Skip to comments.Meet the women who won't have babies - because they're not eco friendly
Posted on 11/21/2007 4:34:40 PM PST by fanfan
Had Toni Vernelli gone ahead with her pregnancy ten years ago, she would know at first hand what it is like to cradle her own baby, to have a pair of innocent eyes gazing up at her with unconditional love, to feel a little hand slipping into hers - and a voice calling her Mummy.
But the very thought makes her shudder with horror.
Because when Toni terminated her pregnancy, she did so in the firm belief she was helping to save the planet.
Incredibly, so determined was she that the terrible "mistake" of pregnancy should never happen again, that she begged the doctor who performed the abortion to sterilise her at the same time.
He refused, but Toni - who works for an environmental charity - "relentlessly hunted down a doctor who would perform the irreversible surgery.
Finally, eight years ago, Toni got her way.
At the age of 27 this young woman at the height of her reproductive years was sterilised to "protect the planet".
Incredibly, instead of mourning the loss of a family that never was, her boyfriend (now husband) presented her with a congratulations card.
While some might think it strange to celebrate the reversal of nature and denial of motherhood, Toni relishes her decision with an almost religious zeal.
"Having children is selfish. It's all about maintaining your genetic line at the expense of the planet," says Toni, 35.
"Every person who is born uses more food, more water, more land, more fossil fuels, more trees and produces more rubbish, more pollution, more greenhouse gases, and adds to the problem of over-population."
While most parents view their children as the ultimate miracle of nature, Toni seems to see them as a sinister threat to the future.
It's an extreme stance which one might imagine is born from an unhappy childhood or an upbringing among parents who share similar, strong beliefs.
But nothing in Toni's safe, middle- class upbringing gave any clues as to the views which would shape her adult life. The eldest of three daughters, she enjoyed a loving, close-knit family life.
She excelled at her Roman Catholic school, and her doting parents fully expected her to grow up, settle down and start a family of her own.
"When I finished school, I got a job in retail and at 19, I met my first husband," says Toni.
"No sooner had we finished our wedding cake than all our relatives started to ask when they could expect a new addition to the family.
"I always told them that would never happen, but no one listened.
"When I was a child, I loved bird-watching, and in my teens that developed into a passion for the environment as well as the welfare of animals - I became a vegetarian when I was 15.
"Even my parents used to smile and say: 'You'll change your mind one day about babies.'
"The only person who understood how I felt was my first husband, who didn't want children either.
"We both passionately wanted to save the planet - not produce a new life which would only add to the problem."
So, instead of mapping out plans for a family, Toni and her husband began discussing medical options to ensure they would never reproduce.
Toni, from Taunton, Somerset, says: "When I was 21, I considered sterilisation for the first time.
"I'd been on the Pill for five years and didn't want to take hormone-based contraception indefinitely.
"I went to my GP, but she wouldn't even consider the idea.
"She said I was far too young and told me I could 'absolutely not' be sterilised, and that I was bound to change my mind one day.
"I found her attitude frustrating.
"We decided my husband would have a vasectomy instead. He was 25, just a few years older than me, but the GP allowed him to go ahead.
"I found it insulting that she thought that, just because I was a woman, I'd reach a point where an urge to breed would overcome all rational thought."
When Toni was 23, her marriage ended. She says: "We married very young and grew apart."
Toni found herself young, single and with a new life in London, working for an environmental charity.
But while other young women dream of marriage and babies, Toni was convinced it was her duty not to have a child.
She claims she was far from alone.
"Through my job I made many friends who, like me, were more interested in campaigning, trying to change society and save the planet rather than having families of our own.
"We used to say that if ever we did want children, we'd adopt, as there are so many children in need of a loving family.
"At least then, we'd be doing something positive for the world, rather than something negative."
Toni was happy, at last, with fellow environmentalists who shared her philosophy. But when she was 25, disaster struck.
"I discovered that despite taking the Pill, I'd accidentally fallen pregnant by my boyfriend.
"I was horrified. I knew straight away there was no option of having the baby.
"I went to my doctor about having a termination, and asked if I could be sterilised at the same time.
"This time it was a male doctor. I remember saying to him: 'I want to make sure this never happens again.'
"He said: 'You may not want a child, but one day you may meet a man who does'. He refused to consider it.
"I didn't like having a termination, but it would have been immoral to give birth to a child that I felt strongly would only be a burden to the world.
"I've never felt a twinge of guilt about what I did, and have honestly never wondered what might have been.
"After my abortion, I was more determined than ever to pursue sterilisation.
"By then, I had my mother's support - she realised I wasn't going to grow out of my beliefs, and was proud of my campaigning work."
At the age of 27, Toni moved to Brighton, where her dream of medical intervention was realised.
Toni says: "My new GP was more forward-thinking and referred me to hospital. I couldn't wait for the operation."
As Toni awaited the surgery which would destroy her fertility, she met her future husband, Ed, 38, an IT consultant.
"A week before my sterilisation, I went to an animal rights demonstration and met Ed.
"I liked him immediately, and I told him what I was doing straight away - because if he wanted children then he needed to know I wasn't the woman for him," she says.
"But Ed was relieved when I told him how I felt and said he didn't want children for the same reasons."
On the morning of surgery, Ed gave Toni a card saying "Congratulations".
Toni says: "After the operation, which is irreversible, I didn't feel emotional - just relieved.
"I've never doubted that I made the right decision. Ed and I married in September 2002, and have a much nicer lifestyle as a result of not having children.
"We love walking and hiking, and we often go away for weekends.
"Every year, we also take a nice holiday - we've just come back from South Africa.
"We feel we can have one long-haul flight a year, as we are vegan and childless, thereby greatly reducing our carbon footprint and combating over-population.
"My only frustration is that other people are unable to accept my decision.
"When I tell people why I don't want children, they look at me as if I was planning to commit murder.
"A woman who does not have maternal-feelings is seen as some sort of anomaly.
"And a woman like me, who is not having children in order to save the planet, is considered barking mad.
"What I consider mad are those women who ferry their children short distances in gas-guzzling cars."
But Toni is far from alone.
When Sarah Irving, 31, was a teenager she sat down and wrote a wish-list for the future.
Most young girls dream of marriage and babies. But Sarah dreamed of helping the environment - and as she agonised over the perils of climate change, the loss of animal species and destruction of wilderness, she came to the extraordinary decision never to have a child.
"I realised then that a baby would pollute the planet - and that never having a child was the most environmentally friendly thing I could do."
Sarah's boyfriends have been less understanding than Toni's, with the breakdown of several relationships.
"I've had boyfriends who wanted children, so I knew I couldn't be with them long term,' says Sarah.
"I've had to break up with a couple of boyfriends because I didn't think it was fair to waste their time.
"In my early 20s I had a boyfriend who I really liked, but he wanted to start a family as soon as possible.
"I was tempted to stay with him and hope he would change his mind, but I knew I couldn't provide him with what he wanted so I walked away."
Sarah started work for the Ethical Consumer magazine, and seven years ago she met her fiancÈ Mark Hudson, a 37-year- old health- care worker.
When they started dating in 2003, they immediately discussed their views on children.
"To my relief, Mark was as adamant as me that he didn't want a family. After a year of dating, we started talking about sterilisation," says Sarah.
"I didn't want to have an 'accident' if contraception didn't work - we would be faced with the dilemma of whether to keep the baby."
While other young couples sit down and discuss mortgages, Sarah and Mark discussed the medical options for one or the other to be sterilised.
"We realised it was a much more straightforward procedure, safer and easier, for a man to be sterilised through a vasectomy than a woman to be sterilised," says Sarah.
"In January 2005, Mark had a vasectomy and we both felt incredibly relieved there was no chance of us having a baby."
Ironically, the couple who have decided to deny themselves children for the sake of the planet, actively enjoy the company of young children.
Sarah says: "We both have nieces who we love dearly and I consider myself a caring, nurturing person.
"My sister recently had a little girl, and that has taken the pressure off me because my parents wanted to be grandparents.
"At first, they were surprised by my decision, but they have never criticised us.
"I'd never dream of preaching to others about having a family. It's a very personal choice. What I do like to do is make people aware of the facts.
"When I see a mother with a large family, I don't resent her, but I do hope she's thought through the implications."
Mark adds: "Sarah and I live as green a life a possible. We don't have a car, cycle everywhere instead, and we never fly.
"We recycle, use low-energy light bulbs and eat only organic, locally produced food.
"In short, we do everything we can to reduce our carbon footprint. But all this would be undone if we had a child.
"That's why I had a vasectomy. It would be morally wrong for me to add to climate change and the destruction of Earth.
"Sarah and I don't need children to feel complete. What makes us happy is knowing that we are doing our bit to save our precious planet."
These people have drunk the kool-aid.
These people are sick, thank God they don’t procreate.
And she could always have practised 'oral contraception' like Monica Lewinsky to preserve her options.
What a sick, selfish, self-centered...ah...B-word. How cold can one person be.
Ed and I married in September 2002, and have a much nicer lifestyle as a result of not having children.
Aha, the bottom line.
So why doesn't she take it one step further and self-eliminate?
She doesn't need to procreate, she can pass on her beliefs, via the National Education Association...to your children.
Why didn’t this crazy creature consider kicking her own bucket? Three little words: Bullet to temple!!!
These women better check their own demographics. . .Clearly, Muslim women do not adhere to same philosophy. As Mark Steyn reminds us, it is TRULY, the ‘hand that rocks the cradle. . .rules the world’.
(Today, these women need to consider whether they are part of the problem or it’s solution.) Of course. . .no matter their decision; they STILL are a problem; but one thing at a time here. . .
...probably look like knuckle draggers anyway
Breeding and having babies is the worst thing that idiots such as this can do.
No, and I hope she doesn't figure out demographics any time soon.
“I’ve never felt a twinge of guilt about what I did, and have honestly never wondered what might have been”
So why did the young “heroine” volunteer the statement?!
What does this idiot think will happen to environmentalism when environmentalists quit reproducing?
My mom email this article
In her days in 1970s it was consider 2 children=0 population
Not having children because not enviromentaly conscious
Finally, eight years ago, Toni got her way.
Thank you, God.
This kind of person should NEVER have children. She will be sorry one day no matter what she says. She will be sorry. So, let her and her ilk go on. Let them continue to murder babies...she thinks she’s cool now in saving the planet????? THANK GOD for my children I wouldn’t give them up for the world and the joy of grandchildren??? Oh my God...even greater. I’m glad I am in my own shoes and not hers. She’ll find out though...just wait.
The real immoral act here is for this young woman to decide for her child whether they can have life or not.
I believe she will rue the day; she took this position.
I support these people having themselves sterilized. But if they didn’t want the kid we would have gladly taken it.
If she was really morally consistent, she would have killed herself too to lessen the "burden to the world."
At least she won’t be be able to create more twisted people like herself.
The irony is that her claim that having children is selfish totally denies that what she is doing is an act of extreme selfishness. Who is it she trying to “save” the planet for? Obviously not future generations... It is all about her.
The future belongs to those who show up:
Here you go.
It's pathetic people like these examples that makes me want to do everything I can to increase my "carbon footprint."
My daughter is expecting her first child soon. God has blessed her with this child.
re “what might have been.”
As I do not know how to post a column of mine to FR, all I can do is give you the site and see if you like what I wrote about my granddaughter.
It is at www.thenewdominion.com, “Kids Say the Darndest Things”, Max P. Friedman.
Just scroll down the front page until you hit it (Tues. Nov. 20th.)
This is what the woman is missing, and always will.
Not checking posts, so sure it’s been said, but if she really feels that way she should do the world another favor and off herself.
This young lady sounds more like the folks who get a sexual thrill out of amputations however.
She's, as it were, a "head case" on a "one way trip to Outer Darkness".
These women were once babies themselves. Many of them still are.
I believe that for people to think this way is Satanic and demonic. They have fallen hook, line, and sinker for the big lie. They deserve out pity.
She’s such a hypocrite! She and her husband are breathing because their parents did the unthinkable!
Hmm, IMO the article may contain some hyperbole, but if true.
how very sad, pathetic really, this woman has deceived herself so completely that she had an irreversable procedure, she can never have children..period..she can watch birds in a nest grow stronger as they are fed by their parents, and one day grow strong and learn to fly and eventually leave the nest.
This woman can now only precariously view life in it’s cycles, consigned to spectator and never participant.
Not necessary or even advisable. She won’t be here in a century. None of us will. That’s soon enough.
This is by far the funniest article I’ve read in a while. Thanks for the laugh.
Save the Planet - Kill Yourself!
This woman is beneath contempt. She’s willing to sacrifice an innocent human life to her false goddess, but doesn’t have the courage of her own convictions. If she really cared for “gaia,” she’d have eliminated herself instead.
This isn’t about saving the earth, it’s about the politically correct justification of her own selfish lifestyle choices. Too bad a baby had to die in order for her to make her statement.
You mean it was morally wrong to kill an innocent child she created through her recklessness because it would be a “burden” to the world?
That when she was faced with the choice of killing herself or someone else as to not be a burden on the world that she chose someone else to die?
And all along she she says she’s not selfish?
This is where adolescent leftest thought gets you. Living a total contradiction, unable to see it and the results being dead people - all with the “best” intentions...
The bottom line is that Islam takes over.
I guess you don't care since your children won't have to live through it.
I don't blame you, specifically, I should have had more, myself.
I just hate the way the world is turning out. :-(
You’re not saving the planet, you’re making room for Muslims who have no qualms about having eight children.
Oh, now I understand, my fault for not putting quotes on the first line.
Sorry, Ed and I are most assuredly NOT married.