More men than ever in the U.S. are getting vasectomies, a surgical procedure for male sterilisation.
The sharp rise in men voluntarily rendering themselves sterile followed a June Supreme Court decision that struck down fifty years of a nationwide, abortion-on-demand. Now, each state has the right to implement its own laws regarding abortion. In approximately a dozen states, the ruling resulted in an automatic reset to previous laws, in some cases making abortion completely illegal.
The new laws and legal climate around abortion have caused many men to seek vasectomies.
Since the ruling, Google Trends has tracked a huge spike in searches in the U.S. for ‘vasectomy,’ and telehealth research company Innerbody Research has also reported that searches for “where can I get a vasectomy” increased by 850% in the days after news of the Supreme Court decision broke.
Experts consulted by the BBC disagree on whether or not the spike is a short-term reactionary trend or the start of a paradigm shift. But states with the most restrictive laws, such as Missouri, have also seen the most sustained rise in men seeking vasectomies. One practice in Florida told CBS News that the number of child-free men getting vasectomies under the age of 30 had doubled since the ruling. Urologists in New York, California, Iowa, and elsewhere have reported similar upticks.
“I think like a lot of people in my situation, this is something that we were probably on the fence about before Roe v. Wade got overturned,” Lyon Lenk, who recently had a vasectomy, told the BBC in October. “But this is the only option to keep my partner safe at this juncture because I live in Missouri.”
He told the BBC that he and his female partner have no children and do not want children.
Truck driver Denny Dalliance, 31, who also lives in Missouri where abortion is now illegal, decided to get a vasectomy too, in light of abortion restrictions. He told Sky News that he feared the consequences of having children since his work kept him away from home regularly.
“These are grim circumstances under which I made this decision,” he told Sky News “I don’t want to come off as though I’m unhappy to be doing this, but this is a situation where my hands kind of got forced with regards to the Roe v. Wade decision.”
Alexander Pastuszak, assistant professor in the division of urology surgery at the University of Utah, told the BBC that previously men usually sought vasectomies at the request of their wives but now “there’s a sense that, you know, we can’t just have sex anymore on our terms.”
He also said that while the initial flurry of vasectomy appointments has slowed in many parts of the country, his colleagues in states such as Missouri continue to have a steady flow of patients for the procedure.
Planned Parenthood, the largest abortion provider in the country, has also been offering free vasectomies in Missouri and other states. Dalliance was one of the recipients of the free service.
The rise in vasectomies in light of abortion restrictions betrays the lie that women were never pressured by men, even subtly, to have abortions.