March Against Unwarranted, Unconsented, Unwanted HysterectomiesIt is no secret that hysterectomy is one of the most-performed major surgeries in the country and is also one of the least necessary and most damaging. It is also no secret that there is widespread hysterectomy-related abuse by gynecologists and that the hospitals, legislators and other authorities who could rein in the maltreatment of women have failed to do so.
On March 27, 2004 in Birmingham, Alabama HERS initiated a year-long protest which was taken up by demonstrators at hospitals in 51 cities, one in each state of the country. The protest took place for a week in each city, and readings of UN BECOMING, a play by Rick Schweikert about the physical, political, economic, and social impact of hysterectomy, were presented in about half of those cities. The Protest & Play year culminated in a march on the Capitol in Washington DC in March 2005.
615,000 women were hysterectomized last year in the U.S. 76% of those women were castrated (her ovaries removed) during the surgery. The removed uterus and ovaries, however, are commonly found to be perfectly normal. What is worse, some women have never consented to the removal of any of these organs. And according to the HERS Foundation's Adverse Effects Data Bank, 99.7% percent of women in an ongoing study were given little or no prior information about the acknowledged adverse effects of hysterectomy information that is a legal requisite of consent.
No woman can be said to have given consent who is not first fully informed of all the alternatives to and consequences of hysterectomy.
Nora W. Coffey, HERS president, makes the point that doctors often frighten women into consenting and give them false and misleading information. "When a doctor tells a woman who manifests no sign of disease or illness that she will be protected against cancer by removal of her female organs, he is using a common scare tactic. And when a doctor tells an intact woman that after a hysterectomy she will be 'the same as before - only better' that is false and misleading."
The conspiracy of silence regarding these and other offenses that place women in harm's way were peeled away as abusive doctors and the hospital staffs and executives who shield them met demonstrators on American streets from Boston to Los Angeles, from Miami to Anchorage, protesting this unacceptable treatment of women.
Thousands of you took part in the Protest & Play campaign. Many of you have asked how you can get involved. Please make a donation today by clicking here or join our contact list by clicking here to join HERS in ending this surgical abuse of women.
Information about the play (unbecomingplay.com)
Hysterectomy alternatives and consequences (hersfoundation.com)
888.750.HERS 610.667.7757 HERS@hersfoundation.org