Dear Assembly Speaker Carl B. Heastie and Assemblymember Richard N. Gottfried,
I am glad to learn that reproductive rights bills have passed.
However, I’m very surprised to learn something about the reproductive rights legislation I had never imagined—namely that it covers abortion only within 24 weeks, and only for fetal nonviability or serious risk to a woman’s life or health. In other words, if a woman finds she is pregnant but feels she cannot handle childbearing at this time emotionally or financially, and that is the only drawback, she is not covered. That to me means she still does not have the right to choose at all. What is covered by the Reproductive Health Act is such an obviously necessary thing I can’t understand why there was ever a debate about it, why for years there was so much resistance on any side at all. All the hoopla always seemed to be about a woman’s right to choose whether to carry an unborn child to term or not, and only that. I thought Roe v. Wade was about that. Now I find out it wasn’t. I’m very surprised indeed. There still has to be a debate about the meaning of an unborn child, and whether or not an abortion should be a matter of choice. We STILL have that matter to resolve.
But another issue has never seriously even been raised at all. It should always have been included in any discussion of women’s reproductive healthcare rights. Dick Gottfried, I think I’ve written you about this before: unnecessary hysterectomies. Almost all hysterectomies are unnecessary, and they all cause lifelong harm that should be borne only when necessary to save women’s lives. Very many tragedies and anguish have been caused by this. Doctors lie about this, and push hysterectomies at women. I recall vividly the lies doctors told me years ago when I had a serious fibroid problem. Finally I had the alternative surgery they never suggested as a possibility. I’m grateful I still have my uterus and ovaries. I could celebrate that any time.
Politicians (that includes the two of you) and women’s groups are completely silent about it. I’ve written about this to politicians and women’s groups so many times.
For more information, please see www.hersfoundation.org.
So—what are you going to do for real justice to women, after the champagne corks have been popped and the elegant celebratory spreads of cheese and strawberries have been savored? What is your path ahead?
—Carol F. Yost