Permanent Sterilization in Nulliparous Patients: Is Legislative Anxiety an Indication for Surgery?

Catherine Hennessey, Camille Johnson, Hillary McLaren, Neha Bhardwaj, Katherine Rivlin, Julie Chor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


AbstractThe Supreme Court's Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization decision, first leaked to the public on 2 May 2022 and officially released on 24 June 2022, overturned Roe v. Wade and thereby determined that abortion is no longer a federally protected right under the Constitution. Instead, the decision gives individual states the right to regulate abortion. Since the Dobbs decision first leaked, our institution has received numerous requests for permanent contraception from individuals stating that their motivation to pursue permanent contraception was influenced by the Dobbs decision and concerns about their reproductive autonomy. Discussions with patients seeking permanent contraception since the Supreme Court's leaked decision have led us to ask ourselves, is legislative anxiety an indication for surgery? This article presents a case series consisting of a convenience sample of 17 young, nulliparous individuals who sought out permanent contraception in the six months following the leak of the Dobbs decision. Healthcare professionals often feel discomfort in offering permanent contraception to young and nulliparous individuals. Accordingly, we discuss pertinent legal issues, review relevant ethical considerations, and offer a framework for these discussions intended to empower the consulting healthcare professional to center the bodily autonomy of every patient regardless of age, parity, or indication for permanent contraception.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)320-327
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Clinical Ethics
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2023
Externally publishedYes


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