Nearly a decade ago, Smitha*, who lives with cerebral palsy, underwent a surgery to remove fibroids from her uterus. The doctors, at the time, asked if she wanted to get a hysterectomy — a procedure to surgically remove her uterus– done to help her ‘manage’ her period. Smitha, now in her forties, refused. Five years after her surgery, she had a health issue which led her to menstruate for a month at a stretch.
“My family questioned my decision to not get a hysterectomy earlier when I had the chance”, Smitha told Behanbox. “They would not have suggested this to someone with a similar health condition who was not disabled.”
Like Smitha, many women with disabilities are advised, or indeed coerced into surgical procedures under the pretext of convenience and physical safety, violating their bodily autonomy and consent over their sexual and reproductive rights, often by those closest to them.
Published on November 24, 2021