Question 31



Dear Friend of Life, 

The April 2007 edition of the Journal of Reproductive Medicine -- a major mainstream OB/GYN medical journal -- has published our paper showing that tubal ligation is harmful to two key measures of the sexual function of women (Warehime, M. N., Bass, L. and Pedulla, D.  Effects of Tubal Ligation Among American Women; J Reprod Med 2007; 52:263-272).   

Using the Natural Health and Social Life Survey, an unimpeachable national health and sexual functioning survey authored by the University of Chicago, my colleagues from the University of Oklahoma Department of sociology and I found that women who have had a tubal ligation, as compared with women who had not had a tubal ligation, were more than 2 times as likely to report stress interfering with sex over the previous 12 months, and 1.79 times as likely to report having seen a physician about sexual problems within the previous 12 months.    

These robust results were likely not to be spurious because they persisted after controlling for a variety of potentially confounding demographic and health data, which also showed that the findings were not directly attributable to physical and/or medical complications of the sterilization procedure itself.  We speculate that tubal ligation alters the interpersonal bond between the marriage partners, probably through an interference with the type of interpersonal trust required for happy and secure spousal bonding in marriage.  Also, very consistent with the previously published literature, tubal ligation likely causes damage to a woman's body image. 

We naturally felt that this paper should have at least a significant impact on women's family planning decisions, and on the wider dialogue about women's health issues.  This notwithstanding, and despite securing the services of a skilled publicist, all of the major media our publicist contacted decided in the end not to report the publication of our study. One Wall St Journal writer even asked our publicist if the paper was religiously motivated!

Women should however learn the truth about these damaging and harmful procedures, and if they cannot learn it through the major media outlets, then perhaps we ourselves can disseminate the findings as widely as possible, thereby at least doing what we can to spread the news; we believe, good news. 

Please consider whether you feel called or can find the time to send this message to as many people on your list as possible.  Anybody with access to a medical library can order the paper directly as well.  I am grateful in advance for any help you can give, and can imagine that it will be enormously useful to the many women potentially dissuaded from harming themselves in the future through sterilization.  

Sincerely yours, 
Dominic M. Pedulla MD, FACC, CNFPMC, ABVM, ACPh

Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine, OU Health Sciences Center 
Medical Director, The Oklahoma Vein and Endovascular Center 
President, The Edith Stein Foundation.