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Sunday Morning Linkage – Health Discussions, Forced Sterilization, and More

December 9, 2007

I just learned of the blog “Cure This,” which seems to be hosting some interesting commentary on issues around health and healthcare.

One recent post addressed routine infant circumcision in the U.S., provoked by this physician commentary in U.S. News & World Report. Dr. Healy’s opinion piece includes this statement:

I caution parents, however, against delaying the decision until the child is old enough to decide for himself. Get real. Not many teenage boys would relish the discussion, let alone the act. Nor do I think they would have the perspective to weigh the medical pros and cons.

Just, wow. I can understand that this is a touchy subject among parents, and appreciate a weighing of the medical evidence (which, incidentally, I don’t think is thorough enough in the opinion piece). But to suggest that parents go ahead and circumcise their infant boys just because they don’t want to have an awkward conversation later? I have no words.

Likewise, this post on Cure This led me to another interesting blog I hadn’t seen before, “Mississippi Appendectomy,” which focuses on the history and current state of coercive sterilization. The About page explains that “Mississippi appendectomy” is:

A phrase made popular by Civil Rights leader Fannie Lou Hamer referring to involuntary sterilization procedures. Beginning during the heyday of the American eugenics movement (1920s and 1930s), poor black women were made subject to hysterectomies or tubal ligations against their will and without their knowledge. The practice was considered particularly frequent in the Deep South, although coercive sterilization practices took place in many areas of the country and also affected other women of color, women with physical disabilities whom physicians judged to be “unfit to reproduce,” and poor white women as well.

The site compiles news and stories of forced or coerced sterilization from the U.S. and beyond, and is well worth a look.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. December 9, 2007 2:32 pm

    Hi Rachel-

    Thanks so much for the linkup and help to get the word out there about my site.

    I’m really excited to know about your blog too. What a great resource!

  2. December 9, 2007 8:47 pm

    I was really upset when a fellow medical student casually mentioned sterilizing poor women as being “for their own good” and he lamented that it was not ethical, sounding like he regretted that.

    I was stunned, and I wish I had cornered him and given him a little history lesson. Luckily, I am pretty sure he is going into orthopedics.

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