Removal of the Dr. Marion Sims Statue in New York, NY
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Since 1934 a statue of Dr. Marion Sims has stood on 103rd Street and Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, New York. Sims is celebrated for the development of a surgical technique to repair vesicovaginal fistulas. Vesicovaginal fistulas are a devastating condition typically resulting from pelvic surgery or childbirth complications where a passageway is formed between the vagina and the urethra causing urine to discharge into the vagina. Due to their incontinence, women with fistulas often suffer from medical aftereffects, severe mental health issues and can become ostracized and shamed in certain communities.
While Sims is acclaimed for pioneering the surgical repair of fistulas, resulting in his unofficial title of “the father of modern gynecology”, it is well known that he developed his techniques on the repeated unanesthetized surgical operations on female slaves. While we value and learn from the pioneering accomplishments of the founders of modern medicine, we cannot overlook the brutality of Sims’ methods. It is disturbing that we continue to honor Sims by keeping a statue of him in the shadow of the New York Academy of Medicine. The savagery of his practices require that the statue be taken down.
Please join me in petitioning Mayor Bill De Blasio, Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver and Congressman Charles Rangel to remove the statue of Dr. Marion Sims.
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