death view of abortion is the most logically consistent. Of course, the best possible thing is to prevent pregnancy at all costs so so that abortion doesn’t have to take place, but that’s the ideal world and we don’t live in the ideal world.
Now, some will argue that one has already come into existence at the moment of conception. Biologically speaking, I think, they are correct. I have never denied that biologically speaking a new life begins at conception. That said, I (and Benatar, I should add) reject the moral significance of a zygote and even an early-term fetus for the same reason I reject the moral significance of a plant’s life, namely that it is non-sentient. Sentience is a prerequisite to regard a life form as morally significant.
So now that we’ve established the moral insignificance of an embryo, we can hence build the case for a pro-death position on abortion. Since it is better never to have been brought into existence, and given that no life is worth starting, it naturally follows that aborting all pregnancies is the mode of least harm. The mother suffers some harm during the procedure in the case of pain and recovery, but these are much less than the harm she will suffer during labor and the nearly two decades following raising that child. Further, since coming into existence is the greatest harm of all, aborting an early-term pregnancy prevents the fetus from coming into existence in a morally significant way, thus sparing them the suffering that would await them in an earthly life.
Though Benatar doesn’t address late-term abortion in his excellent book, I will do so here briefly. Late in gestation a fetus attains sentience and thus a morally significant existence. At this point, I think for the most part abortion is indefensible even though I think abortion should be legal for the duration of pregnancy. I have multiple reasons for this line of thinking. In many cases, the family dynamic changes (loss of job, father walks out, etc.) that would put undue hardship on the raising of the child. There are also some deformities that don’t become apparent until the later stages of prenatal development, most of which would make life unbearably difficult. There is also the case where the mother’s life is in jeopardy, which I don’t think needs to be addressed. All that said, I still regard late-term abortion as a much lesser harm than a worldly existence, so that even though late-term abortion is reprehensible in my mind (in most cases, with the above notable exceptions) it is still a lesser evil than being born.
Thus is the case for the pro-death view of abortion, based on the antinatalist position of being brought into existence. Since being brought into existence in the morally significant way is the greatest harm of all, it can easily be concluded that the best possible thing would be to terminate all pregnancies in the early stages, but also that late-term abortion is a lesser harm than being born.
First of all, I’d like to say congratulations to United States president Barack Obama on winning re-election in a rather handy fashion. Talk about a relief for CF people in the US! Let me tell you what, ol’ Mittens would have been a devastating blow for women’s reproductive health not only in the US, but here and everywhere else in the world too (cutting funding for Planned Parenthood, which he said he’d do, as well as cutting funding for abortions and contraceptives/sterilization in developing countries, among other assaults on reproductive choice).
While we’re on the topic of reproductive choice, most notably abortion, I happened across a rather unusual circumstance yesterday. I did a post on my general blog about all the reasons I’m pro-choice and one of the commenters was adamantly anti-choice. Well, not to be surprising there, as there is still a certain percentage of people who live in prehistory and don’t want to live in the present. Said person pulled out the old tactics about god/gods (which I don’t believe exist, so that one doesn’t work with me) and of course went on a picture tirade of aborted fetuses (sorry, I don’t make decisions based on emotions, so that tactic doesn’t faze me either.
So I got to talking to someone who I knew was childfree about how crazy anti-choicers are, only for her to reveal to me that she was anti-choice herself. Needless to say I was completely bewildered when she said that.
I don’t understand how anyone can be childfree and yet anti-choice. The two terms are like contradictory to one another! On one hand, you want to have the freedom to choose not to reproduce, but on the other hand you’re denying people that same freedom? And you mean to tell me you’d rather be a parent against your will than go through with an abortion? Whatever the case, it made absolutely no sense in my mind whatsoever.
I am definitely not impressed, to say the least. I can only think of one thing and that this person is, deep down, a wannabreeder posing as a childfree person in the name of trying to make childfree people look stupid, or she’s a “shill” in other words. I wouldn’t be surprised if there exist people like that out there.
It’s simple really: to be childfree is to be pro-reproductive freedom, and to be pro-reproductive freedom is to be pro-choice. That’s all there is to it.
I figured I’d respond to some common questions I get about my vasectomy experience. So here we go.
Q: How hard was it for you to find a doctor to agree to give you a vasectomy?
A: Not at all. Yeah, I was turned down at a couple of places, but that’s OK! There are plenty of doctors out there who are willing to sterilize a childfree man (same can’t be said for childfree women, unfortunately), so don’t ever think you’re out of luck. If worst comes to worst, contact your local Planned Parenthood (if you’re in the US) who will usually be able to refer you to someone. If you want a vasectomy, you can get it, regardless of your age or parental status.
If worst comes to worst, lie to your doctor. I know one guy who eventually told one doctor he had three kids by three different women (he was without children) just to get the procedure done. They can’t play detective or investigate this claim (as such would be a violation of privacy), so keep that trick in your bag. You may need to call on it.
Q: Were you nervous before the surgery?
A: Not really. I’d had surgery before so I wasn’t that nervous. I was also too drugged up to really give a damn honestly! Yes, I was aware of my surroundings and conscious, but I didn’t give a damn. I was calm and collected through the entire thing.
Q: Does it hurt?
A: Well, I won’t say it hurts. Some parts are a bit uncomfortable (you can feel them tugging on your plumbing) but it doesn’t hurt. The most painful part of the whole thing was the anesthetic, and that wasn’t even that bad either. Of course, my doctor did the advanced no-needle/no-scalpel procedure, so the anesthetic was delivered via jet injection, which is about as painful as a rubber band pop. Other than that, there was no real pain.
Q: What about post-op?
A: The post-op is a bit painful, but nothing unbearable. They tell you to wait a week to resume your normal activities, but I didn’t. I felt well enough the next day to resume my regular exercise regimen. Yes, you’re going to be sore, but for the most part the pain is bearable and manageable with OTC pain relievers.
Q: How much did it cost?
A: It would have been about $1,000 had I paid out-of-pocket. My insurance at the time covered it, so I had a $200 co-pay from what I remember. Most insurances cover it these days. It’s actually quite economical.
Q: Did you notice any change in your sex drive?
A: Yes, I did. My sex drive improved! After I was officially declared sterile and no longer had any fear of accidentally getting a girl pregnant, my sex drive kicked into overdrive! Since I could now enjoy worry-free sex, I wasn’t afraid to engage in it. Before vasectomy, I was afraid to have sex for fear of getting a girl pregnant (which, in turn, killed any sex drive I had). Now I have sex all the time. I’d say that’s an improvement.
Q: How long did you have to wait before you were declared sterile?
A: I had to give two “empty” semen samples before I was officially declared sterile. That said, they normally tell you to wait three months. This is pretty standard practice now.
Q: You’ve mentioned you still wear a condom when engaging in sex. If you’re sterile, why is this?
A: That’s an easy one. While vasectomy is the single most effective method of contraception, it does nothing to prevent the transmission of STDs. Condoms do. That’s why I wrap it up.
Q: What if you change your mind?
A: I’ve considered myself childfree since I was a little kid. I don’t recall any time in my life that I’ve wanted to be a parent. As I’ve felt the same way ever since I can remember, the odds of me changing my mind are zero. That said, just to play along, I will say this: I feel that I would be better suited to adopting an older child. I couldn’t handle a baby and I definitely don’t need to be contributing to the overpopulation problem.
As a long-time member of the intactivist/genital integrity movement, I feel though it’s not directly related to childfreedom, it’s time I take a public stand in favor of GI on this blog. Love me or hate me, I don’t give a damn.
People have absolutely no right to surgically alter their children’s genitals against their will without medical purpose, and this goes for male, female, or intersexed children as far as I’m concerned. Every person has the right to completely intact genitals. Male and female circumcision, intersex sexual assignment, etc. is all fucking bullshit without merit in today’s world, quite frankly, and it sickens me that the practices still continue and it sickens me even more that doctors keep making up bogus “health benefits” to ALL of these procedures (male genital mutilation being the most common defended, though sometimes female is as well).
Here in Mexico, circumcision is almost unheard of, in either sex (mostly affecting the small Jewish and Muslim population here, as well as American expats). Most of the developed world is also like this, most developed countries having abandoned the practice years ago. Quite frankly the United Shithole of America is the only country in the developed world that still butchers a majority of baby boys at birth. Other countries who routinely practice both male and female circumcision tend to be third world countries with tribal rituals that call for these “procedures” (if you could even call them that) as sort of an initiation to adulthood. Barbaric? Oh absolutely, and I won’t defend any cultural practice that is disgusting.
It’s not just the fact that it’s medically unnecessary that’s bothersome. Quite frankly as the child grows into an adult, his or her sexual experience is lessened. I don’t feel I need to address FGM here because that’s pretty obvious, so let’s address MGM. Medicalized circumcision as we know it removes the foreskin, which is the single MOST SENSITIVE part of the male sex organ, containing a band of over 20,000 nerve endings and a highly sensitive frenulum attaching it to to the rest of the penis. As such, intact men are about FOUR TIMES more sensitive than cut men. That translates to a lot of pleasure and sensation lost during sexual acts. I can attest to the difference myself. I spent close to three years using different devices and methods to sort of “regrow” a foreskin so to speak, in a process called non-surgical foreskin restoration. You can read more about the process here. Of course, the new skin doesn’t have all those sensitive nerve endings, but the good news is you get that gliding action back and the glans (head) stays covered, making it shiny, supple, and more sensitive in its own right. Post-restoration, I have about triple the amount of sensitivity that I did before.
I don’t want to hear your excuses or defenses for the practice. I’ve heard them all. Want to prevent HIV? Abstain from sex or wear a damn condom, it’s pretty much foolproof. Want to prevent UTI? Then quit pulling that baby’s foreskin back forcefully (it’s not designed to retract in the infant/child stage!!!!), and once it does retract on its own, clean under it regularly. Want to prevent penile cancer? Again, hygiene and don’t smoke (smoking is actually the number one risk factor for penile cancer, and yes, it can and does happen in butchered men as well). Don’t give me the religion defense either. What if your child decides not to follow your religion? You have absolutely no right to slam religion down your child’s throat. Period, end of story.
Quite frankly I think anyone who would cut the genitals of their child needs to be fined heavily and either face life in prison or a death sentence, along with the doctor, mohel, or whoever doing the procedure. It’s akin to surgical rape of a minor. And it’s legal. It makes my stomach turn. Alas, the practice continues mainly in the United Shithole of America, and for one goddamn specific reason: MONEY. It’s big business. Just goes to demonstrate that most American doctors, Big Pharma, and all of their cronies are more concerned about making money than patient health. Absolutely disgusting.
So there. If I lose readers, so be fucking it, but this is where I stand, and if you don’t like it, then that’s just too fucking bad.
It’s quite obvious in today’s world that we’re lacking readily available contraceptives for men. Unless you’re talking vasectomy (permanent and only sometimes reversible), spermicide (which is highly ineffective), or the pull-out method (which is a total joke), men are pretty much devoid of all the contraception options that women are offered. Well, perhaps not anymore. Enter Reversible Inhibition of Sperm Under Guidance (RISUG).
You can read more about RISUG here, but in short it goes like this: injections are introduced into both vasa deferentia that partially block them and sort of deactivate the sperm as they pass through. Unlike a vasectomy where you “shoot blanks” so to speak, you still ejaculate sperm, but the sperm are all dead. Effectiveness is comparable to that of vasectomy, and lasts about 10 years, but it’s readily and easily reversible by a follow-up injection to flush the silicone or whatever it is out of the vasa deferentia. It also takes effect quicker than vasectomy (which can take up to three months), usually in about 72 hours. I kind of think of it as a “male IUD” if you will.
So why hasn’t anyone heard of it until now? Why is it just now getting media attention? Well, you know, that completely and totally beats me. With so many doctors refusing to perform vasectomies on young men or men without children, you’d think they’d jump all over a form of birth control that’s highly effective and readily reversible. Well, two things come to mind when I think of this, and maybe I’m off my rocker but here it goes. One, this child-friendly world doesn’t want such a thing because breeding is “God’s will” or “natural” or whatever you want to say about that. Two, is that the men of the world are still extremely sexist and think that the responsibility of using contraception falls solely on women (which is completely and utterly repulsive).
That said, I don’t ever look for it to be approved for use anywhere in North America, as North American countries (and particular the United States and the crooked FDA) makes it a point of censoring and/or blocking effective treatments for ailments that will not really net them any profit. I can’t see much profit to be made on this as one, not many men would do it, and two, it’s a simple procedure not worth more than a couple hundred dollars. Oh well, that’s the name of the game with medicine, which is sad.
That said, would I get RISUG? Oh HELL yes. I’d have gotten it in my teens had it been available, which would have bought me 10 years from that point to find a doctor to do a vasectomy on me. I would even still get it now, even after a successful vasectomy. Why? In my mind you never can be too careful, and it just takes simple probability to explain. With RISUG and vasectomy having comparable success rates, each one about 99.9% (though with vasectomy this goes to 100% pretty much after the first year), and the fact that the probabilities of either one failing is completely independent of the other failing, you get a failure rate of less than 0.01%! Anything to lessen the chance of unwanted pregnancy even further is, in my mind, a plus.
So men, sound off: would you get RISUG?
I hope this addresses a lot of the questions about the no-needle, no-scalpel vasectomy procedure I had done 18 months ago. Its efficacy is just as good as any other vasectomy method, but it is less painful at the outset (about the most painful part is the administration of the anesthetic, which is about like a rubber band pop). It’s really hard to explain the procedure, so I figured I’d share this little video with you.
I don’t much follow American politics anymore since I haven’t lived there in a long time and have no intentions of ever going back, but I was talking to my friend Natasha from back in the States last night and she mentioned something absolutely horrifying to me last night. She told me that she heard that Rick Santorum supports giving the States the right to outright ban any form of contraception other than abstinence and NFP.
When she told me this I think my jaw dropped three feet. I absolutely could not believe what I was reading at first, but then when I thought about it for a second it makes sense. Rick Santorum is a staunch Roman Catholic with 7 kids and probably more to come. As is typical of Roman Catholic politicians, they want “Vatican Law” instituted in whatever country they’re campaigning in (though ironically my country is extremely socially liberal, despite being 80%+ Catholic). In that light, it’s no suprise that Santorum is extreme anti-choice, anti-gay marriage, and even thinks gay relations should be criminalized, but I digress.
I don’t even want to imagine a world where birth control is outlawed. For one, what would happen to someone like me? I had a vasectomy a year and a half ago. Does that mean he thinks I should be forced to undergo vasectomy reversal surgery? If so, that’s almost as scary as the vaginal ultrasound law some states are trying to get passed for abortion (I’ll probably blog on that later, because that’s total crap as well). Subjecting all sterile-by-choice individuals to invasive surgery against their will is both repulsive and quite frankly unconstitutional, though truth be told when did the US Constitution matter to American politicians?
Among other consequences I’d hate to see the sudden overflow of children in adoption centers and orphanages due to the lack of birth control. You want the number of unwanted children who will NEVER get adopted to increase? Take away birth control. Seriously, that’s exactly what would happen. We childfree people aren’t going to stop being childfree, no matter what the law says. I refuse to be a parent, and that’s that; period, end of story. I’m a firm believer that every child should be a wanted child. As it is, that’s already far from the case, and it’s a very sad reality. I might not want any kids of my own, but my heart breaks when I see the millions of unwanted kids in adoption centers. Every kid deserves a loving home, and I refuse to believe otherwise.
One last thing I’d like to point out is this. Banning birth control isn’t going to make it go away. Remember what happened when the decided to prohibit the sale and distribution of alcoholic beverages? Crime skyrocketed and it created a “black market” for alcohol. I’m afraid a prohibition of contraceptives (whether it’s the pill, condoms, IUDs, sterilization, or whatever) will create a black market for it. People will be smuggling these things in, and be doing back-alley vasectomies and tubals, much the same way back-alley abortions are the reality of countries that prohibit abortion. If that picture doesn’t give you nightmares, you have some serious issues.
Oh, but Santorum doesn’t really oppose contraception; oh no! So-called NFP and the “rhythm method” apparently are OK. Yeah, if you want an unplanned pregnancy, use these methods. The RCC and other NFP-supporter boneheads love to claim that NFP is like 99.5% effective, which I absolutely have to call bullshit on. What they aren’t telling you is this: NFP works on the premise that women can only get pregnant during certain times on their cycle. As anyone with any basic health education or sex education knows, this is a blatant lie. A woman can get pregnant at any time during her cycle, including during her period! You might as well be getting ready to empty out your emergency fund if you use NFP, because a baby will be on the way! Seriously, NFP is a total fucking joke, and anyone with half a brain realizes that.
I guess in the end, it comes down to personal autonomy. The government has no right to impose children on the childfree, just as religious institutions have no right to impose religion on non-consenting individuals. The above situation would be the scary reality of what would happen is all forms of contraception besides NFP were criminalized. Alas, that’s the reality of organized religion: they think their religious values should rule over everyone. Further, Rick Santorum’s stance on birth control is a prime example of the dangers that religion pose to modern, civilized society. I hope to the non-existent sky daddy that he doesn’t get elected, or else my American CF friends might be in for it, because you KNOW he’s going to abuse his powers and institute all of these things as executive orders and bypass congress entirely. *Shudder!*