Archive for November 2010
Some Days It Feels Like Square One
In Chile, HIV-positive women are lied to and coerced into consenting to sterilization. They are often reprimanded for ever becoming pregnant or desiring pregnancy. They are told that there is no hope for a healthy child (a blatant lie, given that the risk of HIV transmission can be reduced to just 2-5% with medical interventions). In many cases, women are refused counseling and basic information about the procedure. In others, the procedure is performed during cesarean delivery without the woman's knowledge or consent.

“I learned that they had sterilized me at the time of the cesarean when I awoke from anesthesia a few hours later. I was in the recovery room at the Hospital of Curic√≥ when [the nurse] entered and, after asking me how I was feeling, told me that I was sterilized and that I would not be able to have any more children,” Francisca explained. “They treated me like I was less than a person. It was not my decision to end my fertility; they took it away from me.”
-- Francisca

This is what can happen when women's rights are treated as a function of their reproductive status. And it's not by any means the only result: in the United States, women are being compelled - by their hospitals, and sometimes by court order - to submit to c-sections that they have not consented to. The rationale? Forcing surgery on an unwilling patient is sometimes acceptable if she's pregnant.

Except no, it's not. Women don't drop their basic human rights at the door when they become pregnant, or at any point along the way. At no point to their medical decisions belong to someone else simply because they have a different take on the ethics of the situation. It's important that we remember where this sort of thinking has taken us - and to fight it.

By Triptrain with 0 comments