Oklahoma’s anti-abortion laws spur greater demand for vasectomies
OKLAHOMA CITY — When Oklahoma City urologist Dr. Basel Hassoun saw the news last summer that the U.S. Supreme Court had overturned Roe v. Wade, he never expected the ruling could impact his job.
But about six months after the high court’s decision, he began to see an uptick in the number of patients seeking a vasectomy.
Hassoun, who founded Urology Surgeons of Oklahoma and has practiced in Oklahoma City for nearly 30 years, used to perform the procedure about three or four times a month.
Now, he performs vasectomies about three or four times each week.
Oklahoma health care providers say there’s been an increase in demand for vasectomies since the Supreme Court overturned long-standing abortion protections with its Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision last summer. After the court’s ruling, Oklahoma banned all abortions except those necessary to preserve the life of a pregnant woman in a medical emergency.
Hassoun said his patients are trending older, too. Before, many of the men seeking vasectomies were in their 30s. Now, it’s predominantly men in their 40s or 50s who don’t want to run the risk that their partner gets pregnant, he said.
“We’re seeing more and more vasectomies being done, especially after the Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe v. Wade,” Hassoun said. He said the increase in demand for the procedure seems to stem solely from changes in the state’s abortion laws.
Vasectomies are covered by most health insurance companies, but reversals typically aren’t, Hassoun said. He said he advises his patients to think of a vasectomy as a permanent procedure, and not something that can be reversed.
Partly as a result of the increased demand for vasectomies, the Planned Parenthood clinic in Oklahoma City will begin offering the procedure for the first time next month.
Planned Parenthood Great Plains intended to begin offering vasectomies a couple of years ago, but that timeline was pushed back as the organization focused on the fight for abortion access, said Emily Wales, the group’s president and CEO.
Clinics saw an outpouring of requests for additional birth control options after the Dobbs decision, Wales said. More women began seeking out long-acting contraceptives, like IUDs, and more men began considering a vasectomy, she said.
“In this moment where it’s pretty dark for sexual and reproductive rights, it’s really exciting to have a new service available, and one that we are getting all kinds of questions and requests for,” Wales said. “We’re very happy to support the community in a new way.”
Planned Parenthood began offering the procedure at its Tulsa clinic over the summer, and currently has a waitlist of men looking to schedule a vasectomy, Wales said. Clinics already see male patients for various services, including testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections.
To launch its program in Oklahoma City, Planned Parenthood offered free vasectomies over the course of two days coming up in October, appointments that were quickly booked. Now, the clinic is beginning to schedule regular consultations and appointments.
The cost of the procedure can vary. Typically, Planned Parenthood charges about $750 total for the consultation, procedure and follow-up care, Wales said. Most or all of those costs may be covered by health insurance. Financial assistance is also available through the clinic, she said.
“Long term, the plan is to just have it be a regular service that you can count on at Planned Parenthood,” Wales said.