Iowa bill would forbid doctors from making women get spouse’s permission for hysterectomy

Iowa bill would forbid doctors from making women get spouse’s permission for hysterectomy
Hospital (Source: Gage Cureton)

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Iowa lawmakers are discussing a bill that would forbid doctors from requiring women to get permission from their spouses to get a hysterectomy.

There is no law in Iowa that requires doctors to get a spouse’s okay, but lawmakers said it still happens.

Rep. Eddie Andrews (R-Johnston), a proponent of the bill, said that he had two women come to talk to him about how they were required to get their spouse’s permission before their doctor would do their hysterectomy. Those conversations are what prompted the move for legislation.

A woman might get her uterus removed for various medical reasons, including cancer.

In one case, Andrews said a woman was being prepped for her procedure when her doctor told her they would not start surgery until they got her husband’s approval. The woman had to call her husband from the doctor’s office in order to proceed.

“She thought that was the craziest thing. It’s like we’ve already gone through this month-long process of tests, and recommendations, and procedures and going through everything that was required for this and she realized she was literally about to be stopped,” Andrews said.

Andrews also said that making a law against this sort of thing needs to happen, especially to protect women who may be in an abusive relationship.

“Just think about that. Where you have your health decision in the hands of someone who may do something out of spite. This is not the 1800′s, right? And, especially for those cases, we needed this law,” Andrews said.

While this issue is isolated, he did acknowledge he knows of hospital facilities in the state where this happens.

“There’s a couple of hospital facilities that, that is their policy,” Andrews said.

When asked to name which facilities have this type of policy in place, Andrews declined and hoped it wouldn’t be necessary “because hopefully in 3 weeks it will be a moot point.”

There are three weeks left in this legislative session. The original bill the House passed did not make it through the funnel. However, this issue got added to another bill, Senate File 529, which Andrews is hopeful will pass yet this session.

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