A Texas women’s clinic says it has had dozens of sterilization requests since Friday.
Tubal ligation is a common procedure in which both fallopian tubes are blocked.
dr. Tyler Handcock told Insider he expected even more requests with Roe v. Wade destroyed.
A women’s health clinic in Austin, Texas, has received dozens of requests for permanent sterilization after Friday’s Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark decision that established a constitutional right to abortion.
After the Women’s Health Domain closed for the weekend Friday night, it received 109 new patient requests, most of them for tubal ligation or permanent sterilization.
dr. Tyler Handcock, an OB-GYN who runs the practice, told Insider he was incredulous, considering the clinic has only been open for about a month.
“I feel they’re scared, they’re anxious, they’re nervous,” he said of his patients. “They are afraid that other rights will be taken away. Maybe they are afraid that contraception in general will be taken away later. So they want to settle this now because they feel that no one is supporting them.”
In the coming weeks, reproductive rights in Texas will change dramatically. The state has introduced a “trigger law” prohibiting abortions from the moment of conception. It will take effect 30 days after the Supreme Court ruling. While the trigger law prohibits prosecuting a person who undergoes an abortion, earlier this year a 26-year-old Texas woman was charged with murder for a “self-induced abortion.”
Texas will also offer some exemptions intended to save a pregnant person’s life or prevent “significant impairment of important bodily functions,” which is why more Texas residents are weighing their reproductive health options.
From one or two requests to over a hundred
Handcock said most requests for tubal ligation came from people in their 20s. Before Friday, he said it was normal for the clinic to receive one to two requests per week regarding this procedure.
Tubal ligation is a common procedure in which both fallopian tubes are blocked. Its benefits are almost zero ectopic pregnancies — where a fertilized egg implants itself outside the uterus — and it may also reduce the risk of ovarian cancer.
The surgery consists of a small 5-millimeter laparoscopic incision, but Handcock says it requires complex guidance before surgery because it’s not reversible.
“The biggest risk is the risk of regret,” he told Insider.
That’s why, Handcock said, his clinic has conversations with patients about the procedure, even asking them on the day of surgery if they’re sure they want it.
“If we have a patient who is 25 years old and wants to get permanent birth control, that’s all good,” he said. “Let’s talk about it, and let’s look at your options. It’s safe, it’s ethical, it’s legal, but there’s a risk of regret. And the younger you are, the greater the risk of regret, of course.”
The procedure is covered by Medicare and Medicaid and anyone over 21 can access it.
“I think if it happens here, that means it happens everywhere else.”
Handcock said the practice would do its best to accommodate all requests by working longer hours and making group appointments to see as many patients as possible.
Handcock expects more requests and believes other clinics like his are answering calls about this procedure.
“I think if it’s happening here, that means it’s happening everywhere else,” he told Insider. “Red or blue, I think people are afraid because this is all a human rights issue that has been taken away. And I think people are really afraid of other human rights that are being eroded, whether it be minority rights, gay rights. I think we are all be in danger.”
Most of the patients Handcock sees who want permanent sterilization have already had children and have completed labor, but he expects this to change in light of the Supreme Court’s decision.
“I think it’s going to be a huge shift with this thunderous change in our society from Friday where we’re going to see patients who have never had children asking for permanent sterilization,” he said. “And I think that’s okay. I’m also an advocate for them.”
Read the original article on Business Insider