The Bulletin Board
Lawmaker aims to address hysterectomy hurdles
Ellen Read, a Democratic state representative from Newmarket, plans to introduce hysterectomy legislation in the next session. (Dana Wormald | New Hampshire Bulletin)
After other medical procedures had failed to stop Rep. Ellen Read’s years of heavy menstrual bleeding she asked an obstetrician to do a hysterectomy. The doctor declined. Several others did too, all for the same reason: Read was in her late 20s and they doubted her long-held decision not to have children.
Read, a Newmarket Democrat, finally had the surgery in 2018 at age 38. She’s preparing a bill to protect other women from the same experience. Under her bill, if a patient has given informed consent, a doctor would be required to perform the sterilization procedure or refer a patient to a doctor who would.
She said a doctor’s speculation about a patient’s future reproductive health decisions should not overrule a medically advised procedure. “I would love to shift the culture to normalize making your own decision about your future,” she said.
Read would have filed the bill in a prior session, she said, but only recently learned that many women have had similar experiences. Most often a hysterectomy is not performed until after a patient has turned 35.
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