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Women most likely to be sterilized also most likely to regret procedure, study finds

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July 19, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Women who are most likely to be sterilized are also more likely to regret their tubal ligation, according to a new study.

The study found that nearly one-in-four young women in rural areas had been surgically sterilized. Altogether, 39 percent of those women said they regreted their decision.

“Regret is a common response, sometimes within minutes of the decision,” Steve Koob, director of One More Soul Ministries in Dayton, Ohio, told LifeSiteNews.com. “Insurance typically covers sterilization, but only rarely the reversal.”

Women between the ages of 20 and 34 who live in rural areas were nearly twice as likely as those in urban or suburban settings to voluntarily sterilize themselves.

Using government data obtained from the 2006-2010 National Survey of Family Growth, researchers found that 23 percent of rural women had undergone a tubal ligation, as opposed to 13 percent of those in more populated regions. Thirty-seven percent of urban women who were sterilized said they wish they had not ended their fertility.

The rates of women who chose to have their “tubes tied” was highest among rural women without a high school education, where more than half (55 percent) had consented to the procedure. Only 26 percent of urban women without a high school degree had been permanently sterilized.

The high rate of sterilizations and later remorse among country women has experts questioning whether these young women fully comprehend what they are agreeing to do.

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"If they are women who genuinely understood they were being sterilized and desired sterilization, then I wouldn't have a concern," said Dr. Nikki Zite, from the University of Tennessee Graduate School of Medicine in Knoxville.

Some doctors aggressively promote tubal ligation to women they deem unworthy to reproduce.

News broke earlier this month that female inmates in the California penal system say Dr. James Heinrich and others repeatedly pressured them to end their fertile years, in ways that violated state law. Dr. Heinrich defended his work by asking people to consider “what you save in welfare paying for these unwanted children” whose mothers “procreated more.”

“It is a very sad fact that many women are pressured into a tubal ligation before, during, or immediately after delivery by greedy obstetricians,” Steve Koob told LifeSiteNews.

A study last December showed that five percent of women in India aged 15-49 wish they had not agreed to be sterilized.

A 2002 Guttmacher Institute survey found six percent of women still regretted their own or their partner's sterilization five years after the fact.

“The tubal cost us $30,” one such woman wrote. “It was the worst money I ever spent. The mental and emotional turmoil of self-induced infertility has been beyond difficult.”

“I have cried and grieved the loss of that part of myself for years,” she said.

A 1988 study found 21 percent of Puerto Rican women regretted being sterilized, “with 11% stating definite dissatisfaction with the decision.”

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