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How one Vermont photographer is taking his reproductive health into this own hands in response to the Roe V. Wade decision

A person kneels near a speaker, holding a camera and looks off into the distance.
Ben Collins
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Courtesy
Luke Awtry is a Vermont music photographer and musician. He recently snapped photos for an event that raised funds for safe reproductive care. After putting it off for years, he decided to schedule a vasectomy.

With the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, the constitutional right to abortion has been gutted. Instead, abortion access will be handled on a state-by-state basis. The ruling triggered abortion bans in some states. In Vermont, it remains legal.

More from NPR News: 6 political questions after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade

Since the decision, many Vermonters have shared their reactions in public protests and on social media.

Vermont photographer and musician Luke Awtry decided to schedule a vasectomy. Vermont Public's Mary Engisch recently spoke with Awtry about his decision.

Note: This piece was produced for the ear. We recommend listening to the audio if you can. Transcripts are generated using a combination of speech recognition software and human transcribers. They may contain errors, so please check the corresponding audio before quoting in print. Some parts have been edited for clarity.

Hello, my name is Luke Autry. And I'm a Burlington-based music photographer and musician.

Just this week, I finally made the decision to go through with scheduling a vasectomy.

I have no children. I'm the youngest of eight. I am 42 years old and was an uncle at four years old. So as you can imagine, I have a large amount of nieces and nephews.

I had been considering getting a vasectomy for a while. I thought that I would get one for my 40th birthday. And then the pandemic hit.

Truth be told, I've kind of been using that as an excuse to not get one, even though I made the decision that I didn't want children quite a long time ago.

Events that have happened recently — not just the overturning of Roe v. Wade, which is just something I never imagined would happen — but also just events in my personal life related to seeing my partner have to deal with birth control and its many forms on a regular, if not daily basis, pretty much made me get to the point to realize due to the nature of the procedure it really, it's just not a not a big deal.

It's really no concern of mine. The percentage of reversibility of it, though that percentage is high, it's very little concern of mine — the continuation of my bloodline so to speak. That has very much been taken care of already by my siblings.

But the reality is, the amount of effort required on my part to mitigate the situation of an unwanted pregnancy, versus what is now in most states required for a partner of mine to do so, the math just doesn't add up for me anymore.

The amount of stress I've seen it causes in female friends and partners of mine, and just in general, the decision finally came to a point where it was easy for me to make.

And I went ahead and I made the appointment this week. And I'm looking forward to Sept. 13th. Honestly, I would do it today, if they would let me.

But the reality is, the amount of effort required on my part to mitigate the situation of an unwanted pregnancy, versus what is now in most states required for a partner of mine to do so, the math just doesn't add up for me anymore.
Luke Awtry

In regards to the Supreme Court, I don't really know what to say. I'm disappointed, I'm mad. We're on radio. I can't really fully express how I feel. I do have some strong language that I would use, if given that platform, too.

It just blows my mind that that it has circled back to this and that in 2022 women once again have to be scared about this.

And what comes next? That is another scary part for me. And really should be terrifying to everybody.

If you see me and want to talk about it, hit me up.

All of our situations are different. I realized that we all should have the choice to make these decisions.

Have questions, comments or tips? Send us a message or get in touch by tweeting us @vermontpublic.

Mary Engisch is the host and reporter for Weekend Edition Saturday and Weekend Edition Sunday on VPR.
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