1. mammalian womb
2. a powerful muscle and sex organ located between the bladder and the bowel in the female pelvis; continuous with the cervix which is continuous with vagina, much in the way that the head is continuous with the neck which is continuous with the shoulders; provides lifelong functions that are vital to every woman’s health and wellbeing
3. a word legislator Scott Randolph was reprimanded for using on the Florida House floor
Just a few months ago the word uterus was as rare in conversations as the word penis. But that was before Scott Randolph had the audacity to speak the word in public.
What Scott Randolph said is this: “If my wife incorporated her uterus, you all would say hands off…But now we’re standing here and we’re saying we’re going to increase regulation on a specific type of membership organization. And that’s unions.”
Although Florida lawmakers sought to limit the use of the word in public by reprimanding Randolph, within days not only was the word uterus emblazoned along headlines in every media outlet in the country, it was immediately added to the Planned Parenthood debate.
Jason Linkins of The Huffington Post said, “At one point Randolph suggested that his wife ‘incorporate her uterus’ to stop Republicans from pushing measures that would restrict abortions. Republicans, after all, wouldn’t want to further regulate a Florida business.” There’s no question that choice is the central issue here.
Just as the union debate is concerned with whether or not workers ought to have the right to collectively bargain for wages and working conditions, the abortion debate is concerned with whether or not a woman ought to have the right to abort pregnancy. And the uterus question I’d like to ask here is this: do doctors have the right to amputate the uterus, without first informing women of the sexual, structural and hormonal functions of the uterus and the consequences of its removal?
The obvious answer to my question is yes, not only are doctors allowed to surgically amputate uteri without informed consent, they are handsomely rewarded for doing so…once every minute of every hour of every day.
It’s not unusual for women to ask HERS if they can still have a baby after the uterus is gone. Or, more commonly, women ask HERS if it is unusual for menstruation to continue after hysterectomy, or if she still needs a pap smear after her cervix was removed along with her uterus.
The reality is that only a very small percentage of the population has been taught the information contained in the HERS video Female Anatomy: the Functions of the Female Organs. It’s rare that I meet a woman who’s aware of the fact that the uterus is a hormone-responsive reproductive sex organ, or that hysterectomy impacts every cell in a woman’s body and increases her risk of heart disease three times that of women with a uterus. Until she watches the HERS anatomy video or reads the Fact sheets on the HERS website home page, where can she go to learn that her sexual vitality and overall health and wellbeing depend on her uterus?
Is hysterectomy a matter of choice for the women who do not have this information? Of course not.
One of the many blog posts I’ve read since Scott Randolph’s faux pas said, “My uterus and I protested at Bank of America today. We paid more in taxes than BofA did. One of our fellow uterati got arrested during the protest.” Only good can come from using the word as often as possible. But with more than 600,000 hysterectomies and female castrations performed without informed consent (which is the same as unconsented) each year in the U.S. alone, she and her fellow uterati might consider protesting in front of hospitals in every state in this country, as HERS did in 2004-2005.
America’s uterati is denied the right to make informed decisions about what they will and will not allow to be done to their bodies.
Let’s keep the discussion going, but let’s not miss the forest for the trees: This is about choice, a woman’s right to make an informed decision about whether she will consent to the surgical removal of her uterus. The female organs are every bit as important to women as the male organs are to men. At what age does a man not need his sex organs?