By Faith Karimi
July 25, 2022
(CNN) Jo Carden has always known she doesn’t want children.
The 26-year-old had considered sterilization in recent years but had not taken any steps. Then came the Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade, and she started spending her evenings searching online for surgeons who conduct the procedure on young people.
“I was afraid that it would be hard to find a doctor to perform a tubal ligation, as I am a young, single female in a red, conservative state,” said Carden, who lives in Irving, Texas.
She made numerous calls to gynecologists’ offices, only to find many were booked for the next few months. She finally found a consultation appointment, and is looking forward to getting the process started.
“Where I live, and in many of the surrounding states, the trigger laws in place have no exceptions, even for rape,” Carden said, referring to state laws prohibiting abortion that were set to take effect with the overturning of Roe v. Wade.
“Because of that,” she added, “I decided the best decision for me would be to control the things I can and have my tubes tied.”
Carden is not alone. Since the Supreme Court ruled that Americans no longer have a federal constitutional right to an abortion, several gynecologists tell CNN they’ve seen an increase in people requesting tubal ligation — a surgical procedure more commonly known as having one’s tubes tied.
The decision to get sterilized can raise personal and ethical questions, and for some people, it’s not an easy one. But women, non-binary and transgender people who have made up their minds not to have children say it’s a choice they want to feel free to pursue without pushback.
Some doctors turn down young people looking to be sterilized
The procedure, which involves surgically severing or sealing the fallopian tubes to prevent future pregnancies, is not easily reversible.
Research has found that a small proportion of women — between 1% and 26%, depending on different studies — regret the decision later in life, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Sterilization is a common form of contraception among married couples, but only about 4% of women in their 20s get their tubes tied, the CDC says. Women who were young when they were sterilized reported higher rates of regret.
Because of that, doctors sometimes turn down young people seeking sterilization.
DeAndra Childress, 33, told CNN she has tried several times to get her tubes tied. But she said four different doctors refused to perform the procedure on the grounds that she may regret the decision later in life.
“I was told I was too young, no kids, not married, may get married later, and I should wait til I have a husband,” she said. “All methods to control my body. It infuriates me.”
Now, the medical technologist from Spring, Texas, is more determined than ever to not have children in a post-Roe v. Wade world. She’s discovered a list, circulating on social media, with the names of doctors who perform the procedure on young women, and is researching the ones closest to her. She plans to schedule an appointment soon.
“I am hoping that with this change, the doctors will be more open to doing these procedures for unwed, non-parent women,” Childress said of the Supreme Court’s ruling.
“I have been on the fence about children for years, but I decided to not have them until I was sure about it so I don’t ruin a child’s life,” she said. “Roe v. Wade feels like an ultimate slap to the face for women, and it is completely about control.