Study Shows More Young People Are Choosing ‘Permanent’ Sterilization

Researchers found an “abrupt increase” in the number of young people undergoing permanent sterilization procedures recently.

According to the University of Pittsburgh-led study, following the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision from January 1, 2019, though May 31, 2022 and from June 1, 2022, to Sept. 30, 2023, researchers found that there were 58 more tubal ligations per 100,000 outpatient visits and 5.31 procedures per month, and 27 more vasectomies per 100,000 visits with no significant change in the number of procedures per month.

“We observed an abrupt increase in permanent contraception procedures among adults aged 18 to 30 years following Dobbs. The increase in procedures for female patients was double that for male patients,” researchers wrote.

Before the court’s decision, the monthly permanent contraception rate increased by 2.84 and 1.03 procedures per 100,000 person-months among female and male patients, respectively, according to the study.

Co-author Jacqueline Ellison, an assistant professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Public Health said researchers wanted to test that specific group because they were “much more likely to have an abortion and to experience sterilization regret relative to their older counterparts.”

“It’s difficult to prove the Dobbs decision caused a rise in women and men undergoing permanent birth control. But the new study used a particular statistical approach that, Ellison said, strongly suggested the increase in sterilization procedures flowed from the Supreme Court’s decision and the subsequent actions in 21 states to ban or further restrict access to abortion,” NBC News reported.

Researchers suggested that the end of the constitutional “right” to abortion through the court’s decision “may have also increased a sense of urgency among individuals who were interested in permanent contraception before the decision.”