Inconceivably so

Holly Brockwell is 29 and quite determined not to have children; Britain’s National Health Service is equally determined not to sterilize her.

After stirring up that hornet’s nest in the Guardian, she decided to try a different megaphone: the Daily Mail. As usual with the Mail, the photographs are lovely and the comments are unreadable.

She says of the Mail experience:

[T]here are over 2,000 comments already and I did not in any sense read them all, because I still have to find time in the day to glare at children and milk the National Health Service dry. But here are some of my favourites, and my responses. Which I won’t be putting in the comments section, because that’s like trying to debate with a floor lamp.

I note for comparison purposes only that (1) I was sterilized the year I turned twenty-eight, but (2) I was married at the time and had already spawned the next generation, and (3) it was, unsurprisingly, a lot cheaper in 1981, even allowing for the relative simplicity of the procedure I had compared to the one she wants.

Still, I tend to take her side on general principle: biological destiny can go only so far. And the usual deployment of contraceptives made her quite ill, as was the case with the woman to whom I was married. (She’s 60 now and is much relieved not to have to think about such things.)


  1. backwoods conservative »

    1 May 2015 · 4:22 pm

    I had my surgery done when I was 27, and encountered the same double standard that she did, but not from the medical profession. The urologist who did the surgery did make it clear that the procedure should be considered permanent, and that the chances of having it reversed were not good. That discussion was fine with me and I considered it part of his job.

    The double standard came from friends who insisted that I was too young to make such a permanent decision. I couldn’t help but notice that someone several years younger than me could decide to have kids, which is just as permanent a decision, and these same people would have no problem with it.

    For me it was the right choice. I had known for a long time that I didn’t want kids. Childish chatter annoys me. I much prefer the company of adults.

  2. fillyjonk »

    1 May 2015 · 5:00 pm

    What about her setting up a Kickstarter or something? Surely she could either pay cash, or go out of the country….wasn’t medical tourism a thing a couple years ago?

  3. CGHill »

    1 May 2015 · 5:19 pm

    Crowdfunding the surgery might be a reasonable option for her. I’d drop a few quid in the donation box, not so much because I think this is such a swell idea, but because I think she’s pretty well made her case.

  4. CGHill »

    1 May 2015 · 5:39 pm

    Here’s a section of her TV appearance:

  5. Tatyana »

    2 May 2015 · 8:43 am

    She is young enough to value a principle of the thing, probably as much as a result. She is right, in principle: if she is paying her taxes, which fund NHS, it is her right not to pay for the procedure she elected twice – by paying taxes to HNS and privately.
    But with years one weights her own energy resource much higher than principle…consider all the time, nerves, endless battling and money spent on proving the principle – vs. just saying to herself: fine, I am not going to waste my life on fighting with Leviathan of State and public opinion; if paying twice is the price of freedom to do as I want, I’ll rather pay it…

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