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Planned Parenthood expands vasectomy services to increase birth control options after abortion ban

A procedure room with a table and medical equipment. On the wall is a post explaining sexual and reproductive anatomy.
Abigail Ruhman
IPB News
The centers are providing vasectomy services in the spaces previously used for abortion care before Indiana’s near-total abortion ban.

More people are seeking vasectomies following the overturn of Roe v. Wade — and Planned Parenthood centers want to meet that demand in more parts of the state. Planned Parenthood will offer vasectomy services at four locations across Indiana.

It already offers vasectomy services at the Hammond and Mishawaka locations. The organization announced the Fort Wayne health center will have the option available beginning Thursday, and the Georgetown Road location in Indianapolis will have the service available by the end of March.

Kalli Weiner manages the Planned Parenthood Georgetown health center. She wants to expand how the location can help people now that it can’t provide abortion care.

“We're looking at patients who have already had kids or who have just made the decision that they do not want kids, and that seems like a better option to some than to risk having an unwanted pregnancy,” Weiner said.

The centers are providing vasectomy services in the spaces previously used for abortion care before Indiana’s near-total abortion ban. The procedure will be done in the same rooms. Patients will then go into the “recovery room” to be monitored.

Weiner said the recovery room was primarily used by patients after an abortion and the staff can find it difficult to be in there now.

“It has definitely been a difficult process to kind of not only deal with [the loss of abortion services] ourselves emotionally, but the patients are coming to us emotional about the loss of this,” Weiner said.

The clinic expects to utilize the space more with the expansion, which Weiner said would help the somber feelings about the room.

Alexis McGill Johnson, president of Planned Parenthood, said reproductive health care is becoming harder to access and this is a “critical time” for this expansion. This is a national effort by the organization to include men and other sperm-producing patients in conversations about reproductive care.

“It's both kind of matching the care need along with kind of their voice and how they want to express their support to their partners to, you know, throughout their politics and, and how they want to engage to support,” Johnson said.

Planned Parenthood is the largest provider of sexual and reproductive care nationally. Johnson said this creates a particular kind of expertise that patients want from providers when they request these services.

“Planned Parenthood represents trust, right?,” Johnson said. “I think that's the currency of health care.”

The demand for services is growing nationally, but the recent ban has brought this to the forefront for Indiana. However, the ban isn’t the only factor.

READ MORE: Indiana 'poster child' for national health system's obstetrics closure trend says researcher

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Haley Bougher, state director of Indiana for Planned Parenthood, said Indiana’s maternal mortality rate is an additional stressor and contributes to the growing demand for vasectomy services.

“Childbearing in Indiana is more dangerous than a lot of jobs that are perceived to be dangerous, like being a cop or military,” Bougher said.

While the services have been available at centers in northern Indiana, there was a higher demand in the state’s largest city.

Marcy Smith, area services director for central Indianapolis and northern Indiana, said patients will now be able to come in or call the health center to schedule a consultation and appointment in Indianapolis.

“While we were offering the services up north, it wasn't convenient for our patients in the surrounding area to travel several hours away,” Smith said.

Smith said the center is expected to provide 11 procedures on specific days. If appointments are available, patients could even have a same-day or next-day appointments.

Abigail is our health reporter. Contact them at aruhman@wboi.org.

Abigail Ruhman covers statewide health issues. Previously, they were a reporter for KBIA, the public radio station in Columbia, Missouri. Ruhman graduated from the University of Missouri School of Journalism.