Since Texas enacted its near-total ban on abortion, at least one urologist says business in giving people vasectomies has picked up. Koushik Shaw says he’s seen a 15% increase in men requesting vasectomies since the ban went into effect on September 1. Shaw says his new upswell in patients is definitely because of the ban.
“‘Hey, I’m actually here because some of these changes that [Gov. Greg] Abbott and our legislature have passed that are really impacting our decision-making in terms of family planning,’ so that was a new one for me as a reason — the first time patients are citing state law as their motivating factor,” Shaw said.
So far, Shaw’s is the only clinic that has cited an increase in vasectomy requests, but with the Supreme Court set to decide the fate of Roe vs. Wade in 2022, and with the six-week abortion ban that incentivizes citizens to enforce the law in place until then, more men seem to be considering their role in family planning.
Traditionally, the onus of birth control has been placed on women. Hormonal birth control pills, IUDs, and other forms of birth control are undoubtedly necessary, but many women deal with uncomfortable, and occasionally negative side effects related to birth control use. For families that have already had the children that they want to have, or just don’t want to risk pregnancy, vasectomies are an important way to family plan, especially in states that limit the right to choose.
Earlier this year, Pennsylvania state representative Chris Rabb introduced “parody legislation” with the intent of pointing out the double-standard regarding birth control, family planning, and bodily autonomy. His bill would require men to have a vasectomy after the birth of their third child or their 40th birthday.
“As long as state legislatures continue to restrict the reproductive rights of cis women, trans men, and nonbinary people, there should be laws that address the responsibility of men who impregnate them. Thus, my bill will also codify ‘wrongful conception’ to include when a person has demonstrated negligence toward preventing conception during intercourse,” Rabb wrote in a memo about his proposal.
Rabb was surprised that his dummy legislation incited ire throughout the nation.
“The notion a man would have to endure or even think about losing bodily autonomy was met with outrage,” said Rabb. “When every single day women face this and it’s somehow okay for the government to invade the uteruses of women and girls, but it should be off-limits if you propose vasectomies or limit the reproductive rights of men.”
Though many men cringe at the mere mention of the word ‘vasectomy”, the procedure is simple, largely reversible (though reversing a vasectomy is more expensive and a bit more complicated than the initial vasectomy), and brings with it more than a few benefits.
Vasectomies are almost 100% effective at preventing pregnancy, compared to the slightly lower effectiveness of hormonal birth control. Also, vasectomies have few side effects, whereas hormonal birth control can cause negative side effects for some people. Not to mention, vasectomies are one and done—there’s no need to remember to take a pill every day. For people who already have children and are done having kids, vasectomies are the way to go.
Vasectomies are also more inexpensive than birth control. Vasectomies cost on average around $1500 and are generally covered by insurance. In contrast, birth control pills represent an ongoing expense that can average as much as $600 per year. Given that birth control is often taken over the course of someone’s reproductive life, $600 is year is far more expensive than a one-time $1,500 cost. Or tubal ligation, which can cost up to $6000.