A British woman is fighting for the legal right of ownership of her husband’s sperm, who in the past donated his sperm to clinics, without informing her. The wife says his sperm is joint “marital asset” (like the house, car and CD collection), and that he can’t go distributing it around the countryside without her consent.
But why does this idea of a woman having legal ownership of her husband’s sperm sound ridiculous to most people? Because the opposite case — that is the husband’s ownership of a woman’s womb, vagina and eggs, has historically been taken for granted in all countries and cultures!
Don’t get me wrong here! As far as I’m concerned the “my body, my choice” motto applies just as much to men as to women. But what I’m trying to say, is that this case is not ridiculous as many have said. It is an eye-opener. It gives us something to reflect on in terms of how men have viewed the ownership of women’s eggs and wombs.
¶ In many countries even today, women cannot have abortions without their husband’s consent or for that matter even use birth control without the husband’s approval.
¶ In many countries, girls and young women, don’t have a say on who they will or won’t allow into their vaginas’ and wombs’. Their parents decide that. And then their husbands own their vaginas’, wombs and eggs!! They use them whenever, and however they want.
¶ In regions of India where misogyny has killed of so many girls at birth, that men can’t find women to marry, men generously “share” their wives with their unmarried brothers. Here’s what Munni has to say about how the ‘owner’ of her vagina deals with his ‘property’: “My husband and his parents said I had to share myself with his brothers…They took me whenever they wanted – day or night. When I resisted, they beat me with anything at hand…Sometimes they threw me out and made me sleep outside or they poured kerosene over me and burned me.”
¶ In the slums and villages in India, there are women whose bodies have broken after back-to-back child bearing. But talk to them, and they will tell you that if they get contraceptives, their husbands beat them black and blue. A few years ago, I met a woman whose husband had beaten her with a red, hot burning stick from the stove, burnt her all over, and then tried to hang her with a rope!! Her womb and her eggs are his property, and in getting her tubes tied, she had ‘stolen’ his property.
¶ The funny thing is in a few years, these men wander off, often with the excuse of finding a job in the city, and don’t turn around and bother to provide for those children they were so bent on fathering. It is the women who are left behind, struggling to feed the eggs they never chose to incubate!!