Oct 4, 2023 - Health

Vasectomies up in Oregon since Roe vs. Wade overturned

A photo of a building with blue letters that reads "Planned Parenthood"

A Planned Parenthood clinic in Vancouver, Wash., which has seen a rise in vasectomy procedures. Photo courtesy of Planned Parenthood Columbia Willamette.

Vasectomies at clinics, hospitals and medical centers in Oregon and southwest Washington have increased since Roe vs. Wade was overturned last year, local health officials tell Axios.

Why it matters: The trend, which isn't isolated to the Pacific Northwest, could mark a shift in attitudes about a man's role in family planning.

Driving the news: Doctors across the country have reported surges in the procedure's popularity since the Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court in June 2022 ended the federal constitutional right to abortion.

  • In a study published earlier this year, researchers found a 35% increase in new vasectomy consultation requests since the Dobbs ruling.

What they're saying: Jason Hedges, an associate professor of urology in the Oregon Health & Science University's School of Medicine, performs 300 to 500 vasectomies per year but his practice is "booking out further than we used to," he tells Axios.

  • "It's always been one of the easiest and most successful forms of birth control. And we typically know from the past, when there are big social, political or economic events that can impact the frequency of vasectomies."
  • In a 2014 study he co-authored, Hedges and other researchers found vasectomies to be more common in times of economic recession, whereas vasectomy reversals rose during periods of less financial pressure.

Meanwhile, Planned Parenthood's East Portland, Milwaukie, Salem, Eugene, Bend, and Vancouver, Washington clinics have also seen more interest in the procedure, according to Jessica Keersemaker, vice president for patient services.

  • Right now, each location performs 20 to 40 vasectomies per month and has a waitlist of about 25 patients waiting to be scheduled.
  • Keersemaker said via email that this "is a long-term trend" and that to accommodate demand Planned Parenthood has quickly added additional capacity at its health centers.

Of note: Vasectomies can cost upwards of $1,000 for those without insurance, but are typically no cost for those with coverage, according to Hedges.

The intrigue: Abortion remains legal in Oregon and Washington, yet Hedges said many of the young men who have sought the vasectomy procedure from him in the last year — whether they are single or in a relationship — cite the fall of Roe for their decision.


Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Portland.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More Portland stories

No stories could be found


Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Portland.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more