Informed Consent, ‘Planned Parenthood Style’: Guest Post

This guest post is written by Diane, a valued contributor to this blog.

Leading medical organizations state a pelvic exam/pap test is NOT medically indicated for women wanting birth control pills. However, some physicians continue to abuse women’s rights and violate the principle of informed consent by linking the two.

It’s bad enough that physicians are still routinely violating ethical principles and best practice guidelines without fear of reprisal from oversight bodies. It somehow feels worse when an organization such as Planned Parenthood permits such coercive practices as part of their service. Many of the young women and teenage girls served by Planned Parenthood do not have the resources or options to obtain help somewhere else. The ideas of Planned Parenthood – low cost, accessible family planning services and birth control – are commendable. The way Planned Parenthood behaves in practice, when it comes to Paps and pelvics, is not.

Planned Parenthood ostensibly has a HOPE program. HOPE stands for “Hormonal Option without Pelvic Exam,” and it’s supposed to allow patients to obtain hormonal birth control without exams. However, there’s a string attached: PP will only start you on birth control. After six months or so, they will not refill the prescription unless the patient submits to a full exam.

When I sought out Planned Parenthood in a major U.S. city, they refused to give me birth control without a full pelvic exam: Pap, bimanual exam, STD testing, breast exam. They tried to justify this by telling me, “we just need to see if you’re okay.” As per the World Health Organization, they really only needed to get a blood pressure reading to prescribe the Pill – there was nothing in a breast exam, Pap, or any of the other unnecessary procedures that would have told them about my ability to take hormonal birth control. I of course flipped them the finger and said “hell no.”

What happens to those who DO submit to Planned Parenthood’s demands? This is a copy of a letter that was sent to a Planned Parenthood patient who was referred for a colposcopy after having a Pap test at one of their clinics. She was under the age of 30, and the “changes in her cervix” that were found were mild and should have been left alone. Luckily, she decided not to have a colposcopy at Planned Parenthood. The patient’s personal information has been redacted from the letter:

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“Dear ___:Your test results show some changes in your cervix that we need to look at more closely to know for sure what is going on. See attached sheet.

There is a way to do this called colposcopy – using a special microscope called a colposcope to view the cervix and vagina. Colposcopy lets us make a diagnosis of your condition and determine whether or not you need further treatment.
So, as soon as you can, please call the center at the phone number indicated, so we can schedule your appointment. Please refer to this letter when making your appointment.

If you already made this appointment, please disregard this letter.”

I don’t know what it is about Planned Parenthood, low income clinics and Medicaid: they assume their patients are illiterate, uneducated fools who need to be spoken to as if they were small children. This letter is written on perhaps a third grade reading level, it’s patronizing, and it’s grammatically incorrect.

In addition, note that this letter doesn’t give the patient a single bit of help in making an informed decision. Colposcopy is described as a “special microscope.” There’s no mention of the acidic solutions with which they coat the cervix during the procedure. Nor do they mention the numerous painful biopsies that are taken during a typical colposcopy.

There’s no information on what those “changes in the cervix” really mean, the person’s risk for cancer, or the cost/benefit analysis of doing a colposcopy.

Also, the directive to call “as soon as possible” makes it seem as though this is an emergency situation.What if this letter had told the truth? If it had said, “Your cervix shows ____.” There is a 99.9% chance that these changes mean nothing, especially since you’re HPV negative and under the age of 30. We could do a colposcopy if you’re very nervous about it, but 98% of them come back normal, and here’s a rundown of the risks versus the benefits….” would the response have been different?

On a similar note, this is the postcard that my insurance company sent me.  The word “choice” is ironically linked to pressure tactic directives (“do as we say”):
Note how it shows getting a Pap as a necessary choice for good health, and seems to imply that not getting a Pap is dangerous.  Note that it also claims that “good health” is synonymous with “keeping all prenatal appointments.”  They mean”keeping all appointments with an OB/GYN” of course. That basically implies that if a woman seeks alternative prenatal care, such as a midwife or doula, she’s not keeping herself or her fetus healthy.
 GetAttachment.aspx
And
Lastly, we could look at this postcard as yet another example of how public concerns about women’s health seem to always be focused around their reproductive organs. Women have just as many health concerns as men, if not more, but there’s rarely the same degree of focus on heart health, diabetes, other forms of cancer, depression, et al. It’s all about being a baby-making machine. The assumption is that if you are a woman, you couldn’t possibly care about anything above your waist or below your knees (unless it’s about breast health, of course). This sort of deceptive and skewered emphasis on gynecology and childbearing pulls focus away from legitimate health concerns that women should perhaps be monitoring, and thus negatively impacts their health.
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It also distracts doctors and insurers from treating women holistically. A gynecologist is the only specialist a woman can see without a referral in most insurance plans. Some insurance companies seem to cheerfully pay for GYN visits, mammograms, harmful LEEP treatments and unnecessary Paps, but will balk at paying for necessary MRIs for orthopedic issues, early heart disease monitoring, testing for metabolic illnesses or skin cancer screening. It’s a shame they don’t CHOOSE to do better – much better – for their female customers.

About forwomenseyesonly

Hi. My name is Sue and I am interested in promoting holistic and respectful health care.
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64 Responses to Informed Consent, ‘Planned Parenthood Style’: Guest Post

  1. Diane Spero says:

    i have had experience with planned parent hood. it awful and abusive.
    the gyn they referral me too was awful. abusive becausr of my my exam fear, i self aborted in the hospital, dr never saw after the bortion injection.
    it started yrs of anxiety with exam attempts, with never getting help because of no exam.

    • Apocalyptic Queen says:

      The way the American health care system oppresses women is appalling. How do they get away with it in the age of “civil liberties” and democracy?

      I notice the brochure accidentally advertises the fact that screening IS a CHOICE – oops lol.
      Maybe it’d be an idea to take a copy of the brochure into the consult room to remind them that it is a choice and that they are legally required to accept the word NO. It applies to potential sex offenders, why not Doctors?!

  2. Victoria says:

    “Colposcopy lets us make a diagnosis of your condition” – what condition?! The way that is worded, it sounds as if she has a “condition” (aka a problem) already.

  3. Alex says:

    Sue, I’m having a problem posting on here. Don’t know what it is, but I don’t get the Reply part with the Old Blogcritics thread & it seem to happen on the others, too. I just figured I’d mention this while I had the chance. Maybe something’s going on with my computer, since I can’t get on facebook at all (luckily, I don’t do much on it- still, some videos & such are linked to there).

  4. Heather says:

    A great post! It is so good to see women speaking out, sharing their experience, pointing out the deception tactics and warning the others.

    I personally have a severe allergy to the idiotic smiling faces plastered all over the medical propagandistic brochures about women’s “health”. I bet if they used a close-up photo of a cervix torn by biopsies that women end up having at those kindly offered colposcopies, or a photo of a women’s face screaming in agony during one of those “quick and virtually painless” procedures, the doctors waiting rooms would be empty. Not good for business, isn’t it? So let’s feed those ignorant lambs some glossy brochures full of bullshit and smiling faces, and tell them that only constant surveillance of their female reproductive parts by greedy doctors will save the women from a sure death of rampant female cancers.

    I just can’t understand how such “health care” activities are any better than criminal deception, blackmail, extortion or torture. If it is done by anyone else — it is a serious crime. If the same is done by the medical system, it is called “health care”.

    • Alex says:

      No, it’s still deception, blackmail, extortion, or torture. It’s just supported.

      Actually, there’s a few more things you might add, even a “crime against humanity/human rights violation”- given the large scale of it (it might be good to say that ahead of time, that way it doesn’t come off like “hysterics” or an overreaction). Considering that they act in confluence with others in this, there’s also “conspiracy” & “pre-meditation” as factors. An “accessory” charge is something that’s pretty easy to tack-on to all this.

    • Cat&Mouse says:

      Heather, God Bless you!! We husband often get the “tell us how you REALLY feel” response to things we say. How you say it, plain & simple, refreshing. Sadly, 4/5 women we’ve talked to prefer status quo, regardless of its harm.

      The culture of women viewed as illiterate, disease filled idiots having no idea they are sexually active, is confirmed once again. Here’s the latest “welcome packet” from Health Net, a US insurance company.

      For newborns, it orders the Hep B vaccine series. This is the vaccine associated with juvenile diabetes. Age 11 both sexes begin the HPV series. The “need” for “pelvic w/pap” begins age 21 regardless of sexual history; repeat every 3 yrs. However, chlamydia screening is yearly through age 24 if sexually active. That test is always paired with a pelvic, so to “err on caution” a full pelvic will be yearly.

      I’m elated to learn [here of course] UK self testing will begin in 2017. Meanwhile, bullshit as usual in US carries on. Personally to that end my husband is going to write a letter to my gyn explaining everything learned here, and why, black & white, I’m not going to be having another pap. It will include what the doctor himself said which goes more for me not having one. The last phone call ended with the doctor saying he had no way to collect and process urine, blood, or the Delphi; and that he had a larger speculum. Lies. A doctor’s office NOT able to collect and process bodily fluid samples?!!!

      • Moo says:

        Please use this website to get information that you might be interested in.

        If a woman is seeking alternatives to pelvic exams and Pap tests the it might be her own responsibility to find out what alternatives are available where she lives. For example if she decides to use the Delphi screener or other test then she is responsible for contacting the company, ordering the screener, paying for it and any shipping costs, reading the instructions and collecting the samples, sending it in for processing. She also has to decide what she should do if she with her test result such as a test results that shows she has HPV infection or if she should give her doctors any test results.

        Please this website responsibly. It is invended for discussion and information. Read over articles and information carefully. Please do not come here expect for other users to diagnosis your medical problems or a use them if you have cancer.

        I suppose the owner should have some comments.

      • Cat&Mouse says:

        Clearly, I come here contributing information and experiences that I’ve encountered like you and everybody else. I have not asked anybody to diagnose my problems, like others have done, and that many people here have freely participated in doing. We are here to help each other, and I’m trying to use info from this site to outwit my US doctor into helping me my way, not his way. Nothing wrong with that. People have come here discussing a variety of subjects far away from that these sites are intended for. The latest is discussing veterinary services such as whether to remove claws or not in cats, and that it’s legal or not in doing paps in dogs…

        For you to lecture me, and suggest the owner may have additional comments for me is out of line. Was it necessary for you to discuss your heart attacks? Probably not, but it did add to the overall culture discussion of what we, women are facing in this industry. I understood what you were talking about. Not once have I asked for any diagnosis here.

        I have asked for comments regarding my situation. And considering we discuss hospital ER’s, outpatient clinics, everything else in between and whatever overlaps including conditions not necessarily involving our vaginas, everything I’ve commented in is ok. Including my personal experiences as everybody talks about their own too.

        As for contacting companies? Most of these companies discussed here, urine, blood, the Delphi, are invented and made where I live. Again, as I said, my doctor is pulling out every used car sales tactic trying to prevent me from accessing alternatives. He could order these, and originally said he would, then later on pulled the “impossible act” and said he had no way to collect them. There’s independent labs surrounding his office. As as I said, how can he collect paps if he can’t collect bodily fluids? Is that asking for diagnosis or sharing my “experiences” as we all do here?

        What I have asked for here are stats, and a quick review on the Delphi which you did help me with, and I thanked you. That made it a lot easier for me than sifting through over 600 replies. When I get through this, it will help everybody else. I was also considering allowing the local news to profile this which would forward our cause to women that can’t be reached. You had no cause to attack me.

      • Moo says:

        Sorry my last message was bad. Not really exactly what I meant or aimed at you personally.

        Some people do read through enough of the chatter on this forum and just show up at their doctor demanding HPV urine tests or self test kits which their doctor has never heard about or does not use. There is a huge argument because they just expect to get their way and so does the doctor. Then they get upset and frustrated.

        What your docotor told you was weird about not collecting samples. For example Some types of HPV urine test is available manufactured In California (sorry cannot remember the name) but a doctor needs to order it and gets sent the results even if the patient is expected to pay for it. Others the woman herself can order the test and receive her own results.

        The problem is more with health insurance companies in your country. Is it possible that some women might have problems with getting coverage if they refuse pelvic exams and Pap tests? So it is best to be aware of what the policies and facts are. In other countries like Canada or UK the problem is with government registries.

        Maybe we should make and update a quick reference for different countries as to what screening is used and what alternatives such as self test or HPV are available.

      • Cat&Mouse says:

        Thank you for responding & clarifying. I’m sorry for getting so defensive so quickly. I respect everything you say; that includes your intelligence. I’m fortunate & thankful that here, individuals including you have the uncanny ability to dig into comprehensive medical research. Reading hours, note taking, sifting, sorting, comparing, then reporting facts that we Davids can sling at SOB Dr Goliaths, slaying them down to earth. We felt isolated fighting this until we searched informed consent & arrived here.

        This place is fascinating. I feel w/o seeing anybody I somehow know each of you in some way. We share pain, hatred of stirrups and speculums, and a healthy paranoia in questioning these procedures. We eat of the same kitchen although from different plates. Your government serves these problems, while private sector insurance companies using treatment & billing protocols equal in kind the nauseating slew making us all choke.

        My husband has used information & stats from all of you to challenge my gyn. My R knee needs total joint replacement as does my L shoulder. The stirrups may cause a lockup and emergency surgery. My medical reason for a pap alternative. Two phone calls haven’t resolved it. However, the upcoming letter will summarize what the Dr said, plus using points contributed here, proving the pap/bimanual’s futility.

        I wonder, doctors can’t graduate unless while they answer your questions, they track & plan their next answer & follow up question to you manipulating with lies, warped stats, guilt trips, faked advocacy, end running you, while programming you to do what they want next. Perhaps this explains how Dr Abrams & others get away with they do for such a long time.

      • Moo says:

        If the idea is that you need a physical exam to show that you are healthy enough for surgery on arms or legs then your cervix has nothing to do with anything. So really a pelvic exam at all could make your problem worse. So if a doctor can do just a quick physical without the pelvic component and get paid what is the deal? Is a patient going to die of cervical cancer during knee surgery?

        What I am gathering from the American health experience is that doctors will bill what they can and as much as they can from insurance companies, Insurance companies have set goals and guidelines often not with any particular invididual patient needs in mind for healthcare just general population statistics. Someone has to start thinking outside the box. Plainly tell him what you want and ask him what he can do for you. As far as I know there is no law in America that says a women has to have pelvic exams to get healthcare.

        No wonder there is so much medical tourism. Maybe you could consider traveling to Mexico or the Caribean to get surgery. I heard even India has some very good surgeons. The flight, hotel, and healthcare is often cheaper than what most Americans would pay to get it all at home.

        Sorry to everyone. Sometimes I am rude or just at 3 am put up something later that really does not give the sense I want. Plus grammatical and spelling errors.

      • Cat&Mouse says:

        I love what Alex lists (#1, 2 and 3). These must be on a script somewhere for providers and office employees to fall back on whenever a patient rebels. Those three things are so fitting, not only to a gyn, but can easily apply to vaccines and other things too!

        The San Diego CA, District Attorney (Crown Prosecutor to my Canadian friends) Bonnie Dumanis is a life-long lesbian, and former Juvenile and Superior Court Judge. Keep that in mind. One would think she would be vociferous in prosecuting those who molest women & girls under medical authority. Dr Abrams was caught by his patient in January, then eventually his home searched and work cellphone taken from his back pocket in early July 2014. Finally now(?) he is to be charged; but with violating what law? He’s still cleared to practice. Remember earlier this year? Remember Recalled San Diego Mayor Bob Filner (former Democrat Congressman who bragged to TSA agent he could “do anything he wanted,” who groped his way as Mayor through many women over many months? Filner got home confinement & probation and didn’t have to register as a sex offender. Tax payers settled the civil claims. Had this been any “regular” citizen, there’d be state prison time and lifetime sex offender registration. Then SDPD Officer Anthony Revelos, doing 5+yrs CA State Prison for violating several women during his patrols. He’d take them to a 7-11 bathroom in exchange for no legal consequences in various traffic offenses. Nearly every cop knew what he was doing, right up to Chief, it was accepted and condoned. Tax payers are footing his civil suits too. I’m perplexed. Look them up for yourselves.

        Regarding myself. The current “‘pending” pelvic isn’t pre-op. Per my female internist (who sees the same gyn), It’s simply overdue; because by ignoring it I’m retaking control over how my cervix is tested. I’m trying to be diplomatic since this doctor gives me samples of expensive Estrace Cream (saving me $$ hundreds) and we get along well. Presently, there’s no operation scheduled so no pre-op examining.

        However, in the past… Remember San Diego CA Dr Ronald Neufeld? This doctor tried to have his ex-partner shot & killed on a San Diego freeway in 9/1994? When the cops sought him for questioning, Dr Neufeld drove to his lawyer’s office, then committed suicide in the parking lot seated in his Mercerdes. His note took responsibility and offered apologies. Ironically, Neufeld’s in-laws were President & VP of Handgun Control Inc in San Diego (now Brady Campaign…). This two-faced organization is eager to outlaw–outright fully ban gun ownership for ordinary citizens. Never would it allow permits to carry concealed in public. However, “somehow” son-in-law Dr Neufeld was permitted to carry concealed a .357 S&W Magnum Revolver and a Glock .40. LIke the last story, separate laws for the rich vs the poor. Dr Neufeld accumulated a huge personal armory, some of illegal. For him, his parents surviving the Holocaust probably motivated that.

        Dr Neufeld maimed me. We tried every avenue to verify why he had few hospital privileges, but the CA Med Brd in Sacramento told us he was fine. No civil suits, no complaints. This is who the work comp insurance company referred me to for cervical fusion. Afterward, my iliac crest graft fractured and dislocated. My cervical spine collapsed, appearing on MRI like what the ZZ-Top rock group insignia appears on key rings. Thank God I have an extra wide spinal canal or the long-term pressure on my cord would’ve resulted in paralysis. Instead I have RSD. Dr Neufeld and the insurance company lied…I’ve never been out of pain since and our lives are in constant turmoil.

        Prior to the surgery, Dr Neufeld tried desperately to get me to give permission to him for a pap/pelvic as part of my pre-surgical physical. His reasoning? Much like what Alex said… Neufeld wanted to be thorough and leave nothing to chance. He always insisted patients allow him a complete physical, man or woman, after all, anything could be there, that rare pregnancy, cancer or other diseases, and you don’t want to have critical neck surgery where something like that, so simple, could potentially ruin everything. Better be safe. If I didn’t allow him, he can’t be responsible… I was naive, good looking and thin before what he did to me, and although I’d had my “yearly” pap (being a good “medically compliant” woman) not long before this I was trusting and easily persuaded to cooperate. Dr Neufeld had an excellent bedside manner. He was generally well liked, good looking, and knew how to flex his authority. This was a few yrs before his suicide, his wife was pregnant, which seemed to add that he knew “best.”

        It was my husband, as usual, who emphatically said NO! HIs words to me were that Neufeld was an ortho not a gyn and had no F****** business touching my vagina. Which pissed off Neufeld; and he held the grudge. If it was really needed hubby insisted we’d see a specialist. Besides, the recent exam I’d had was normal–so why? Wasn’t that good enough? Because of this site I now know that Neufeld the butcher was another pervert in a white coat. Incidentally, three years later we connected with the local office representing the CA Med Brd. The employee told in strict confidence that Neufeld was horrible and terrible. She’d never let him touch her, and we’d better avoid him, he had already been disciplined and likewise sued numerous times. She added that Neufeld could sue her, and the office for defamation of character etc, if he found out. So much for relying on the government… I hope my/our experience helps somebody, and also highlights the futility we are all fully aware of that government does nothing. It harms much more than it protects. Thank you for your patience & understanding.

  5. Alice (Australia) says:

    Thank you for sharing the information!The more truth is known, the less chance those medical tricksters will have for their coercion and deception tactics to work.

    It always bugged me to see, that strictly speaking, HOPE stands for:
    Hormonal
    Option
    Pelvic
    Exam

    At no point the word “without” (or “with” for that matter) comes in. “Hormonal Option” and “Pelvic Exam” just stand together, one follows another, with no separation between the two. And that’s precisely how the medical establishment sees it.

    • Elizabeth (Aust) says:

      It’s promoted as hormonal contraception with an optional pelvic exam, but many women tell me (online) this is just a ruse to get you through the door, get you started on the Pill and then they can use coercion/pressure to get you into screening. “It’s for your health”, “you don’t want to get cancer, do you?” ‘”We’d be irresponsible to leave you unscreened” etc.
      It’s another dishonest tactic used against women. It never ceases to amaze me the creative and cunning ways they think up to take advantage of women.

      • Alex says:

        (1) “It’s for your health”- Well, it’s high-risk & low-utility. So whatever it’s TOWARD, it’s not favorable for my health.

        (2) “You don’t want to get cancer, do you?”- So it generates cancer for it not to be verified that someone doesn’t have cancer? What about if the methods of verification are not of good diagnostic value?

        (3) “We’d be irresponsible to leave you unscreened”- So you’re abandoning me without this uninformative & unsafe manner of screening?

        All this seems to rely on some manner of gaining agreement, particularly on getting things to a point where it’s hard for someone to find an answer. When they phrase something as a statement instead of a question so there’s no “connection point” is a similar thing.

        I’ve noticed that someone saying something that’s plain false tends to somewhat freak people out here & it’s like they don’t get how someone can just lie, basically. I know pretty much everyone talks ABOUT lying & can be very cynical in that way, but there’s actually quite a bit of a presumption of some form of confusion or there was a mistake or they just believe something that’s bullshit but aren’t lying. Outright antagonism is hard for them to wrap their heads around.

        Another point is that whatever you say, they don’t agree. A lot of people have a big problem with arguing contradictively, instead of hamonizingly. They are usually trying to make their case & get the other person to agree. It’s like they believe that if they tell the truth, there will be some kind of tuning fork effect. Not only is this not true, but it also puts things in the other person’s hands. It’s almost like saying “I go with whatever you say.”

      • Diane says:

        Or what they said to me: “We just want to make sure you’re okay.” *eyeroll*

  6. Alex says:

    “and if they don’t make sure that you’re okay, you won’t be.”

  7. Elizabeth (Aust) says:

    http://www.papscreen.org.au/forwomen/aboutpaptests/firstpaptest

    I think a lack of respect for our right to choose is almost standard in women’s healthcare and the type of language used is also important, to lead us by the nose into screening.
    This is the sort of thing produced by Papscreen, and it’s why screening authorities should never be permitted to put “information” together for women, they have only one concern, their survival.
    Now that means coverage, targets and justifying any way they can these costly programs. (made more costly by screening the wrong way, over-screening, early screening and now screening the 95% of women not even at risk (HPV-) not to mention “treating” huge numbers unnecessarily)

    “PapScreen Victoria recommends all women aged 18 to 70 who have ever been sexually active have a Pap test every two years, or one to two years after first sexual activity, whichever is later. That said, it’s fair to assume that almost all women take part in regular cervical screening throughout their lives, which makes it a normal and natural part of being a woman.”

    So they recommend non-evidence based screening including serious over-screening, bad medical advice that ends up harming huge numbers. Notice the link they make between pap testing “being a normal and natural part of being a woman”. They want that seed planted firmly in our heads.
    No mention of informed consent, risk v benefit, false positives etc…

    These groups want to convince us that pap testing is something we all have to do and that we should view it as we would brushing our teeth. Don’t think about it, you know you should just do it.
    Call it mind games, social engineering, misleading women…but it’s certainly not ethical cancer screening. The LAW actually says our informed consent is required, yet we see this sort of thing over and over: we’re told this is a normal and natural part of being a woman.

    Some women might consider pap testing a good idea, but “normal and natural”? IMO, that’s a strange way to describe a decision to have a screening test. Of course, other women will choose not to have pap testing, it’s called individual choice. Papscreen and groups like them fear individual choice, they never acknowledge the fact women are independent individuals who are free to make their own decisions, they treat us like a herd, which is easier to manage and control.
    Individual choice is a huge threat to these programs.

    I have never regarded pap testing or mammograms as a normal and natural part of being a woman, they are screening tests that some women may choose to have, end of story. (and that should be an informed decision, but rarely is)
    The attempt to convince us this is normal and natural is an attempt to bypass informed consent and even consent itself, that if you’re a woman, the pap test WILL be part of your life.
    Denying the individual and telling the herd what to do, how they should feel and act. These words are carefully chosen with one end: to get you into the herd and turn your mind off, so you stay in the herd, never questioning this testing.
    If women don’t question and are kept ignorant of the evidence, and the fact all screening is a choice, it’s then easier to control us.
    If women don’t question, they won’t go looking for the evidence, ask difficult questions, threaten targets etc. Many women are shocked to discover they have a right to decline pap testing, one woman responded to one of my posts, “I thought they were mandatory”…and that’s exactly what Papscreen and others want us all to think.

    “For some women, this part of the test can be a little awkward, and initially you might find it a bit embarrassing. Just remember that this is a very standard procedure that most women take part in, and for the doctor or nurse it’s a very normal part of their job.”

    So we’re TOLD the procedure is standard, that most women do it, it’s a normal part of the doctor or nurse’s job. Once again, choice of words, you might “initially” find it a bit embarrassing…I take from that you’re odd if you find it more than a bit embarrassing or if you continue to find it embarrassing, painful or unacceptable. It is an attempt to deny women their feelings, natural and normal feelings that many women experience, like humiliation, embarrassment, violation, pain, feeling upset etc.
    If you experience any of these feelings, YOU are the problem, not the testing.

    I recently saw an article on Informed Consent and Cervical Screening in the MJA, now we’re changing our program, wouldn’t it be a good time to consider offering women informed consent? Interesting this sort of article appeared long ago in the British Medical Journal.
    Amazing, informed consent for women is not viewed as a legal and ethical obligation, but something to discuss, to consider.
    You can’t leave comments on the Papscreen website, IMO, when you treat women so dishonestly and disrespectfully (to put it politely) you don’t want to risk anyone challenging you, they “must” have the last word. That’s been successful for them in the past, but thankfully, more women are now aware of their rights.
    Their website makes me feel quite ill, I find it shameful that any Govt organization is permitted to treat women in this way. (or anyone else) We have female politicians, doctors, supposedly equal rights etc. but when it comes to screening and healthcare, women are still being told what to do, how they should feel, what they should feel, their legal rights are ignored, unethical tactics embraced…and we’re openly given bad medical advice.

    • Moo says:

      I must be an an abnormal and unnatural woman then.

      What truth I would really like to know is how many premenopausal women have weird cycles (about 90%) and have pap results that they end up getting painful biopsies of their endocervicla canal and endometrial (uterus). An endometrial biopsy is not enough to diagnosis uterine cancer and an ultrasound would also be required. Do many women know that “endometrial cells” are not usually reported on Pap tests for women under the age of 40? When I asked my doctor about the weird periods then he just suggested taking birth control pills for a few months to stop the brown blood. He could not offer an explanation of what was happening or what was normal. I am even having a difficult time finding much information on the internet about normal unmedicated perimenopause. I suppose that most doctors are ignorant then too.

      Women over 40 are less likely to get pregnant naturally only they are urged to go on hormonal birth control since they are told there is a high risk for them to have “monster” babies. Only the fact is that embryonic cells minic cancer cells so it makes the cytologist’s job difficult if a woman could or could have been pregnant. I feel this is the reason women are pushed toward being hormonally medicated and monitored for life past puberty. The small chance anyone could have cancer is the reason for a huge amount of fuss. Actually I am not too worried about dying of cancer so much because I am fully aware that I will die someday for some reason. I would rather prevent disease and early death by trying to have good nutrition and taking vitamins.

    • Diane says:

      The language used on that Papscreen page – and other “my first exam” pages that describe pelvic exams – is really very consciously designed to groom women and girls to accept the exam. The use of the term “normal and natural,” as Elizabeth says, is very, very loaded. If you don’t agree to the exam, you’re “abnormal,” by that standard. The idea that these sites, and the medical establishment, seem to impart is that being a woman = allowing medical professionals to probe your genitals as THEY wish.

      And of course this is the only test with which they try that sort of manipulation. I’ve never seen a site that says that getting a DRE is “a natural and normal part of being a man” because of prostate cancer.

      I’ve also noticed two things on these “my first exam” sites. #1, they do always say “you may feel embarrassed” but completely ignore any hint that the exam might be traumatic or painful. They also act as though embarrassment is only due to not knowing what the exam is about or how it proceeds, and that it is thus an invalid objection. If you know all about the exam, as per these websites, you should be fine with it…?!

      #2, most of them also stress how the exam and pap “only take a few minutes.” The pap/gift card bribe I received had that language too; they’d pared it down to “only a few seconds.” The idea, of course, being that because the exam is of short duration, there’s really no valid objection to it. If you’re embarrassed or traumatised, well, it will only be “for a few minutes.” If you’re objecting to the exam on other principles, such as the fact that cervical cancer is rare and that paps give a lot of false positives, well, even if it’s a waste of your time, it’s only a few minutes of of your life, you can spare that, right?

      • Alex says:

        A point is “Why spare anything?” Why make any concessions? Is it that women are more giving & have something of a hostess mentality? (that just got me to thinking about the term “concession stand”)

        It reminds me of school, when someone would want something that you brought in & say it was theirs, then when you’d say it wasn’t, they’d say “Let’s split it.” The idea that “half is always fair” is not right & it merely allows someone to steal SOME of what they want by using someone else’s conscience against them.

      • Diane says:

        I’m not agreeing with it. I am pointing out that they continually bring up that point as a bargaining chip to lessen objection to the exams. It’s not about being a woman or having a hostess mentality. If a woman says she’s too busy to go to the doctor – “it’s only a few minutes.” If a woman says the exam hurts or is traumatic – “it’s only a few minutes” of pain or trauma. If a woman says the entire exam is a waste of time – “it’s only a few minutes” to waste. If a woman is very upset about the idea of getting an exam – “it’s only a few minutes” and we’re told that it’s silly to get upset over something that is so short of duration. It’s a way try to persuade women that no matter their objections, they can still find the time to go for an exam and test they don’t want. Of course we don’t buy it…”it only takes a few minutes” to stab someone or throw them off a cliff, too. Just because the exam is short doesn’t mean it’s necessary or justified.

      • Diane Spero says:

        my first pap attempt was tramumatic. the women was very shurde, didn’t care she was huerting me i was 17. I am small and a pap has ben impossible for me. I have yrs tramatizing my self with trying to have an exam I done forver! al tey wanted was to do an exam not caring what it was doing to me.

      • Alex says:

        Oh, so it’s just arguing constantly? Yeah, I see that. I figured it had to do with the (add crying tone) “You’re depriving us” thing.

        There is that argument of short duration with A LOT of things. It’s a pretty stupid argument, though. It’s not so short a timespan that it doesn’t exist!

        Also, what about the timeframe AFTER all this? These people, I really think, are of the mindset of “the more the merrier” when it comes to problems. I don’t have any problem with Robin Hood, but that’s the theme that came to mind.

      • Elizabeth (Aust) says:

        Diane
        Al of this is carefully engineered to get women screened, forget medical ethics, the law, decency, just get them screened!
        These groups are masters of manipulation and have been telling lies for so long, they now seem to believe them as well, they’ve “created” their own evidence to support this program. When I get a response from these groups, the Cancer Council etc. it’s always the same thing, it makes me think they have a template they use when they receive a complaint or they’re challenged about their version of the “facts” or their conduct and attitude.
        They don’t have to justify anything with decent medical journal references, the AMA and other professional groups are all on-board, no one is coming at this with clean hands. They can say whatever they like and it’s rarely challenged, many in medicine know it’s nonsense or biased, but no one challenges them, it’s almost a game where everyone plays along, (or is a silent dissenter) they actually think ALL women SHOULD test, it’s just a Q of capturing most women. If it saves one life, it’s worth it, isn’t it? Of course, no one asked women how they felt about that. Too bad about the huge number harmed along the way, too bad about our legal rights etc. None of these things matter when it comes to women.
        The plan was to isolate dissenters, make them think ALL women are doing what’s natural and necessary and you’re the one taking a horrible risk with your life. This pressure usually gets to women and they end up in the program. The reaction you get when you refuse to test is bizarre and unique to cervical screening, doctors may be amazed, horrified, shocked, offended, incredulous, rude, threatening etc. Other women may take a hard intake of breath before scolding you, judging you.
        You’ve dared to go your own way and that’s a major threat to this program. I know women (on line and real life) who say they’ve lived in fear for a long time, “avoiding” this test and the lectures, judgement etc. It’s a huge weight lifted when they get to the evidence and feel they can finally defend themselves against this program/in the consult room etc. Most women don’t even look for the evidence, because everyone is of one voice, most women believe if everyone agrees in medicine (or most) they must be right. “I’d have heard about that if you’re right”…”they wouldn’t lie to us like that”….etc.
        The program thought it could capture most women by telling us what to do, it’s normal and natural for a woman to have pap tests and by “linking” it to the Pill or pre-natal care or HRT, they felt they’d eventually catch most women. Then they added financial incentives to the mix.

        It’s easy to get an overview on breast cancer screening, go to the NCI website, it’s MUCH harder with cervical screening, for decades there was virtually nothing readily available that informed women of the evidence, as opposed to the propaganda. That’s slowly changing, I’ve never seen so much critical discussion on the net, still not much in the mainstream media, they’re still fearful to touch these programs, but more women are finding the courage to speak up, “No, this is not a normal and natural part of being a woman!”.
        Being informed = being free to make your own healthcare decisions, all of this manipulation amounts to nothing.
        Also, the “it just takes a minute” is a way of trivializing your concerns and dismissing any objections, that’s what this program does, ignores individual women and addresses the herd.

      • Apocalyptic Queen says:

        I agree Kate – I personally believe it stems from the time when men took over the care of women from midwives and other women who had traditionally been solely responsible for the care of women (largely, successfully) for centuries. These men even had a name for the female condition – gynaecology (had to have an “ology” at the end didn’t it) and so the surveillance started. Prior to this, midwives were only concerned about pregnancy and childbirth – men wanted to monitor the whole of a woman’s reproductive life cycle – wonder why??

        Yes, I’m with you. Stuff the NHS on this issue (for want of a stronger phrase!). But other women generally make it just as hard to avoud being ostracised as the NHS itself. Whereas men internalise things and see attendance or non-attendance for any medical intervention as a personal decision, women seem to act like a collective community in their scolding. I think this hasn’t gone unnoticed by the medical profession. Knowing how (most) women are, I’ve heard of medical advertisements on male health issues being targeted at women – knowing they may see it and go home and badger their menfolk into seeing the doctor!

        Seriously, why are many women so militant regarding health issues? It’s always baffled me.

    • Apocalyptic Queen says:

      “Normal and natural part of being a woman”? What a bizarre thing to say. Menstruation, pregnancy and childbirth is part of being a woman, not some flawed, and imposed man-made test. At some level, I actually laughed at that statement!

      But on some level, these messages are effective. Countless times I have been posting on forums about this and I am countered by some women who say – “smears are not embarrassing. They are no worse than pregnancy and childbirth”. But contrary to smear tests, pregnancy and childbirth IS natural and although the process may not be considered duly dignified, I beg to differ, because it is something I choose to do and it is not imposed on me by some man/ woman in a white coat every three years. It cannot be compared to a screening test by any stretch of the imagination – and it is not (by current Western standards) harmful or detrimental in any manner. I have a choice in the matter. How women buy this “smears” are natural is really beyond me. I think the programme coordinators use this language specifically designed to target how they perceive women to be. Use of the word “normal” to make them feel like they are being silly if they have an objection to something that “only takes a few minutes and could save your life”

      I think it’s designed to ostracise those who don’t conform too – knowing women’s nature and how screened women may react to them. I think they really fear informed women because we have the potential perhaps to upset the herd establishment and inform other women of why we have made our chouces etc. That is why they have been so desperate to chase those of us who don’t attend and get us on board – incase we inadvertently encourage other women to get informed too!

      • Kate (UK) says:

        There’s nothing ‘normal’ about having a complete stranger penetrating you with an object that looks like a medieval torture instrument! And you know, the medical profession seem to class pregnancy and childbirth as diseases which have to be carefully monitored, menopause is also classed as a major problem that *needs* drug therapy, etc. So perfectly normal natural events in the female body have been medicalised to the point where society in general believes that this constant medical surveillance/interference is necessary for survival.
        And yes indeed, the powers that be are constantly telling the female population that non-attenders for smears are embarrassed, lazy, ignorant, reckless, etc. in an attempt to bully and shame us ‘naughty girls’ into complying with orders. Well stuff you, NHS – I refuse to run with the herd!

      • Alex says:

        Actually, I think it was a medieval torture device. The profession seems to have large roots in a guy that would torture the pregnant slaves captured at his place, too.

      • kat rehman says:

        Thanks apocalyptic queen. You have just explained exactly how I feel. I too have been told, you had sex, and a baby, so you must smear.
        But sex and babies are normal. Being cranked open and scraped out is man made and violating.
        I read that today’s women are shunning smears because of embarrassment. They don’t know why today’s women are more embarrassed then 30 years ago. ( couldn’t be because they are informed and knowledgeable and the blame is being turned back on them)!!
        Anyway even if all smear decliners are embarrassed?? Why don’t they introduce a more acceptable test?? Oh sorry. It’s down to capitalism and doctors bonuses and control of women.
        Thanks god Linda directed me here…

      • Elizabeth (Aust) says:

        Kat,
        Thirty years ago women were just as embarrassed, but no one bothered to ask women, and we certainly didn’t feel safe enough to voice our true feelings.
        I was 20 in 1978 so I well remember the saturation campaign to brainwash women, to isolate dissenters, and to capture as many women as possible. NO consent, fine.

        Now women have access to the internet, but many don’t bother looking for answers because, a) they “think” they have the facts, as horrible as the test is, it’s a must or you’re likely to die from cc (huge numbers have been over-treated and “think” the test saved their life…the telling thing, MOST are very young = over-treatment) or,
        b) answers were/are hard to find so only determined women got/get to the evidence, this was pre-internet, so it meant going into the Medical Library.

        There wasn’t a lot of real information about in 1978/80 anyway, but I remember reading the words of Archie Cochrane, the eminent epidemiologist, who was vilified over his disapproval of a population screening program.
        His words were so comforting, I was right to Q this testing.
        There was NO critical discussion of this program, I can recall only one article in the Spectrum about 15 years or so ago, which caused a storm of protest and was raised in Parliament. Every word of that article was backed by the evidence, that’s why it was such a huge threat to the program. How irresponsible to give women REAL information about an “elective” screening test? It reassured me, once again, I was right, women were being used and abused in the most horrible way. Note during these early years, many women, especially young women, were butchered after false positive pap tests. (it still happens, but the treatments tend to be more conservative these days – some attempt is made to leave the cervix fit for purpose)

        Doctors were also, mandating the test (and a pelvic, recto-vaginal and breast exam) if you wanted the Pill. Condoms were not so good before the AIDS crisis and many women were scared of an accident. There were virtually no female doctors, the few around were not taking new patients or were miles away…I know someone who waited for 8 months to see a female GP. (the same treatment awaited her, but she wasn’t prepared to allow a male doctor to do all of that on her naked and vulnerable body)
        I know a sheet might be used today, but back then when the breasts were examined as well, I know a lot of women (it seemed to me, especially young and attractive women) were naked for that exam. It HORRIFIED me and still does all these years later.
        I also, noted the overweight and less attractive often got their Pill from the male doctors at Student Health with just a blood pressure test.

        Women who felt violated, raped, abused had nowhere to go and I mean NOWHERE, a complaint to the Medical Board was a complete waste of time, there were no online services offering the Pill, a lot of men also, just expected women to use the Pill (they were finally free of condoms) and sadly, many women went along with that thinking.

        Women really couldn’t speak frankly in a group of friends, it was a toxic and intimidating environment. I was silent as a mouse and tried to put pap testing out of my mind.
        There was nowhere to go with these feelings, so women were either silent, grumbled but then immediately blamed themselves for these feelings (before others had a chance to pass judgment) and you had the sanctimonious, the sophisticated ones, who were martyrs to the cause, some were incredibly nasty)
        Some women were clearly very damaged by this abuse, I recall a friend starting to cry when pap testing came up over drinks, she’d had a couple of wines and she obviously couldn’t hide her REAL feelings. I think a lot of women did that…

        A few things have changed now: the internet, more informed women, you can doctor shop, women can see a female doctor, you can get the Pill online and women are less likely to accept the 1950s style of GP. Doctors have lost some of their power over the last couple of decades.

        So you’re being TOLD women were less embarrassed thirty years ago, just as they were TOLD all those years ago that all women MUST test and the test WOULD be acceptable, it was life-saving, what’s wrong with you, you silly girl?
        This has been an ugly period in women’s “healthcare” and to think many hail it a huge success, for whom?

  8. Kleigh US says:

    I really think most gyns dont see womans as people with feeling more like organs they man handel.

    • Alex says:

      Not to split hairs with you, but I think the DO see women as people with feeling & that they like TREATING them like organs to manhandle.

      It doesn’t add up that they are insensitive to these situation, because they try to counter them! They can’t aim against what they don’t know about. Look how they get all kinds of manipulative (acting like bodily autonomy & self-protectiveness are immature, like it’s natural & she’s defective for not letting them do these things to her, like she’s hurting her family, etc…)- they can’t do any of this without noticing details & making deductions.

      Something I just thought of: Them not shutting down when you argue is something of a tactic, in itself. They sometimes just keep arguing & arguing, yet what you’re saying is true. I think it’s because they realize that a lot of people think that the truth will have some kind of “tuning fork effect”- as it has some magical radiation or something. I think that’s linked to the belief that “the good guy always wins.” People believe this & sometimes it does actually happen, but this feeling is a DESIRE for that situation to happen, not an observation of an innate aspect of reality.

    • kleigh us says:

      For me it more about feeling violated and told what I have to allow done to my body them embaresment. I used to run down my street naked as a prank at night with my cousin. Nudity doesn’t bother me. No one had a tight to force me to have things done inside my body.

      • Alex says:

        It’s an assaultive situation- which doesn’t have to involve wrestling & fighting. This, when it occurs, is an instance of compulsion & if somoene said “let me play doctor on you or you’re getting evicted” it would be seen as a coercive attack- whether it was an actual doctor saying it or not.

        I’ve noticed that there’s some kind of general issue with making dynamic assessments in this part of the world, at least when it comes to medical personnel.

        Look at something:
        There’s no issue with someone calling it “fraud” when someone files an insurance claim for stuff they never had.
        There’s no issue with calling it “murder” when someone uses a screwdriver instead of a knife.
        There’s no issue with the concept that altruism doesn’t produce ownership if someone poisons a bunch of people & says they wanted to help them by sending them to heaven.

  9. Ozphoenix says:

    I sent an email to Papscreen about that page, Elizabeth. I do remember conversing with Papscreen Victoria about their lying and disgusting tactics many years ago. Upsetting to see that NOTHING has changed… obviously because they still honestly believe that women should be lied to, forced, and ignored – and all with a smile on their face (according to the pictures on their brochures).

    “Hi,

    I’ve just read your page on ‘What To Expect For Your First Pap Test’.

    I found most of the information patronising and severely lacking in real information.

    What I found most offensive is the line, ‘That said, it’s fair to assume that almost all women take part in regular cervical screening throughout their lives, which makes it a normal and natural part of being a woman’.

    Excuse me, but having a pap test is NOT, and NEVER WILL BE, a ‘natural part of being a woman’!!!

    Nor is the line ‘almost all women’ take part, true! With pap testing rates officially hovering just over the 50% participation rate (of the total femal population), and dropping, ‘almost all women’ is a complete lie.

    No woman is ever required to have a pap test. It is optional cancer screening using an outdated, invasive and inaccurate test, wielded by doctors as a financial incentive under the PIP program (Pap smear Incentive Program) which gives them a conflicting interest in a woman ‘having’ a pap smear. Bit of a shock to learn its NOT all about caring for a womans health, isn’t it?

    And where, I dare ask, are you mentioing this in any of your ‘have a pap smear’ propaganda?

    When were you going to offer the information that cervical cancer is more rare than brain tumours in women? 700 to 900 women in Australia each year die from brain cancer. 500 to 700 women each year die from cervical cancer – yet doctors tell women to never worry about brain cancer….

    And before you jump up and down about the pap smear program ‘saving’ women, before the program was introduced, 700 to 900 women died each year from cervical cancer, and that rate WAS dropping according to the statistics. So essentially, we’re harrassing over 7 million women (the part of the female population in australia deemed old enough to be harrassed about having a pap test) to have an inaccurate, outdated, horribly invasive test that often misses the most invasive cervical cancers, and has a false positive rate of over 50%?

    When will you also tell women real information about the ‘simple colposcopy’? That chunks of their cervix will often be brutally and painfully removed usually without anasethetic (because doctors still insist that the cervix has no nerve endings) for false positives, ‘just in case’? I think every women should be shown that procedure on You Tube before they consent to a cervical biopsy… especially when the chance of having cervical cancer in their lifetime is below 0.8%.

    I do remember several years ago requesting Papscreen Victoria to modify their information and include actual and REAL information in your advice – but the falsehoods, heavy persuasion tactics and lack of any real or accurate information is continuing to happen. I guess lying and refusing to listen to what women have to say is still the order of the day.

    Thanks.”

    • Moo says:

      It might be more productive to call or write to your member of parliament or another politician. I am wondering if changes will come around where i live in Ontario. The current minister of health is a family doctor.

      The funding for public medical care comes from somewhere. The pap screen people of course are going to protect their funding because it means their jobs could be cut.

      Some cancer screenings have been cut back in Ontario. Paps are now every three years and mammograms start at age 50 and every two years. Once there are studies, they cannot argue. It would be effective to point out other countries screening programmes that were closed down.

  10. Hexanchus (male-US) says:

    Just a thought…maintain control of the interaction by refusing to argue with them and don’t let them engage you in a conversation.. Make a sign on a piece of paper to take with you that simply says in large letters “What part of NO don’t you understand.”

    After you have verbally declined and when they start in with the pressure, no matter how tempted you might be, refuse to say another word – just point at the sign and keep doing so. If you don’t say another word and simply keep pointing at the sign, it will royally piss them off and they will eventually give up.

    • San says:

      Do you really want to piss off someone who is about to exam whatever is wrong with you? Perhaps you have a swollen lymph node in your throat, or a sprain, or some other tender part of you? I’ve pissed them off and got my way before, and they made sure I regretted it by squeezing jabbing and handling whatever problem area I had in the most crude and painful way imaginable. If they were any rougher I probably could have screamed assault, that’s how angry and determined they were to let me know how disappointed they were with me!

      • Diane Spero says:

        i agree that medical professonal are taught boundries or patient repsect. as a dr phoblc i well they have no respect for my ody. itd just examin any way thy want and charge $$$$. tey are legal pimps

  11. San says:

    This is a nice bit of information here. I always suspected being low income has affected my visits to the doctor’s office, at least I know I am not being delusional about it.

    I had a friend tell me once I could simply chose to take my business elsewhere when I had problems with gender choice and my feminine or prenatal health. She refused to realize that the places which accepted medicaid were highly anal about the issue. She also refused to believe that I didn’t have many options. The first place I went to for pregnancy, despite being a midwifery was all about wanting to do pap exams, they had to lay me on the table the first appointment and make sure I was fine! “It’s for the baby!” She promised I wouldn’t need one for three years because I was in a monogamous relationship. Not sure why that makes a difference.

    Bad part about walk-in clinics around where I am is they take a month to get into. So while turning down these exams you can argue and take up all their time, even if your nose keeps chronically bleeding from sinus infection, or you can do as Hexanchus said and risk retaliation, and a deliberate over looking of your problem “It’s nothing just allergies!”, or you can just walk out and wait yet another month. You’ll probably wind up in an urgent care, where I have found pap bullying too! The ER isn’t so quick to try that, they are usually too busy. Go in on a day nothing is going on and most people are standing around chatting with a thumb up their bum and you can find it there too!

    It’s because of what the receptionist told me when I wanted to not have a male ob/gyn for the birth of my child. “You’re on medicaid, you don’t have many options!” They deliberately are targeting women of the lower class with the assumption that they are ignorant and can’t make an informed choice, but they also target them because they know their options are limited! If feminine health care is such a big worry that we need all these screenings, why aren’t they forcing all gynecologists to accept all the medicaid patients that come? I’ve called around, NO gynecologist takes medicaid here, you have to have a referral from a clinic or midwifery, even then many of them say they’ve reached their quota of medicaid patients.

    I told my hubby now that the day I get another invasive exam by any doctor like that again is the day he gets a full rectal and prostate examination. He gave me two thumbs up and said “Awesome” as he feels it’s ridiculous too, no one ever harasses him about his testicles… why do they bug women about their ovaries!

    Seriously asking though, why is this aimed only at women? Does anyone know or have a theory?

    • Cat&Mouse says:

      I’m going to address your concerns. Regarding retaliation. Why tolerate it? You must be prepared to follow through on your complaint in taking care of yourself physically. Yell back. Loudly announce you are being roughly handled, why (because you complained), how (what is being done-and you know better how it should be done), describe your pain and fear, and demand it STOP NOW! Be prepared to get off the table and get help even if you aren’t wearing much. That shows how urgent the situation is. File a written complaint with a supervisor and call police. Call a tv station as well. But if you are treated nicely by somebody, make sure you say so.

      Your options are severely limited by MediCaid. Doctors and clinics treat these women generally as trash who get what they get, and deserve no respect. They automatically assume these women are walking petri dishes. No room in their heads for a “normal” woman who’s suddenly unemployed, or a young girl needing care, or a pregnant woman whose husband has no medical insurance. These clinics are known for excessive screening where doctors get “experience.” Keep that in mind and say NO, I don’t need nor want this or that. Doctors rarely believe a patient at these clinics who complains of pain as they automatically think “pill shopping.” You have to insist on tests which will prove your condition exists. Know your body, get to where you understand medical care. That is survival.

      Understand options to the pap. Recently I confronted this with my doctor. I used Trovagene, which you can get for US$120. Urine based HPV test which is 90+% accurate vs 53% pap. Do it and take your life and legs out of the stirrups permanently.

      I’m going explain why MediCaid has gone so far downhill. Beginning in the 1960’s, the Civil Rights Act was passed. A component of this was welfare where mothers with kids were taken care of until age 18. The necessary family unit was made unnecessary. The father figure was eliminated. This effected poor black families the most, and it began the trend through today which has an abnormal number of black men incarcerated. Back then, it was not uncommon for single black women to have eight or more children. The more kids, the more welfare cash, and the State has no business nor talent raising children. In reality, only 2% of the population really requires long term incarceration as being so antisocial etc.

      Next, the constant flood of illegal immigrants from Mexico and Central America. The amnesty in the 1980’s and this pending Obama amnesty, plus the Carter Marielito Boat Lift, have piled a heavy burden onto MediCaid. Per PM Margaret Thatcher: “The problem with Socialism is that sooner or later you run out of somebody else’s money.” And common economics dictate that the more people eating the pie means lesser slices for all plus a long line waiting to be served.

      All these people have been dumped onto MediCaid and existing small clinics. Or ER’s where the cost is even greater. Along with an ever-expanding working poor indigenous population. [Indian tribes have over come this problem by funding through gaming–yes somebody else’s money] Results? Everybody “makes due” with lower pay, limited access and primitive care. Doctors’ compensation amounts almost to giving free care. Barely pays for their lunch; not even the gas driving there and going home. So clinics get doctors in their career twilight who aren’t up on latest care, or doctors rebounding from being disciplined or sued out of private practice. At best they get medical students cutting their teeth or brand new doctors needing experience. All bad. The patients can’t speak English or simply refuse to; expecting to be coddled and/or believing the US illegally took the land in the first place. They forget how foreigners are treated South of the Border.

      Abortion on demand. Done at six months instead of at eight weeks. Sex selection or simply changing one’s mind about pregnancy. Not counting for other issues. The millions of Americans killed in utero has devastated population replacement via birth. And we wonder why so many illegals are immediately stepping into middle class craftsmanship type jobs. Because the sons & daughters who would’ve learned the trade were terminated before birth. Anyway, this was another cost forced onto the system.

      The results? Ridiculous cutbacks. No more vision or dental care offered which are equally as important as health care. State governments are overwhelmed and the Feds don’t care to fund it nor to clean up a mess they’ve created. These immigrants who broke the law coming here will illegally vote since Obama has outlawed ID checks. Their votes will all be for democrat candidates. This has resulted in dramatic decreases in defense spending, which directly provides middle class jobs, creates a tax base for low-income clinics, and supports the economies of many States. We have societal breakdown. No available apartments & inflated housing prices. Schools begin providing three meals a day, further replacing necessary family life, and moral lessons learned at home are never taught. Underground economies spring up dealing in drugs, human trafficking, sex, and evan a few legit needed services. The police are overwhelmed, they abuse, and the criminal justice system loses sight of justice and rehab; concentrating on punishment. Welcome to California! Allow me to add the highest gas taxes in the nation. Plus, CA State Senate Leader Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) wants to tax everybody for how many miles we drive! Roads are falling apart. Sure, with all the extra “trafficking.” We also have HOV lanes which we pay taxes for but don’t get to use.

      I know I went far and wide explaining how MediCaid has taken a dive. The demographics prove this out. Everything else is a secondary or tertiary trickle-down result reflecting negative system-wide events. Unfortunately, simply taxing without allowing people to make money, accumulate capital and advance upwardly away from MediCaid won’t work. Cuba & Venezuela come to mind. Canada, Great Britain are at the other end, where waiting lines and decisions about whether somebody is worthy of treatment rules. When one gets “rich” in the US, which is anything over $250,000, which today isn’t as much as it seems, one finds out what taxes are all about. The Middle Class bears the worst burden, but the lower class which receives much of the benefit pays the least. The uninsured pays the highest health care costs imaginable. What they can afford, at full cash retail, no contracted cost controls, is legalized highway robbery.

      The no-longer-free US media, now a Liberal mouthpiece, distorts facts while spreading myths on everything. An abnormally perceived, fanatically driven, perceived “war on women, war on children, etc” whips up rage in the uninformed who believe whatever network news broadcasts. This prevents anybody from really seeing the disaster MediCaid, CPS, ObamaCare, the overbearing police powers we see invading every aspect of our lives. No political value? It’s not news. The media can’t see the forest fire through the blazing trees. News? What’s Kim doing today?

      Government has no spine to implement positive change and is too cheap to improve anything to decent standards. The media, whose #1 job is watching government does not care. There is no simple fix other than waiting until the present human overload disperses elsewhere or dies out. USA is having problems, like everywhere else maintaining a birth rate which will support future senior citizens and allow us to maintain global superiority. Public services like MediCaid will not improve unless there’s a tax base funneling money into it. The energy sector could provide this; so too could producing more domestic goods locally but at increased prices instead of shopping at Red China via WalMart. But the current President hates fossil fuels as much as he hates our military, as much as he hates Christians, as much as he hates the necessary traditional family, as much as he hates the Constitution, and as much as he hates the USA itself. We need a miracle.

      • San says:

        That was refreshing to read. I no longer feel like I’m some paranoid head case like the medical system, including my therapist (Who I sought help from on these ‘doctor trust’ issues) makes me out to be.

        My biggest problem right now is finding birth control. Hormones can mess with my mental state badly, so I need something more localized. Trouble is I am also still breastfeeding for the next 5 months till my LO is a year old. I was recommended the IUD, I tried to get one but the clinic wanted me to do a pelvic and breast exam, and the pap exam wasn’t necessary. I couldn’t even make an appointment and my poor husband is being neglected (He doesn’t mind lol but I do!). I am dead scared to get pregnant again because these would be the jerks I’d be at the mercy at for any care.

        Does any ladies here have any recommendations on how to either force the clinic’s hand, or another form of effective birth control that can be used when breastfeeding?

      • Cat&Mouse says:

        One, it’s NOT the law that a woman must have a pelvic exam to receive birth control pills. However, putting this into practice is another reality. You’ll get the sympathetic looks where the nurse or doctor puts their head to the side and slowly explains how good the exam is for you. That they MUST rule out disorders-CANCER-they say, before they can cheerfully prescribe. They will claim it just takes a minute, might be uncomfortable but you won’t feel anything, you have nothing to worry about or hide b/c they’ve seen it all. ROUTINE. Strictly routine. Then they lose patience and treat you as if you’re an abuse victim or simply crazy.

        This is where you must know your body, and understand the system. And you must know policy that a pelvic is not legally required. They will still refuse if you ask me however. Elizabeth and Moo are very intelligent when it comes to handling this.

        You can get out of HPV screening by using Trovagene as I did. When it comes to the pelvic, since you just had one a few months earlier, you “legally” should not need to have one to get The Pill right now. You’re within the “exam compliance window.” However, is The Pill good for baby?

        Elizabeth is adamant about how well the Rhythm method works. I’ve heard too of many couples who expertly plan their families this way, avoiding the medical BS entirely. You must use barrier methods when you’ve ovulated however and are “ripe” for becoming pregnant.

        I must comment on the IUD. I hope you carefully consider what I’m going to say. Check out the video on YouTube first, and read what other women say pro and con. Especially those who’ve had poor experiences getting it inserted. It is excruciatingly painful having one inserted. Comparable to having an endometrial biopsy; and I testify to how bad that is!

        They will suggest you first take 800mg ibuprofen. This is nothing more than placebo medication as it will have no effect at all. Once the speculum has opened you wider (see for yourself) than you’ve ever been penetrated before, your vagina/cervix is wiped with a disinfectant like Hibaclens or Betadine. Without any numbing or sedation, a tenaculum (a type of spiked forceps) is clamped onto your cervix. This penetrates it by stabbing into it; used to hold it in place. Very painful in itself, causing cramping & bleeding when removed. Without any numbing local anesthesia (lidocaine) your cervix is violated and dilated with a cold steel uterine “sound” tool. This steel rod with a rounded end is marked so the doctor knows how far inward your uterus extends. The tool goes inside until it contacts the far side of your uterus. Extra, very sharp cramps. You will bleed. That is withdrawn; then the device containing the IUD is inserted.

        This is held in place while the IUD is released, as the IUD must unfold its claws and fasten itself onto the uterine walls. This cramping is often rated as 12/10 or worse. Comparable to child birth. It goes for 30 seconds but seems like minutes. The tenaculum is used to hold the uterus in place, and to hold the cervix or pull it towards the front while the IUD is inserted. Our bodies don’t like this! They are supposed to use an intravaginal ultrasound to view the IUD’s position. As things are withdrawn, that’s when whatever bleeding is mopped up with extra gauze pads.

        If you still decide to have this done, be sure to insist your husband is present. If he’s not allowed in, don’t consent to the procedure. If you’re done having kids, have him opt for a vasectomy. For him, it’s important in preventing prostate cancer that he ejaculates 21x per month or more.

      • San says:

        Thank you both! I will remember and take into consideration all you have said about the IUD, I have heard one horror story of how it got embedded into the uterus wall by an old friend of mine. I think that’s the biggest fear I have about it so far. The pain of insertion she never mentioned, so it is something else to think about.

        My husband has already volunteered for Vasectomy several times now. I told him no cause it felt wrong that he’d do it on account of my fears. Truth is I am an abuse survivor and the triggers that were hit while pregnant by health care professionals brought all that back and I am currently trying to organize it away neatly again so it isn’t a horrible load I am carrying again. I made good progress with my abuse issues and them prenatal doctors just took the longest string they could and unraveled it to a mess.

        I’ll look into the Vasectomy thing, I thought it might actually hurt men, or raise their chance for problems, but if it is actually beneficial I will stop telling my husband no. He is a kind and wonderful man, and would jump off a bridge to save me, but I don’t want him doing anything big if it can be solved with an easier method. We wish we could have children again, however, after dealing with medical staff my first time I am scared to have any more. I was lucky to change hospitals and get what I needed for my LO now, I don’t think we’ll get so lucky financially again.

        Thank you Alex, and Mouse! I am quite glad I have found this site.

      • Alex says:

        San: I’ve heard of using a lemon or lime like a diaphram. Also using a tampon soaked in lemon juice & vinegar. It seems both of these things work for STDs, as well. Just something to look into.

    • Apocalyptic Queen says:

      My theory is that all the obsession and surveillance with women of reproductive age started when men took over the care of women.
      Throughout the centuries, it was women (midwives) who were responsible for the care of women and they were only concerned with two things – pregnancy and childbirth.
      Then suddenly, we get to the nineteenth century and a man invents “gynaecology” for female reproductive disorders but slowly over time, it seems to evolve into a surveillance of all women’s bodies who are of reproductive age – wonder why, lol.
      It seems to have its origins in a paternalistic culture. In the nineteenth century, women were seen as inferior and were seen as unfit to practise any profession where a degree of academia, responsibility and authority was concerned. So they dominated the health profession because women couldn’t be expected to understand anything of it – including their own bodies. Still, men examining women was seen as scandalous and husbands were apparently outraged at the prospect of their wives being examined by other men.

      I’ve read some feminist theories regarding the medical profession and much is made of the theory that “men like to control women’s sexuality”.
      I can understand this theory in the context of the 12th – 19th centuries when society was radically different and men wanted to ensure that their offspring was biologically theirs.

      I don’t think that theory extends to all or most men today – but there may be that few peculiar subset (those who have strange ideas about women and want to go on to practise gynaecology for instance) who might have that type of mindset that women need to be “monitored” etc. I think this may also be encouraged by the culture that may prevail within the medical community (especially those who practise gynaecology) which seems to be authoritative and dictatorial.

      That’s just my two cents.

      • Cat&Mouse says:

        Islam has sought to control women since its beginning. Radicalized Islam today exports this torture outside Egypt and Africa where most of the insidious mutilations occur today. Cutting off the clitoris and labia (and sometimes sewing the vagina closed depending on the “hygienic barber”) has “cured” shoplifting, depression, masturbating, roaming, idle thoughts, etc. It has improved a woman’s behavior and attentiveness to her husband.

  12. Diane Spero says:

    good job women need to stand upand say no to evasive exams

  13. Apocalyptic Queen says:

    This is an extremely patronising and misleading letter. “Special microscope” indeed – it assumes the recipient is stupid and incapable of understanding medical terminology and procedures. Using such childlike language, it negates the fact that the recipient is a capable and competent adult.

    As for the brochure – what a joke. It made me laugh a bit if I’m honest. Presumably, the message is that the woman on the front is happy bevause she has had a “quick” and potentially “life saving” test and has received a “clean bill of health” (she obviously doesn’t understand the concept of “false negatives” – her doctor forgot to mention that part to her, lol!).

    As if this is going to persuade someone who has made an informed decision to opt out to opt back in again! Seriously, what a load of nonsense – no scientific information either, just a re-hash of the same simple, childlike information which is misleading at best. What is scary is that this works on most women – who then use it to challenge the rest of us. This nonsense will only stop when women begin to stand up for themselves.

    So glad that my country (UK) is SLOWLY beginning to recognise and accept the concept of INFORMED CONSENT. Time for the rest to follow suit!

    • Cat&Mouse says:

      In USA, informed consent is that legalistic page of concentrated micro print explaining in deliberate complex medical jargon what is going to happen when we’re taken away from our husbands into a room where nobody is our witness nor advocate. It deliberately fails to mention, unless hand written at last minute, if anything will be done to alleviate pain, and even then it’s classified as “may receive.” It’s far different than what the doctor cheeringly, simply describes what’s going to happen to our bodies. We’re given 30 seconds to read and sign before the waiting nurse begins impatiently fidgeting & shifting her feet. Essentially, we give consent to things to which we’re never informed

  14. Diane Spero says:

    i agree that a spectulm is a torture device. i have mentioned that and i get the crap its just a tool
    thy use; mu body freakd out just seeing one. a dr gave a plastic one once, i took it home destoryed
    it. beat it to a pulp with a hammer!

    i was on who’s started pushing exms on me at 18.
    the issue got worse after i had an abusive abortionist. I spent yrs trying to gt a diagnosis, been put through hell! so glad i decided no gyn ever again.

    how many women must suffer like i have, and ended up with no help anyway!

  15. Anonymous says:

    I wonder what state the planned parenthood in the article was. In california I have had 4 years of birth control from planned parenthood with no exams. I just kept saying no and they handed over the pills in the end. I also mentioned this in the comments on another article on this blog but I will mention it here too. You can get the pill via an online consultation from Kwikmed.com this is not a foreign pharmacy, its in Utah and is legal and legitimate. I just got a batch of pills from them, and apart from a letter saying I should talk to a doctor about my need for a pap smear, no trouble at all.

    • Alex says:

      Very cool. I think it would be good if things like this were more common.

    • Apocalyptic Queen says:

      This is interesting. I have often wondered whether the obsession for constant pelvics and pap testing might be more prevalent in the more conservative areas of America with the acceptance of informed consent and general respect for womens rights more prevalent in more liberal areas. Here in the UK, I certainly see the conservative/ liberal dichtomy playing out in our press. The media outlet advocating screening as an informed choice for women to make seems to be the left leaning politically correct papers. The “right wing” conservative press state, “pap smears save lives”, “all women must/ need them”.

    • kleigh us says:

      That’s great but really annoying they still bring up paps. Woman think they are tied together.

  16. Jenn says:

    I have never had an issue with PPH,I just tell them I refuse to get one, I get the shaming look and then they move on. That being said, I had a terrible experience where this nurse just blabbed out textbook information to me after saying how I was irresponsible and probably had HIV and didn’t know it.

    • Alex says:

      That’s a good way to do it. Like dealing with a pushy salesman, kind of. A definite refusal in a “non-curious” demeanor.

  17. kleigh us says:

    Well if she was talking about HPV so many pple have it and do sent mean it will cause cancer. There very misleading with that.

  18. Boopointeshoes says:

    First off, thank you all for letting me know that I’m not alone in wanting to avoid this testing. I’ve recently been doing research online because I wanted to get birth control because I’m in college and wanted to be safe. I’ve come to realize that I can’t get any because I will refuse a Pap smear and pelvic exam. I’ve been trying to find a reliable way around it, but all the website discussions I find simply say it has to be done and to not worry about it. I thought I would be absolutely required to have it before I found this website. Thank you for giving me the freedom and courage to refuse.
    I’ve also noticed that a lot of people on here are saying that women are only doing the test because a doctor is telling them it is necessary. It reminds me of a an experiment that I studied in my psychology class in college. It reminds me of the milgram experiment on obedience and authority. For those who don’t know, milgram pretended to be a doctor and told volunteers for the study to electrically shock his assistant when his assistant got questions wrong. Almost every single person would have killed the assistant (if the electrical shocks were real) just because the doctor said it was “ok” and “for the test.”

    • Elizabeth (Aust) says:

      Hi BPS, welcome to the forum. I assume you’re American, that means the days of coercion and the Pill are on the way out, California will make the Pill over the counter and so will Oregon. There are also, lots of articles online pointing out pap testing and breast and pelvic exams are not required for the Pill (or anything else) For too long women have been misled, pressured or coerced into these exams or test, many have been harmed as a result…if you choose to see a doctor (you can also, order the Pill online in most countries) go in informed, doctors don’t expect that, stand firm and you should get your script. If you don’t, report the doctor, make a formal complaint. Read up on the routine wellness exam too, it’s not evidence based and FAR more likely to harm you. Being a responsible woman doesn’t mean submitting to invasive routine exams and tests your whole life to ward off cancer, almost every routine invasion of the female body is unnecessary and exposes you to risk.

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