- Vasectomies are increasing post-Roe v. Wade, one urologist told Insider.
- He said he’d seen a 100% increase in appointments since Roe fell.
- Two men told Insider their stories of how the Supreme Court ruling prompted them to make the choice.
Since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade on June 24, changes have been enacted across the US. Be that in the form of new laws, altered access to healthcare, or court cases hitting the headlines. Amid all that change, there’s been another shift: an increase in vasectomies.
Dr. Esgar Guarín, a urologist in Iowa, told Insider that before the historic ruling, he’d normally perform 30 to 40 vasectomies each month. But within the first 48 hours of the ruling, 20 men had signed up to get a vasectomy, he said.
And this trend has continued, with Guarín having seen a sustained increase in vasectomies of almost 100%, he said.
Guarín celebrates this change, saying that in 2019, the UN estimated there were 219 million bilateral tubal ligations (a procedure in women often called getting one’s “tubes tied”) around the world but only 16 million vasectomies worldwide. Guarín described this discrepancy as “ridiculous.”
He said this “leads us to think that men are only actually having fun making babies, and we’re not participating enough in reproduction beyond just procreation.”
Guarín added: “And that is because women are heavily invested in what pregnancy is, but men are not because we will never, ever know what it is to be pregnant. It doesn’t matter how supportive we can be. We could be absolutely wonderful, but it doesn’t matter.
“We’re not as invested, and because we’re not as invested, women will take matters into their own hands because they’re protecting themselves.”
To make vasectomies as accessible as possible, Guarín — who has been nicknamed “the nutcracker” — has been working with Planned Parenthood to launch a mobile vasectomy clinic where people can get the quick procedure for free across the US.
—Planned Parenthood (@PPSLR) November 11, 2021
Now, he said, with access to abortion — and, in some places, contraception — being limited, Guarín is calling on men to ejaculate responsibly, a term coined by Gabrielle Stanley Blair, who has written about reframing the abortion issue.
“For the longest time, we’ve been focused on women’s reproduction and abortion, but why don’t we talk more about the ones causing the pregnancies to begin with, which are those men who irresponsibly ejaculate?” Guarín said.
And this message has touched many men who want to be allies to the almost one in three US women who have lost access to abortions, according to the Guttmacher Institute’s estimate, and these men want to be responsible in their sexual encounters.
Getting vasectomies to show allyship
One of these men is Bill McCamley, 44, a former Democratic member of the New Mexico House of Representatives.
The ex-politician had a vasectomy post-Roe, though he had been thinking about it for years. He told Insider he saw it as the best thing he could do to support women and their reproductive rights.
“Having a vasectomy was something that I could do as a private citizen” to play a small part in tackling the inequality, McCamley, who said he’d always known he didn’t want children, said.
McCamley added: “It seems like birth control is almost always the responsibility of the woman. And I think that’s really terrible.
“So I decided that, since I’ve never really wanted kids, and this procedure is not that big of a deal, I would just get this done, just because those are my beliefs, and this is a way to express them.”
The ex-politician tweeted that he had the procedure on October 7, not necessarily to encourage people to get vasectomies but to send a message.
“It is now even more important than ever that we are responsible with our choices when it comes to reproductive health,” he told Insider, “and so it’s so important to make sure you’re using a condom, or you’re supporting any woman that you might be within her birth control decisions.”
Breaking the silence on the snip
In a similar position to McCamley is Alex Sanchez, a 25-year-old research specialist in psychology and public policy at Princeton University who was also influenced by the Supreme Court to have a vasectomy.
He told Insider: “I was just devastated, as were millions of other people. I saw someone on Twitter saying, ‘If you’re considering getting a vasectomy, now’s the time to get one,’ and it definitely motivated me.”
After Sanchez discussed with his doctor his young age and lack of children, the urologist was happy to proceed, and Sanchez had a vasectomy on August 16.
He said it was “even smoother than I thought it would be,” adding that it was quick and painless, the most annoying aspect being that he couldn’t ride his bike for a few weeks.
Sanchez said he wanted to challenge the taboo of talking about vasectomies and encourage change.
“The way that I approach my research on social change and collective action are through social influence and social norms,” he said. “You kind of look to your left, look to your right. You see what other people are doing, and that, more than anything, is what’s most likely to influence your behavior, more so than your beliefs and your attitudes.”
He said that after sharing his story on Twitter, he got messages from friends and friends of friends thanking him for talking openly about having a vasectomy “because they were considering the procedure, and they realized they had some mixed conceptions of how intensive the procedure was.”
“I know one of my other friends booked his appointment now because of that,” he said.
He added, “Also, a few women have messaged me, saying that they really appreciate seeing straight men talking about this.”
Mirroring the comments by Guarín about the importance of responsible intimacy, Sanchez said that he’s not advocating for people to get vasectomies or not have children if they want them but rather “sharing the burden of contraceptive care more equally across genders.”
Guarín, who is set to participate in World Vasectomy Day, on November 18, and says he will give 50 free vasectomies worth $35,000, is celebrating that the procedures are on the up and men are taking reproductive health into their own hands, he said.
Referring to the Roe v. Wade ruling, he said, “We celebrate the fact that that’s happening, but we are heartbroken with the fact that it was a consequence of taking the rights of an individual, which shouldn’t have happened in the first place.”