Woman Claims OBGYN Wouldn't Perform Hysterectomy in Case Her 'Sexual Orientation Changes'

Reproductive health continues to be a hot-button topic both in the United States and in countries around the world. Earlier this year, conversations ramped up surrounding reproductive health as Texas implemented the most restrictive abortion law in the U.S.

The law prohibits an abortion after a "fetal heartbeat" can be detected, Newsweek reported, which is as early as six weeks into a pregnancy.

Reproductive health can refer to all matters having to do with the reproductive system. In Ireland, one woman is claiming a doctor denied her a hysterectomy despite "debilitating period pain" that she has been experiencing since she was a child.

The reason? She said the doctor did not want to consider a hysterectomy in case the woman's "sexual orientation changes."

"Can't believe that today a gynaecologist [sic] told me that a hysterectomy wouldn't be considered as an option for my debilitating period pain on the off chance that I divorce my wife, my sexual orientation changes, I meet a man and decide I want children," Rachel Champ, whose username is @RachChamp_, wrote on Twitter

A hysterectomy is typically a procedure to remove the uterus, according to the Mayo Clinic, but a "total hysterectomy" would refer to both the uterus and cervix being removed. In some cases, the ovaries and fallopian tubes might be removed as well.

The post has now been retweeted over 35,000 times and has been flooded with responses of similar experiences.

"Yep I was told this to," one person responded. "I already had 3 kids and I was single and they said what if you meet someone who wants kids? I responded we can adopt but why does an imaginary man have more say over my body than I do?"

Another wrote, "​​I can't even get my OB Gyn to put me on the implant so the extremely painful periods stop. Her objection? What if I suddenly meet a man and suddenly decide I want babies right [f**king] now and I have to go through the hassle of taking it out of my arm."

Champ followed up the post by adding that she is 27 years old and has experienced severe pain associated with her period since she was 10 years old.

"I've had two surgeries [1 with ovarian drilling], tried three different contraceptive pills, the mirena [sic] coil, and have tried every combination of painkillers. Nothing has helped," she wrote.

Champ told Newsweek in an email that this interaction came after an overnight stay at the hospital due to ovarian cysts. She had already been seen by the gynecologist on another occasion and had asked not to see him again because she felt he was dismissive of her pain.

Champ, who was there with her wife, discussed in detail the history of her 17-year struggle with pain. After trying virtually every non-invasive option, she asked if a hysterectomy would be an option after the doctor suggested seeking a pain management specialist.

"I am aware that a hysterectomy is a drastic option and I know that it is irreversible," Champ told Newsweek. "After 17 years of experiencing such debilitating pain every month, and the impact it is having on my mental health, my relationships, my work and college work, and my social life, I feel like I have already tried the vast majority of the less invasive options. I have tried everything that has been suggested to me by every doctor I have seen."

Throughout the visit, the doctor referred to Champ as being 25 and when corrected said there was no difference between 25 and 27. To Champ, the mix-up indicated that he had not taken the time to properly look at her file.

After his comments about her sexuality, his final suggestion was to try acupuncture.

"Word for word he said 'I don't want you to have regrets if circumstances change for you, maybe you leave your partner, your sexual orientation changes, you meet someone and he wants children,'" she told Newsweek. "At this point, I knew there was no room to discuss this with him. I had opened up about how bad the pain is and how much it impacts my mental health, but his only concern was for a fictional man who may want me to carry his child in the future."

One commenter tagged Dr. Jennifer Gunter in the post who is an OBGYN that has become outspoken on social media about all issues pertaining to reproductive health. She is the author of the books The Menopause Manifesto and The Vagina Bible.

"I think of [sic] someone is offered all the options and understands the benefits and risks they should get to choose the one[s] that they want," Gunter wrote. "So NSAIDs, TENS, hormonal medications, hormonal IUD, ablation, and hysterectomy."

Actress Lena Dunham spoke openly about her decision to get a hysterectomy at 31 after a years-long struggle with chronic pain and endometriosis, she wrote for Vogue in 2018.

 Gynecological chair
A woman on Twitter claimed her doctor would not consider a hysterectomy in the event her "sexual orientation changes." Here, a stock photo shows a typical gynecological chair. Jacek_Sopotnicki/Getty Images

On the flip side, hysterectomies have also been over-performed. As recently as last year, forced- sterilization was reported to be occurring at the U.S. border, according to CNN and in Virginia, a doctor was found to be performing hysterectomies at his discretion for insurance fees, Women's Health reported, also in 2020.

In the most recent update to her post, @RachChamp_ emphasized that her doctor did not give any medical reason for denying the procedure.

"Important to mention that he did not give me any medical reason why I could not have a hysterectomy. He told me it isn't an option because I'm too young, the pain I'm in is clouding my judgment [sic] and my life circumstances may change," she wrote. "No medical reason why it's not an option."

Champ said she never expected her tweet to "blow up" the way it did. As of November 8, she says the tweet has now been viewed 17 million times.

"I found it really emotional and hard to read some of the experiences other people have had," she said. "People were talking about their own experiences, or experiences their family members or friends have had. In a way it was nice to feel that I'm not alone in having experienced something like this, it's also heartbreaking to think about the number of people who experience this every single day."

Newsweek reached out to the American Association of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Foundation, Royal College of Physicians of Ireland, the Ireland Department of Health and @RachChamp_ for comment.

Updated 11/09/21,10:15 a.m. ET: This story has been updated to include @RachChamp_'s full name and comments from Champ.