Topic

women's health

149 petitions

Update posted 4 days ago

Petition to U.S. Senate, U.S. House of Representatives

Pass the Dignity for Incarcerated Women Act.

I was sentenced 78 months to serve at a federal prison for a white-collar crime. I left home a healthy single mother of two sons, not ever experiencing any serious illnesses. I was a registered nurse who had achieved 3 secondary degrees. I was homeowner and a successful business entrepreneur. I was also six weeks pregnant. Anytime I was transported, I was chained at my ankles with another chain around my waist that bound my hands in front of my belly.   While shackled, forced to step up into a van, I fell. A couple days later I begin spotting with streaks of blood, which I reported immediately to the medical staff. They instantly informed me they had “no” means of caring for me and would need approval from the US Marshals to take me to the ER. The turnaround time for approval ended up being 4 weeks. At that point, it was no longer an “emergency,” so I was turned away from the ER — I then required a second approval for an obstetrician, which took 4 more weeks. A total of four requests were made, each taking 4 weeks, while I was placed in solitary confinement for “medical observation." I ended up miscarrying at approximately 20 weeks without any formal or proper prenatal care. While I was miscarrying, I lay wet in a pool of blood, curled up from excruciating pain, in complete darkness, locked in a cell until an officer made rounds. I suffered the entire miscarriage shackled to the bed. When asked, the officers told the nurse and myself that the linen which contained my unborn child had been thrown in the trash. I had no privacy. Male officers were at my bedside 24hrs observing my nakedness and any treatment given to me. I received no counseling, nor had any opportunity to grieve my miscarriage. I was relocated to another facility where again, I was placed in solitary confinement for a month. Solitary is being locked in a 6’ by 9’ room with a bed, toilet, sink, and no window for 23 hours a day. For women in prison, stories like mine are a lot more common than you would think. Women are the largest growing prison population. Our federal, state, county, and private prisons are not equipped to give women the medical care they need, especially when pregnant. We need to ban the shackling and solitary confinement of pregnant women in prison throughout the United States. These prisons do not implement best practices of standardized care or data collection which allows no liability for the treatment of incarcerated women, promotes harm to children, and destroys families. I have testified before the US Commission on Civil Rights, providing statements of women who are being dehumanized and abused incarcerated in federal, state, county, and private prisons. We are  fighting for safety and justice of incarcerated women. We request that Congress and all states throughout the US establish policies that prohibit shackling and solitary confinement, implement best practices of standardized care, provide data collection for accountability of safety, and promote strong relationships with their children. Please sign my petition asking Congress and US State Legislators to pass the Dignity for Incarcerated Women Act throughout the United States. Thank you,Pamela Winn

Pamela Winn
195,279 supporters
Update posted 4 days ago

Petition to Pete Buttigieg, United States Department of Transportation

Women are 73% more likely to get injured in a car crash - Demand Equality for Women

Women are 73% more likely to be injured and 17% more likely to die in a car crash than men. The U.S. allows companies to crash-test cars with dummies based on a 1970s average male, and the government’s 5-star safety rating doesn’t require testing for women in the driver’s seat position. More equal testing standards and new crash test technology could save thousands of lives and prevent needless injuries. What can you do? Sign the petition below addressed to the U.S. Transportation Secretary Buttigieg, urging him to update car crash testing standards and technology — and account for women and other vulnerable groups — now! Our Petition: Dear Secretary Buttigieg, Government standards for vehicle crash testing are outdated and unequal. This deadly gender bias in vehicle safety is unacceptable. It is time to stop studying this issue and fix it now. Females are not just smaller versions of males. Due to differences in physiology and driver positioning, women’s and men’s bodies behave differently in a crash. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) – the agency that creates and oversees FMVSS and NCAP ratings – has been in possession of data for years that show women are 17%-18.5% more likely to die in a vehicle crash than men. But our government does not equitably account for these differences, either in design regulations (Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, or FMVSS) or voluntary 5-star safety ratings (the New Car Assessment Program, known as NCAP). As a result of this government-supported bias in the design, women die and are more at risk of serious injury in a crash than men. That means up to 1,342 women are needlessly dying every year. But while crash test dummy manufacturers have created technologies that could make vehicles safer for women and other under-represented groups, neither the FMVSS nor NCAP has been updated to reflect advancements that would bring equality to vehicle design. NHTSA’s current NCAP 5-star rating voluntary crash test regime does not require testing female dummies in the driver’s seat. Instead, a dummy derived from the measurements of a 1970s average-sized male is used. Women are significantly more prone to whiplash in a crash.  Relative to males of the same age, females in deadly crashes were 9.4% more likely to die as a result of neck injury.  And differences are exacerbated when women become pregnant – for instance, standard seatbelts do not fit more than sixty percent of third-trimester pregnant women. People from all over the world, men and women alike, are coming together to ask the US Government to pay attention to this issue. We are asking for the following legislative and regulatory changes: NHTSA should immediately update NCAP.  By using outdated and male-centric crash-test dummies and by limiting the scope of testing of NCAP, NHTSA allows – according to its own research – hundreds of women to be killed every year.  NHTSA has the regulatory authority to update NCAP today and could do so with the stroke of a pen. NCAP should: Immediately transition to the latest generation of crash test dummy technology for both male and female occupants. Require all tests to use the most up-to-date male and female technology in the driver and passenger seat tests to ensure equitable testing to help close the safety gap for women and other vulnerable groups. Congress should create a structure that commits NHTSA to review the crash test landscape regularly with the intent of implementing the latest crash test technologies so that we never fall behind again.  Women and other vulnerable populations have waited long enough. It is time to stop studying this issue to death. Let 2022 be the year we turn words into action, update vehicle crash test standards and ratings, and save those who should have been treated equally all along.

John Bolton
1,796 supporters
Update posted 3 weeks ago

Petition to Connecticut State House, Connecticut State Senate, Ned Lamont

End Forced Pelvic Exams in Connecticut

*Please note that this petition contains clarifications to the original text. Imagine needing surgery. You would worry about a lot of things. Finding the best doctor. Finding the best hospital. Having a complication. Not waking up from the anesthesia. The pain you will experience afterwards. The list goes on. Now imagine having one more worry. But this one isn’t to do with your health. Rather, it is to do with protecting yourself. Protecting yourself from the possibility of forced vaginal or rectal penetration for the purpose of practice/education while you are unconscious and unable to give - or withhold - consent. Would you have the surgery? Would you take that risk? Now you may have a choice to make. Do you protect your health, and indeed, your own life by undergoing the surgery? Or do you protect your body from the potential of an unwanted and unwarranted invasion by not having the surgery, but in doing so risk your health, and maybe even your life? The situation above probably sounds ridiculous to you. It probably sounds like something out of a dystopian novel. But the reality is, this is the situation facing the people of Connecticut right now. Because of language commonly found in medical consent forms, teaching hospitals can have a lot of leeway in the way they use their patients in their teaching practices. Language in consent forms is often written to be broad, particularly surrounding the role of students and trainees in the provision of healthcare, which in many cases consists of only one or two lines, and follows the following formula: “I understand that students and trainees may be involved in my care and consent to treatment by providers in the event of unforeseen events or complications.” Those one or two lines are typically buried in the middle or at the end of a form, which patients often report being rushed to sign by providers or administrators as they are “standard.”  Most patients assume “student involvement” - unless otherwise specified - is limited to observation. Unfortunately in Connecticut, it is not illegal for medical students to practice pelvic and prostate examinations on anesthetized patients without their direct and informed consent.   There is a bill before the Connecticut state legislature right now - HB-5278 (updated to reflect the 2022 assigned bill number) - that would ban the use of non-consensual pelvic and prostate examinations as a part of the medical education process. It will still allow students to practice their clinical skills - it poses no threat to their education or to their ability and opportunity to one day become competent, confident, and experienced clinicians. It simply prohibits students from practicing these invasive examinations on patients who have not given their specific consent. HB-5278 (updated to reflect the 2022 assigned bill number) is the latest iteration of this legislation, which was first introduced in the Connecticut state legislature in 2019 as SB 16. Unfortunately, while other states have acted quickly to enact similar laws, Connecticut’s bill did not even get a hearing during the 2021 legislative session.  The Yale University School of Medicine came out in opposition to the original iteration of this legislation (SB 16 - An Act Prohibiting an Unauthorized Pelvic Exam on a Woman Who is Under Deep Sedation or Anesthesia) in 2019, submitting public testimony to the state legislature stating, in part, that “all consent forms contain specific language explaining the involvement of trainees in the decision making and procedural process.” Please take a moment to judge that for yourself. Sample consent form language - in this case Yale's - reads as follows: “I understand that some of the system hospitals are teaching hospitals. Doctors or other health practitioners who are members of the care team and are in training may help my practitioner with the procedure. I understand the purpose and potential benefits of the procedure in relation to my goals. I give permission to my responsible practitioner to do whatever may be necessary if there is a complication or unforeseen condition during my procedure.” *Disclaimer - Yale's consent form language is provided as an example here as they refer to consent forms in their 2019 public testimony in opposition to SB 16 - An Act Prohibiting an Unauthorized Pelvic Exam on a Woman Who is Under Deep Sedation or Anesthesia cited in the above paragraph.* Tell me - would you define a student or trainee as a “responsible practitioner” in the event of a complication or unforeseen condition? Would any reasonable person? And how does a student’s need for practice - which is in no way unforeseen and can be established ahead of time - fall under that category? And when you sign any consent form, at any medical institution or provider, stating you understand the benefits of a procedure to your goals, would you even begin to imagine that  an intimate examination by a student who is unlicensed conducted for the purpose of them practicing their clinical skills could possibly be covered under that language?  Interestingly enough, medical students from various states have expressed discomfort conducting intimate examinations on patients for the purpose of practice without knowing whether that patient has given direct and informed consent, but did not feel at liberty to voice their discomfort or opt out.  We aren’t asking for much. We aren’t asking teaching institutions to sacrifice the educational opportunities they offer their students, or to take opportunities away from students. We are simply insisting that those opportunities only be offered with the consent of the patients whose bodies they are using. We are insisting that exploitation and abuse no longer play a role in the medical education of our state’s future doctors, and that they are taught the importance of consent early on. And we are insisting that our laws protect us from the dehumanization and indignity of being turned into living teaching tools without our consent. Hospitals exist to serve their patients - patients do not exist to serve hospitals, and we do not owe hospitals the use of our bodies in exchange for necessary healthcare. *Disclaimer - Yale is referred to in this petition due to their 2019 public testimony in opposition to SB 16. It is not the intent of this petition to accuse or in any way allege that the Yale School of Medicine or any of its affiliates or students have ever participated in or are currently participating in these practices.* If you are a Connecticut resident just becoming aware of this practice, please join us in standing up and saying enough by signing this petition and contacting your state representative and senator. If you live outside of Connecticut, please stand in solidarity with our state’s residents and in demanding justice and protection for us when we are at our most vulnerable. In addition to signing below, please consider reaching out to the Public Health Committee at (phtestimony@cga.ct.gov or by phone at (860) 240‑0560. If you are a Connecticut resident, please consider reaching out to your state representative (if you unsure of who yours is, you can find out https://www.cga.ct.gov/asp/menu/cgafindleg.asp If you would like to learn more about this issue, please have a look at the following articles: Explicit Consent for Pelvic and Prostate Exams: A Case for CT House Bill 5067https://ctexaminer.com/2021/03/20/explicit-consent-for-pelvic-and-prostate-exams-a-case-for-ct-house-bill-5067/ Providers Are Sexually Assaulting Patients — and It’s Legalhttps://www.healthline.com/health/nonconsensual-internal-exams-sexual-assault#1 Medical Students Regularly Practice Pelvic Exams On Unconscious Patients. https://www.elle.com/life-love/a28125604/nonconsensual-pelvic-exams-teaching-hospitals/

Livia Fry
110,174 supporters