Surgical sterilization, regret, and race: Contemporary patterns

Karina M. Shreffler, Julia McQuillan, Arthur L. Greil, David R. Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


Surgical sterilization is a relatively permanent form of contraception that has been disproportionately used by Black, Hispanic, and Native American women in the United States in the past. We use a nationally representative sample of 4592 women ages 25-45 to determine whether sterilization continues to be more common and consequential by race for reproductive-age women. Results indicate that Native American and Black women are more likely to be sterilized than non-Hispanic White women, and Hispanic and Native American women are more likely than non-Hispanic White women to report that their sterilization surgeries prevent them from conceiving children they want. Reasons for sterilization differ significantly by race. These findings suggest that stratified reproduction has not ended in the United States and that the patterns and consequences of sterilization continue to vary by race.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-45
Number of pages15
JournalSocial Science Research
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Ethnicity
  • Race
  • Regret
  • Reproduction
  • Sterilization
  • Stratification


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