The Bulletin Board

Lawmaker aims to address hysterectomy hurdles

By: - September 29, 2022 2:41 pm
The state house dome between two tree branches with approaching storm clouds on the horizon

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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Annmarie Timmins
Annmarie Timmins

Senior reporter Annmarie Timmins is a New Hampshire native who covered state government, courts, and social justice issues for the Concord Monitor for 25 years. During her time with the Monitor, she won a Nieman Fellowship to study journalism and mental health courts at Harvard for a year. She has taught journalism at the University of New Hampshire and writing at the Nackey S. Loeb School of Communications. Email: [email protected]