Frustrated Demand for Sterilization among Low-Income Latinas in El Paso, Texas
Joseph E. Potter, University of Texas at Austin
Kari White, University of Texas at Austin
Kristine Hopkins, University of Texas at Austin
Sarah McKinnon, University of Texas at Austin
Michele G. Shedlin, New York University
Surgical sterilization is the most commonly used method of contraception in the US, yet access to this method is limited for some. We interviewed low-income oral contraceptive (OC) users in El Paso, Texas to assess unmet demand for sterilization among those with at least one child. As participants in the Border Contraceptive Access Study, they completed four interviews over nine months. Among those who reported not wanting more children (64%), the majority (72%) wanted to be sterilized. Eighteen months following the fourth interview, we re-contacted 158 women who reported wanting sterilization and found that only six had been able to get one, and two partners had obtained a vasectomy. Our findings underscore the limited access to a full range of methods for low-income women with public or no insurance in this Texas community, and point to the need to assess access to sterilization in other settings.