The leaked draft opinion on the overturning of Roe v. Wade has already sparked panic across the country, with thousands protesting in different states. Consequently, the ban on contraceptives in states such as Louisiana incited another level of uncertainty for those who look to birth control for alternate reasons such as period regulation or acne treatment. An interesting chain reaction to this plethora of changes for reproductive rights, however, is the rapid increase in Google searches for vasectomies or general sterilization procedures across the country.
Certain states showed significant trends in the frequency of these search terms, with predominantly red states such as Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Florida showing a 99% increase in these searches. This may not even directly align with the draft opinion, yet the potential for trigger bans in at least half of the United States leave even more room for unsafe abortions to take place. Most birth control options such as the pill, patch, depo shot and IUD also have a chance of failing, with sterilization options such as vasectomies, tubal ligations and even hysterectomies being one of the few effective ways to fully prevent pregnancy.
The concept of looking into sterilization procedures, let alone being childfree, is something that is widely criticized by people of different generations. However, many decide to be against having children due to the ongoing issues with climate change, inflation, socioeconomic factors and the general state of the world. People from the Gen Z and Millennial generations are actively taking the physical and emotional strain of giving birth and raising a child into account.
Another possibility to consider involves whether or not uterus owners can carry a fetus without long-term risks. People deemed healthy are susceptible to complications that could result in deciding between life and death. Looking into sterilization procedures stops the potential problems at the source and prevents that decision. Unfortunately, it is difficult to look for doctors who do tubal ligations and any sterilization procedures for healthy uterus owners. Doctors may argue that the risks of the procedure are too great, or turn people away due to their age. With the idea of having children being prevalent and ingrained into societal standards, there is heavy judgment toward people who decide not to have kids. Being turned away from medical professionals, however, is a traumatizing and exhausting cycle for people who strive to have that body autonomy. With this in mind, people find that vasectomies are easier to attain, resulting in the increased interest seen currently.
Being childfree and having an abortion might be considered selfish, and people will continue to critique those who do not conform to the cisgender, heteropatriarchal status quo that comes with living in countries such as the U.S. What is important to recognize is that not every person intends to become a parent or feels ready to take on the financial burden of raising a child just yet. This is why it is crucial to not only promote educational conversations about contraceptives, but also to approach the general topic with a level of acceptance to those who are not in the position to introduce a child into their lives.