Medicalizing the Female Body: Deconstructing How the United States Uses Hysterectomies as a Method of Perpetrating Pronatalist and White Supremacist Ideology
This thesis will examine the implications behind a higher than average hysterectomy rate in the United States, particularly for women of color and women with lower incomes. It also examines barriers placed on persons trying to obtain a hysterectomy, such as those who are younger and therefore, considered be within the "ideal" demographic for reproduction. This is viewed through both a Critical Race Theory and Reproductive Justice framework. The goal of this research is to determine possible reasons behind disparities in hysterectomy demographics and evaluate how these reasons are influenced by the ideologies of white supremacy, pronatalism, population control, and the medicalization of female bodies integrated into the United States medical system. Understanding the reasons behind these disparities is the first step in deconstructing embedded racism and eliminating unconscious healthcare provider bias in order to provide true equitable care. Exploring the historical context of these embedded values is also essential to understand how they are placed into effect today. This thesis takes into account and evaluates both statistical and phenomenological data in order to understand the full scope of the lived impact. It also provides possible solutions and methods for combating the issues outlined for patients, healthcare professionals and healthcare institutions as well as suggestions on how to take this research further.