Thursday, May 20, 2010

Maloney Supports Hysterectomy Study, Not Pre-Consent Video

In response to a story I wrote for womensenews, U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney, a Democrat from Manhattan, issued a statement today clarifying her position on a video consent requirement.

The story appeared first with a headline saying she would "mull" introducing a law, when she had said only--as the story read--that she would ask the General Accountability Office to look into the matter. The headline caused something of a stir because, as I wrote in my last blog, gruesome pre-consent videos are being used by anti-choice advocates to persuade women not to have abortions.

For that reason, some pro-choice women's groups are just reflexively rejecting the concept of a hysterectomy video.

The headline has now been corrected, and here, for the record, is the statement issued by Maloney's press aide:
Congresswoman Maloney is not contemplating introducing a bill and, in fact, in response to a question from an audience member during the forum, made clear that she is considering looking into if GAO can do a study, not legislation. Indeed, she doesn’t like the idea of Congress mandating that a particular video should be shown prior to any medical procedure. Nonetheless, in 1978 and 1993, Congressional hearings highlighted the issue of unnecessary hysterectomies, and Congress does have a role to play in investigating the reasons why so many women are being encouraged to undergo hysterectomies when less invasive alternatives are often available, particularly since they can have a negative impact on women’s health.

I think that pro-choice women's groups should stop and consider the damage done by hysterectomies and removal of ovaries before they take a position on the video.

One reason avoidable hysterectomies are still being done in the hundreds of thousands every year is because malpractice lawsuits are ineffective against them in all but the most egregious cases. It's a classic catch-22: because so many doctors do them, it's considered standard practice, and juries won't find against doctors when they plead that all they did was what so many other doctors do. So on we go. It seems to me that unless women somehow get the information they need about the health risks of these procedures, surgeons will continue to do these operations despite the evidence against them.

As Rep. Maloney rightly asked, "Where's the outrage?"

1 comment:

DMPR said...

Frances, this issue wasn't at all on my radar but somehow, it's not really a surprise that women are being "overmedicalized." Thanks for writing about this.