JOPLIN, Mo (AP) — Denny Dalliance had long worried about what would happen if he fathered a child because his job as a truck driver keeps him away from home most of the week.
But after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v Wade in June, the 31-year-old Independence, Missouri, man decided it was time to take action, and jumped at the chance to sign up for a free vasectomy.
A vasectomy involves cutting and sealing the tube that carries sperm, preventing it from entering ejaculate fluid. Most patients are fully recovered in a couple of days.
“I don’t want to come off as though I’m like unhappy to be doing this, but this is a situation where my hand kind of got forced with regards to the Roe v. Wade decision,” said Dalliance.
The vasectomy Dalliance is scheduled to get next month is part of an effort that involves Planned Parenthood and a physician with a mobile vasectomy clinic. Sixty vasectomies will be offered over three days, in and outside Planned Parenthood clinics in Joplin, Springfield and St. Louis to uninsured patients during the first week of November amid what the clinics say is a surge in demand for the procedure.
Dalliance said he didn’t want to place the responsibility of birth control on partners anymore, especially with abortions harder to get. His home state of Missouri was among the first in the country with a trigger law in effect to ban abortions at any point in pregnancy.
“I feel like that, with the extreme cost involved with having a child in the United States, I kind of got priced out. So this is me cashing out my chips as it were. It’s the right ethical decision for me, but it’s not one that’s made lightly,” said Dalliance.
Dr. Esgar Guarin then plans to take his mobile clinic (a vehicle decorated with large images of sperm that his friends have jokingly dubbed the “Nutcracker”) on the road the following week to offer 40 more free vasectomies in several towns across Iowa. Dr. Guarin also plans to offer discounted vasectomies that month at his regular clinic in the Des Moines area.
The efforts are part of “World Vasectomy Day,” originally a single-day event that now includes a year-round focus and a host of activities in November.
“It’s a very particular moment in reproductive rights in the United States. And we need to talk about it,” said Dr. Guarin, adding that vasectomies are performed far less often than the tubal ligation method of female sterilization, even though they are cheaper, have a shorter recovery time and require local, rather than general, anesthesia.
Dr. Guarin, who serves on the medical advisory board for World Vasectomy Day, helped offer vasectomies last year at the Planned Parenthood in St. Louis to raise awareness about the procedure. The effort was so popular that the decision was made to expand it to other cities.
Dr. Margaret Baum, the medical director of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri, will be partnering with Dr. Guarin to provide the free vasectomies. She has had many conversations with patients about permanent sterilization in recent months and said there is a sense of urgency.
Planned Parenthood, for instance, doesn’t have national sterilization numbers available for this year, yet. However, its national web page has seen a 53% increase in vasectomy information searches over the past 100 days, a spokesperson said.
Dr. Arnold Bullock, a St. Louis urologist who does about 35 vasectomies a month, said that before the Supreme Court decision, patients waited about a month for the procedure, while the wait now is two to three months.
Data from Google Trends shows that searches about vasectomies briefly spiked after the leak of the draft majority opinion in the Dobbs case, but then reached their highest level in the days after the Supreme Court released its decision in late June.
(Associated Press writers, John Hanna (Topeka, Kansas) and Heather Hollingsworth authored the original news story, which you can find, HERE. News Researcher, Jennifer Farrar (New York) contributed to this report)