Women aren’t the only ones worrying about contraception access (and bodily autonomy) during the years of a Trump administration that lie ahead.
I've scheduled my vasectomy for tomorrow. And in 4 years I'll get it reversed. I'm not bringing a kid into a world where Trump is president.
— Scott Allen (@flannelpajamroz) November 9, 2016
Trump is my president and I'm getting a vasectomy.
— Nicholas McCann (@Nicholas_McCann) November 15, 2016
While lots of women are clamoring to get an intrauterine device (IUD) or other form of long-acting reversible contraception while the Affordable Care Act (ACA) still includes the mandate for contraception coverage, some people are wondering if it wouldn’t be more prudent for men to step up and consider their part in the birth control equation and get a vasectomy. (And the timing couldn’t be better, with tomorrow being World Vasectomy Day.)
A lot of talk about getting IUDs before Trump is inaugurated. Men: also consider vasectomy. Or are we going to put this all on women again?
— Eldan Goldenberg (@eldang) November 9, 2016
Tomorrow is world vasectomy day, yay! For all those shouting at women to go get IUDs here's a better solution.
— Lauren Chief Elk (@ChiefElk) November 17, 2016
After all, the Trump administration might implement some substantial changes in access to reproductive health care, meaning that some men worried about the future of bodily autonomy are shouting their vasectomies in the face of threats to abortion rights.
Glad I got that vasectomy on Obamacare last year.
— Brett Nordquist (@Akula) November 9, 2016
— @pukethisbeer (@pukethisbeer) November 12, 2016
When Trump won Wisconsin my wife looked deep into my eyes and asked "now will you pleeeaasse go get a vasectomy?" and I said "yes."
— Caramel Net (@greatseamonster) November 9, 2016
Wife: "Make your vasectomy appt NOW!"
Me: "Why now?"
Wife: Because I'm not risking bringing another kid into this world with Trump as Prez."
— Aaron Gouveia (@DaddyFiles) November 9, 2016
Yet most men don’t think about contraception, an economic and health factor that tends to most heavily lie on the shoulders of women. And when it comes to sterilization — whether vasectomy for men or tubal ligation for women — the U.S. bucks the ratios exhibited in Canada and the United Kingdom, countries that are culturally and economically similar to the U.S. In the U.K. and Canada, the vasectomy rate is more than double the tubal ligation rate, but in the United States, the opposite holds true, with two times as many women seeking sterilization than men.
But men now thinking about vasectomies after election night aren’t total outliers: An analysis of the data from consumer health care company Amino found that of the 347,000 men in its database who had received vasectomies in 2013 and 2016, the median age for these men was 38, but almost one-third of them were under the age of 35. (We see you, millennials.)
It’s worth pointing out that, according to WebMD, success rates for vasectomy reversal — reattaching the “tubes” that are severed during the procedure — depend on how much time has passed between the vasectomy and the reversal. Over time, additional blockages can form, and some men develop antibodies to their own sperm. It is an outpatient procedure that usually takes two to four hours.
Another key data point from Amino? The national median network rate for a vasectomy is $2,500, though the procedure can cost as little as $1,500 in states like Alabama and Tennessee and over $3,500 in places like Connecticut in Hawaii. (In comparison, tubal ligation — or a woman “having her tubes tied” — can cost as much as $6,000.)
But still, this amount could pale in comparison to what women may pay for birth control over a lifetime, especially if the birth control mandate in the ACA is taken away in the Trump administration’s promised dismantling of the health care legislation. Without this zero-cost coverage mandate, women can expect to pay $20 to $50 per month for birth control pills, even with insurance, or $240 to $600 for contraception each year. In other words, even an “expensive vasectomy” would cost less than what many women will pay for birth control pills over the course of just six years. And with 61 million women in the United States of childbearing age and 20 million of those women in need of publicly funded contraceptive services — and with many women needing some form of contraception for several decades — the cost burden of contraception placed on women, and often women alone, is hardly insignificant.