Vasectomies as an 'act of love'? Scholar fears population control agenda at play

A demonstrator holds up a placard during a demonstration against Poland's near-total ban on abortion in Berlin, Germany, on Nov. 7, 2020. |

Amid heightened debates over abortion jurisprudence, an increase in men undergoing vasectomies is manifesting with the urological surgeries being promoted as “acts of love.” However, one scholar contends that promoting vasectomies in response to abortion restrictions reveals an ideological underbelly.  

The Washington Post reported Monday that in light of an abortion case that was recently argued before the U.S. Supreme Court that has the potential to change abortion legal precedent in the country, there has been an uptick in social activity suggesting that vasectomies are a way men can show solidarity. 

The case Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which was argued in early December and centered on the legality of Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban, will likely determine whether Roe v. Wade, the 1973 landmark ruling that found abortion is a constitutional right guaranteed under the 14th Amendment, will continue to stand. 

In addition to the Dobbs case, there has been much scrutiny of a new Texas heartbeat law passed this year that restricts abortions as early as six weeks into a pregnancy. Since the passing of the Texas law, doctors in Texas say they have seen an uptick in men seeking vasectomies. 

Koushik Shaw, a doctor at the Austin Urology Institute in Texas, told the newspaper that his practice saw an approximately 15% increase in scheduled vasectomies since Texas Senate Bill 8 went into effect on Sept. 1.

Shaw said it was the first time he had seen patients citing a state statute as the reason for their appointments. 

In response to the Texas ban, lawmakers in a few states — Alabama, Illinois and Pennsylvania — put forward bills that have no chance of passing but emphasize a similar point.

Among such legislators is Pennsylvania state Rep. Chris Rabb, a Democrat, who introduced “parody” legislation in response to the Texas law. Rabb’s proposal would require men to have vasectomies when they turn 40 or after the birth of their third child, whichever comes first. The legislation provided for enforcement by allowing Pennsylvanians to report men who failed to comply and those who report them obtain a monetary award of $10,000.

In an email to The Christian Post Tuesday, Jennifer Roback Morse, founder of the Louisiana-based Christian coalition Ruth Institute and the author of The Sexual State: How Elite Ideologies are Destroying Lives, noted that Rabb’s “parody” bill was revealing.

By declaring this as a parody bill, “he inadvertently disclosed that limiting population is the real goal of so-called reproductive rights,” Morse, a socially conservative Catholic who also serves as a senior fellow in economics at the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty, said. 

“How are mandatory limitations on births a parody of protecting innocent life in the womb? The parody only makes sense if the point of abortion is not ‘choice’ or ‘rights’ but reducing population.”

Also revealing, she argues, is Rabb’s comment in a memo about that bill that as long as states restrict abortions, there should be concurrent laws that address men who impregnate them.

Rabb’s bill would have codified “wrongful conception” to include when a person has demonstrated negligence toward preventing conception during sex, according to the memo.

“He is revealing his assumption that everyone is entitled to presume that their sexual activity will be sterile. The ‘default’ setting is that sex does not have anything to do with making babies,” Morse contends. “This Contraceptive Ideology makes war on the healthy normal connection between sex and babies.”

Rabb recounted in an interview with The Washington Post published Sunday that he received death threats and hate mail full of “vitriol.”

“The notion a man would have to endure or even think about losing bodily autonomy was met with outrage when every single day women face this and it’s somehow OK for the government to invade the uteruses of women and girls, but it should be off-limits if you propose vasectomies or limit the reproductive rights of men,” he said.

Morse pushed back on his line of thinking, stating that the population control aspect is evident in the proposal. 

“The government of Texas is not ‘invading the uteruses of women and girls.’ Pro-life laws are trying to outlaw private killings,” she maintains. 

In 1976, the Supreme Court held in Planned Parenthood v. Danforth that the father’s consent was not needed for a pregnant woman to obtain an abortion, primarily based on the risk of violence and coercion in a relationship. 

The coercion, however, also happens on the abortion side, Morse stresses, noting that many men want to keep having sex without considering the responsibility of being a father. 

“Undercover pro-life journalists have documented Planned Parenthood’s willingness to look the other way when presented with evidence of coercion,” she said.

Doctors have promoted vasectomies as “an act of love that benefits yourself, your partner, your family and our future.” 

Dr. Doug Stein, a Florida urologist known as the “Vasectomy King,” co-founded the annual World Vasectomy Day in 2013 along with filmmaker Jonathan Stack. Stack told The Washington Post that the men should be fighting just as hard for legalized abortion as women. 

“The quality of life for millions of men will be adversely affected if this right is taken from women,” he argued. 

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