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Doctors saw younger men seeking vasectomies after Roe v. Wade was overturned

Emily Alpert Reyes, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Health & Fitness

Kori Thompson had long wrestled with the idea of having a child.

The 24-year-old worried about the world a kid would face as climate change overtook the globe, fearing the environmental devastation and economic strain that could follow. He had been thinking about getting a vasectomy ever since he learned about the sterilization procedure from a television show.

But "the thing that actually triggered it was the court decision," Thompson said.

After the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade nearly two years ago, paving the way for states to usher in new restrictions on abortion, doctors started seeing more young adults seeking vasectomies or getting their tubes tied, emerging research has found.

An analysis by University of Utah researchers, released as an abstract in the Journal of Urology, found that after Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, a rising share of vasectomy patients were under the age of 30.

That percentage went from 6.2% to 9.8% after the Supreme Court decision, based on their analysis of a national database that includes hundreds of millions of patients.

 

Among the young patients who pursued the procedure is Thompson, who decided to get a vasectomy in the aftermath of the court ruling. In Georgia where he lives, abortion is illegal roughly six weeks into a pregnancy — a point before some people may learn that they are pregnant.

"If it's effectively illegal," Thompson said, "then I felt that this was necessary." His girlfriend also disliked the effects of hormonal birth control, "so now I've decided to go on permanent birth control. It's way easier."

The University of Utah researchers found that before the Supreme Court ruling, vasectomy rates were consistently higher in states categorized as "hostile" or "illegal" for abortion by the Center for Reproductive Rights, compared to states that were not as restrictive. The same was true after the ruling.

Yet researchers also found an overall uptick in vasectomy rates after the Dobbs decision — both in states where abortion is heavily restricted and those where it is not.

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