Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Was your last job with IHS?: A Feminist Rages

A friend of ours recently had an ultrasound done and found out she has a cyst. She shuffled off to the gynecologist to follow up and the following ensued--reconstructed from what I was told. (It is salient to note that she is African-American and of a lower socio-economic status.)

Dr: Do you have children?
Friend: Two.
Dr: Where do you work?
Friend: (insert low paying job here)
Dr: Okay, we need to go ahead and take out both ovaries and tubes as soon as possible. (He meant next week, and keep in mind here that he has no blood work, no biospy, and the ultrasound people told her to just come back in 6 months.) You already have two kids, and you don't need to bring anymore "into this society."

WHAT? This doctor has no reason whatsoever to think that the cyst requires any further scrutiny, and yet he suggested fairly radical surgery and told her only after asking about her job that she didn't need to have anymore. And this was not some weird, ancient clinic doc. No, he's part of a well-known and (I thought) well-respected women's health care group here in town. My first thought was of the sterilization of poor women of color on reservations and elsewhere. If she had been white or had a better paying job, would he have suggested this? My guess is no, no he would not.
Regardless of my own personal beliefs about overpopulation, etc., this is ridiculous and unacceptable. Aside from the fact that he immediately suggested surgery for something that may not even need any intervention, he took it upon himself to decide that she shouldn't have more children apparently based on nothing more than her race and SES. 2011, and we're still at this point...

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