In Reproductive Rights

Advocates for humane, respectful treatment of women receiving reproductive health care take note: The current issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine includes a commentary, “Our Family Secrets,” in which the physician author reveals a dark side of medical treatment almost always concealed from public view: grossly sexually inappropriate and racist behavior by physicians toward women undergoing reproductive health care and, although he doesn’t say so explicitly, the lack of consequences for it. He does this because, as he concludes his commentary, “I know this is my silence to break.” Improving Birth follows up with their own commentary by Cristen Pascucci, “Improving Birth/Consumers Welcome Recognition by Medical Community of Disrespect and Abuse in Childbirth.”  While commending Annals of Internal Medicine editors for bringing this issue to light, Pascucci makes the vital point that incidents such as the two the commentator describe are not one-offs or extreme examples but rather a widespread, largely ignored, systemic issue in women’s reproductive health care. 

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