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UNITED KINGDOM, November 23, 2015 (LifesiteNews) – One of Britain's more populous health authorities is cutting vasectomies from its list of funded procedures as part of an economy drive.

The Mid Essex Clinical Commissioning Group listed the male sterilization procedure along with hearing aids for milder cases of hearing loss, prescriptions for gluten-free food, and physiotherapy for hard to verify musculoskeletal problems as items longer to be funded by the National Health Service for some 389,000 people in the Essex  communities of Maldon, Braintree, and Chelmsford.

The administrative body figures to save more than £15 million with all the cuts, £356,000 of that by requiring male patients to pay for their own vasectomies or find other methods of contraception.

Essex's fertility rate is about 1.89 babies per woman, the same as the United Kingdom's as a whole, and well below the replacement rate of just over 2 babies.

The commissioning group offered no justification for putting each item on its hit list other than the relative ease with which patients could secure alternative services privately. A private vasectomy, it said, could be obtained for as cheaply as £285.

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