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Why My Vasectomy Will Help Save the Earth's Resources

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  • Augie
    Why My Vasectomy Will Help Save the Earth s Resources By Matt Leonard, Earth Island Journal June 10, 2009
    Message 1 of 2 , Jun 10, 2009
    • 0 Attachment
      Why My Vasectomy Will Help Save the Earth's Resources
      By Matt Leonard, Earth Island Journal
      June 10, 2009

      http://www.alternet.org/sex/140543/why_my_vasectomy_will_help_save_the_earth%27s_resources/
      http://www.alternet.org/module/printversion/140543
      http://www.alternet.org/story/140543/

      Last year, I became castrated impotent sterile. That is, I had a vasectomy. While it's actually a very common procedure (nearly 500,000 are performed every year in the US), it raises eyebrows -- and a lot of questions.

      The first one is always simply: Why?

      Although this was a very personal decision for me, it was also a choice I made out of larger societal, political, and environmental motivations. I consider the environmental ones paramount. In an economic system that demands infinite growth with finite resources, not doubling my own consumption is one small stone in a big river.

      More importantly, I live in the US, and any child I had would have been raised here and would consume (despite my best efforts) far more resources than I am comfortable accepting. Living even a modest lifestyle in the US comes as a direct result of the oppression, domination, and deaths of many unseen people, not to mention the exploitation of natural resources at rates that threaten the ability of our planet to sustain life. These facts shouldn't be cause for guilt or shame; instead, they should spur us to organize to confront the systems and institutions that have created these problems. On a personal level, contributing another person to the system that I have spent my adult life fighting is just not something I'm willing to do.

      The next question is usually: But what if you change your mind?

      I view my decision as permanent. As I see it, I already made the decision years ago not to have children, based on sound, rational reasons. If I change my mind in the future, I believe that change would be fundamentally selfish, and I am comfortable committing myself to rational reasons now.

      People typically follow up with: Aren't there other forms of birth control?

      Yes, of course, and most of us here in the US are lucky to be able to choose the form that is best for our lifestyles, our preferences, and our relationships. A vasectomy fit my needs best.

      I guess there's always abstinence, but that's no fun, right? I suppose the rhythm method is an option, but almost everyone knows how (in)effective that is. Condoms are fine and dandy in many situations, but they have their downsides as well, and can seem pointless if you are in a monogamous relationship.

      All the other common birth control methods have one aspect in common: They place the onus on women. Not only does our society expect women to deal with the logistics of birth control, but these methods also have severe physiological drawbacks, from roller-coaster hormonal changes to intensifying menstruation cycles to weight and skin changes. Although these methods have come a long way in a few decades, they still burden women and their bodies. Is it any coincidence that in a male-dominated society, the medical establishment has thus far focused on birth control methods that leave the burden solely on women?

      For men, vasectomies are simple. There are almost no side effects and no long-term impacts; it's a quick, low-cost, outpatient procedure. Having decided that I want to take an active role in birth control, a vasectomy is fair, easy, and it confronts my privilege on this issue.

      What if you decide you want children in the future? people ask.

      Many of my friends whom I deeply respect have chosen to have children or will do so in the future. Some people do feel that there is something special and important about having a blood-related child. I just don't share that feeling.

      There are thousands of beautiful children all over the world who need parents, and if I ever decide that being a father is something I want in my life, I would be remiss to ignore the existing children needing support and love. For me, adoption is the best option. We need more parents in this world, not more kids.

      Finally, But don't we need the smart, progressive people to reproduce?

      I'm of the nurture-over-nature camp. I think the whole "passing on genes" obsession can sometimes border on eugenics. I'm fairly confident there is no gene that instructs your child to fight for justice, peace, and sustainability. That comes from living those values and instilling them in the communities we are a part of. That's what I want to prioritize in my life -- and I feel I can share those things more effectively without a child.

      And besides -- I've got messed-up teeth, I'm legally blind, bald, and have a history of heart disease. Let Matt Damon pass on his genes instead.

      Matt Leonard lives in San Francisco, where he works on climate justice and energy issues, rock climbs, rides his bike, and eats yummy vegan food. He currently works with Greenpeace and Rising Tide North America.

      = = =

      Comments:

      http://www.alternet.org/sex/140543/why_my_vasectomy_will_help_save_the_earth%27s_resources/#comments

      Your life, your choice.
      Posted by: Honky the Nihilist VI on Jun 10, 2009 12:23 AM
      Good for you. I tried to get a vasectomy at 22 and again at 25 but was turned down because I'm "too young".

      When are the equal rights advocates going to give men the same post conception "out" that women have? Are women inferior to men and therefore need "separate but equal" policies that deny men equal protection under the law as guaranteed by the 14th amendment to the Constitution?

      Karen Decrow, The only Feminist that was not a complete hypocrite stated:
      "If women have the right to choose if they become
      parents, men [should] have that right too. There is a
      connection between legalizing abortion for women
      and ending of paternity suits for men. Giving men their
      own choices would not deny choices to women.
      It would only eliminate their expectation
      of having those choices financed by men."

      I have seen pictures of female protesters holding signs that say "Take your laws out of my vagina and shove them up your ass". Change "Vagina" to "Wallet" and that sign expresses my sentiments.

      I hate children and will never make a concession for them even if they have 23 of my chromosomes.

      Augie
      Live Simply So That
      Others May Simply Live
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Yoga-With-Nancy/
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/SignSoFla/
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/SoFlaVegans/
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/SoFlaSchools/
    • John Mack
      Very nice! I d only take exception to one point: Is it any coincidence that in a male-dominated society, the medical establishment has thus far focused on
      Message 2 of 2 , Jun 10, 2009
      • 0 Attachment
        Very nice!

        I'd only take exception to one point:
        "Is it any coincidence that in a male-dominated society, the medical
        establishment has thus far focused on birth control methods that leave the
        burden solely on women?"

        I don't know what society he's referring to as male-dominated, but it's
        certainly not the one I live in. The medical establishment has focussed on
        methods that give the OPTION solely to women. It was pressure from feminist
        groups that saw the pill released with far less testing than many medical
        folk were happy with, hence possibly many of the early problems. Women have
        a far greater range of options for controlling their own fertility than do
        men. Abstinence is possible, but pretty much rules out any serious
        relationship; condoms are a joke; vasectomy is effectively permanent, not
        controlling one's fertility but forfeiting it. The day that men have
        anything close to the range of contraceptive options that women do, is the
        day you'll see a lot fewer pregnancies everywhere.

        Yours Uncut,
        John

        -----Original Message-----
        From: Why_VHEMT@yahoogroups.com [mailto:Why_VHEMT@yahoogroups.com]On
        Behalf Of Augie
        Sent: Wednesday, 10 June 2009 8:10 PM
        To: Why_VHEMT@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: Why VHEMT? Why My Vasectomy Will Help Save the Earth's
        Resources


        Why My Vasectomy Will Help Save the Earth's Resources
        By Matt Leonard, Earth Island Journal
        June 10, 2009

        http://www.alternet.org/sex/140543/why_my_vasectomy_will_help_save_the_earth
        %27s_resources/
        http://www.alternet.org/module/printversion/140543
        http://www.alternet.org/story/140543/

        Last year, I became castrated impotent sterile. That is, I had a vasectomy.
        While it's actually a very common procedure (nearly 500,000 are performed
        every year in the US), it raises eyebrows -- and a lot of questions.

        The first one is always simply: Why?

        Although this was a very personal decision for me, it was also a choice I
        made out of larger societal, political, and environmental motivations. I
        consider the environmental ones paramount. In an economic system that
        demands infinite growth with finite resources, not doubling my own
        consumption is one small stone in a big river.

        More importantly, I live in the US, and any child I had would have been
        raised here and would consume (despite my best efforts) far more resources
        than I am comfortable accepting. Living even a modest lifestyle in the US
        comes as a direct result of the oppression, domination, and deaths of many
        unseen people, not to mention the exploitation of natural resources at rates
        that threaten the ability of our planet to sustain life. These facts
        shouldn't be cause for guilt or shame; instead, they should spur us to
        organize to confront the systems and institutions that have created these
        problems. On a personal level, contributing another person to the system
        that I have spent my adult life fighting is just not something I'm willing
        to do.

        The next question is usually: But what if you change your mind?

        I view my decision as permanent. As I see it, I already made the decision
        years ago not to have children, based on sound, rational reasons. If I
        change my mind in the future, I believe that change would be fundamentally
        selfish, and I am comfortable committing myself to rational reasons now.

        People typically follow up with: Aren't there other forms of birth control?

        Yes, of course, and most of us here in the US are lucky to be able to choose
        the form that is best for our lifestyles, our preferences, and our
        relationships. A vasectomy fit my needs best.

        I guess there's always abstinence, but that's no fun, right? I suppose the
        rhythm method is an option, but almost everyone knows how (in)effective that
        is. Condoms are fine and dandy in many situations, but they have their
        downsides as well, and can seem pointless if you are in a monogamous
        relationship.

        All the other common birth control methods have one aspect in common: They
        place the onus on women. Not only does our society expect women to deal with
        the logistics of birth control, but these methods also have severe
        physiological drawbacks, from roller-coaster hormonal changes to
        intensifying menstruation cycles to weight and skin changes. Although these
        methods have come a long way in a few decades, they still burden women and
        their bodies. Is it any coincidence that in a male-dominated society, the
        medical establishment has thus far focused on birth control methods that
        leave the burden solely on women?

        For men, vasectomies are simple. There are almost no side effects and no
        long-term impacts; it's a quick, low-cost, outpatient procedure. Having
        decided that I want to take an active role in birth control, a vasectomy is
        fair, easy, and it confronts my privilege on this issue.

        What if you decide you want children in the future? people ask.

        Many of my friends whom I deeply respect have chosen to have children or
        will do so in the future. Some people do feel that there is something
        special and important about having a blood-related child. I just don't share
        that feeling.

        There are thousands of beautiful children all over the world who need
        parents, and if I ever decide that being a father is something I want in my
        life, I would be remiss to ignore the existing children needing support and
        love. For me, adoption is the best option. We need more parents in this
        world, not more kids.

        Finally, But don't we need the smart, progressive people to reproduce?

        I'm of the nurture-over-nature camp. I think the whole "passing on genes"
        obsession can sometimes border on eugenics. I'm fairly confident there is no
        gene that instructs your child to fight for justice, peace, and
        sustainability. That comes from living those values and instilling them in
        the communities we are a part of. That's what I want to prioritize in my
        life -- and I feel I can share those things more effectively without a
        child.

        And besides -- I've got messed-up teeth, I'm legally blind, bald, and have a
        history of heart disease. Let Matt Damon pass on his genes instead.

        Matt Leonard lives in San Francisco, where he works on climate justice and
        energy issues, rock climbs, rides his bike, and eats yummy vegan food. He
        currently works with Greenpeace and Rising Tide North America.

        = = =

        Comments:

        http://www.alternet.org/sex/140543/why_my_vasectomy_will_help_save_the_earth
        %27s_resources/#comments

        Your life, your choice.
        Posted by: Honky the Nihilist VI on Jun 10, 2009 12:23 AM
        Good for you. I tried to get a vasectomy at 22 and again at 25 but was
        turned down because I'm "too young".

        When are the equal rights advocates going to give men the same post
        conception "out" that women have? Are women inferior to men and therefore
        need "separate but equal" policies that deny men equal protection under the
        law as guaranteed by the 14th amendment to the Constitution?

        Karen Decrow, The only Feminist that was not a complete hypocrite stated:
        "If women have the right to choose if they become
        parents, men [should] have that right too. There is a
        connection between legalizing abortion for women
        and ending of paternity suits for men. Giving men their
        own choices would not deny choices to women.
        It would only eliminate their expectation
        of having those choices financed by men."

        I have seen pictures of female protesters holding signs that say "Take your
        laws out of my vagina and shove them up your ass". Change "Vagina" to
        "Wallet" and that sign expresses my sentiments.

        I hate children and will never make a concession for them even if they have
        23 of my chromosomes.

        Augie
        Live Simply So That
        Others May Simply Live
        http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Yoga-With-Nancy/
        http://groups.yahoo.com/group/SignSoFla/
        http://groups.yahoo.com/group/SoFlaVegans/
        http://groups.yahoo.com/group/SoFlaSchools/



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