Horst D. Deckert

Spike in Voluntary Sterilizations after Roe v. Wade Overturned, Mostly Women

There was a significant spike in voluntary sterilizations after the Dobbs decision in 2022

A new study has revealed a significant spike in voluntary sterilizations in the US among 18- to 30-year-olds after Roe v. Wade was overturned in 2022. The spike was most significant among women, but there was also an increase in the number of men seeking medical sterilization.

This new study, published in the journal JAMA Health Forum, is the first to evaluate the effects on reproductive health and contraception of the decision to return the right to decide the legality of abortion to individual states.

The researchers used the database TriNetX to access continuously updated medical data from academic medical centers and affiliated clinics across all four census regions of the US. They looked at data for both tubal sterilizations (i.e. in women) and vasectomies.

Rates of voluntary sterilization were already increasing prior to the Dobbs decision in June 2022, but subsequently there was a sharp increase for both sexes.

Sterilization trends from the new study

“Prior to Dobbs, the monthly permanent contraception rate increased by 2.84 and 1.03 procedures per 100 000 person-months among female and male patients, respectively,” the study explains.

Dobbs was associated with an immediate level increase of 58.02 procedures and 5.31 procedures per month among female patients. Among male patients, it was associated with a level increase of 26.99 procedures and no significant change in the number of procedures per month.”

Although the researchers did not carry out any qualitative work to investigate the opinions or intentions of young people seeking sterilization after the Dobbs decision, they speculate that the trend, especially in young women, can be explained by the “disproportionate health, social, and economic consequences of compulsory pregnancy on women and people with the capacity to become pregnant.”

Doctors reported last year that they were seeing a clear increase in sterilizations; although the new study contradicts some of the claims that were made.

The Dobbs decision not only affected women, but also men. We found a 225% increase in vasectomy consults at our institution following Dobbs, particularly in non-married and childless men. Are more men taking responsibility for their repro health given barriers imposed on females? https://t.co/OEOK9w76Ir

— Alex Zhu (@alexzhuDO) May 6, 2023

“We found a 225% increase in vasectomy consults at our institution following Dobbs, particularly in non-married and childless men,” said physician Alex Zhu.

“Are more men taking responsibility for their repro health given barriers imposed on females?”


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