Dionne Bensonsmith : “Race, Choice, and Reproductive Health in the Age of Health Care Reform”

Dionne Bensonsmith addresses recent proposals and amendments in the Obama Health Care Plan and their potential effects on reproductive choice — specifically among women of color. Reproductive disorders like uterine fibroids and polycystic ovarian disease affect African American and Latina women more than white women, and are among the most common reasons for reproductive surgeries in the United States. Approximately 600,000 hysterectomies are performed annually throughout the United States. According to the CDC, between 2000 and 2004 approximately 3.1 million women had hysterectomies, the majority of whom (54%) were between 40-45 years old. Women of color, specifically African American women, are three times more likely to have had a hysterectomy than their white counterparts. However; the majority of research into reproductive disorders such as fibroids and polycystic ovarian disease is conducted with White (American/ European) and foreign born African women, and omits domestically born Black/African American and Latina women. Given that African American women are twice as likely as white women to suffer from uterine fibroids and three times as likely to have hysterectomies, this talk investigates medical and public health discourses pertaining to the diagnosis and treatment of uterine fibroids and other reproductive health conditions among women of color. In particular, it addresses the role of these discourses in shaping health care policy as it pertains to reproductive health, treatments and care.


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