Decades of advances on women’s rights are being wound back and the world is now hundreds of years away from achieving gender equality, according to the United Nations.
Browder plans to expand a two-story building that has stood there since the late 1800s and add a third floor, which will house the Mothers of Gynecology Health and Wellness Clinic. The clinic will be a primary care unit that helps women who cannot afford those services, while also providing a space for doulas, midwives and OB-GYNs to collaborate to offer solutions to end the maternal health crisis.
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Sims, a well-respected figure in American medicine, is known for inventing the speculum and the Sims position, which are both used during gynecological examinations. To arrive at those advances, he purchased and leased enslaved women, whom he operated on without anesthesia, to perfect treatments for White women. For five years, they labored at Sims’ side and under his torturous hand. They were the subjects of dozens of procedures with no anesthesia. They were also tasked with holding each other down and assisting with the procedures, along with the typical work of an enslaved woman. Anarcha [one of the girls honored in a prior art work of Bowder's] underwent at least 30 surgeries during Sims’ experimentation. She was 17 years old at the time of her first surgery.
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Today’s maternal health care crisis that is killing Black women and babies is a natural continuation of the science birthed from violence, experts said. The mistreatment of Black people and their bodies has been there every step of the way.