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Lying Liars Who Lie (About Reproductive Health)

August 6, 2008

I’ve come across several blog entries recently that recount stories of women being lied to by their healthcare providers and/or being lectured on the basis of their provider’s personal values. Now, of course I would never say that this is true of all or even most providers, and I’ve had a few excellent providers myself. I can’t say that I can recall one ever lying to me. I can recall a nurse shouting what I was there for (a repro health thing) across a crowded waiting room, an endocrinologist dismissing my extreme fatigue (that turned out to be a very serious thyroid issue) by saying, “Ask all my nurses, they’re tired, too,” and an ob/gyn talking to my mom about everything I said to him without informing me. Grrr.

In any case, I think it’s important to note that these things *do* happen, and you don’t have to stand for it. You can ask for another provider. You can speak up for yourself. You can file a complaint with your insurance provider, Medicaid, state boards, etc. Real Simple offers further suggestions.

First up is a post on Feministing’s new community blogs, entitled My Gynecology Nurse Lied. The author was going in for her second Gardasil shot, and the nurse basically tried to tell her (incorrectly) that condoms are no good for STI prevention because viruses are small. The nurse then told her that “Women shouldn’t have sex like men.” Nice.

Now, moving away from “real” healthcare providers… In the comments of an RHRealityCheck piece by Heather Corrina on crisis pregnancy centers, a couple of commenters report on their experiences with the agenda-driven centers.

One reports that she mistakenly visited one of the centers, where she was told she needed to forge a personal relationship with Jesus, and (inaccurately) that if she had an abortion she would probably get breast cancer. Another was convinced to have an ultrasound (complete with “Hello, Mommy!” caption attached to the display). This is a common tactic of CPCs, convinced that women don’t actually know what they’re doing when they seek abortions, but it didn’t catch the ectopic pregnancy that sent the commenter to the emergency room – when she showed the CPC ultrasound to the hospital tech, they immediately knew what was wrong and set her up for emergency surgery.

It is through these comments that I learned of the CPC Watch website, which includes numerous other disturbing testimonials.

Now, you could argue that the CPC folks aren’t really healthcare professionals, but I tend to think that any place offering ultrasounds and pregnancy tests ought to be held to certain standards.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. August 7, 2008 5:22 pm

    I totally agree with your thoughts on those “crisis pregnancy centers”. I don’t begrudge anyone their beliefs, but when they outright manipulate and lie to women to push their agenda, well…that’s another story.

    Re: condoms being useless. The nurse was wrong for the most part. Viruses are small, but condoms help reduced the risk of STIs dramatically (nothing ever is 100%). HPV, the low risk strains that cause genital warts, is known to be transmitted even with condoms because they can be in places the condom doesn’t cover. I would like to know what that nurse meant where women shouldn’t have sex like men. I don’t get that, really. Do we not have sex? Not have sex with men? Who knows.

    I like your new pic, BTW

  2. August 7, 2008 6:38 pm

    Labor Nurse, you’re right of course, that I should not gloss over the fact that HPV can be transmitted even with condom use. I believe the person in question was having a conversation about HIV – and I’ve read of anti-sex-ed folks claiming that condoms don’t protect against HIV because of virus size – but I’m not 100% certain.

    And thanks! – for your comment, as well as the compliment on the pic.

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