Anarcha, Lucy and Betsey — Black History Month

Today, we recognize Anarcha, Lucy and Betsey, the mothers of modern gynecology. These three women were used by J. Marion Sims to refine his surgical practice of repairing vesicovaginal fistula, a condition that can occur during traumatic child birth. These three women endured nearly 100 surgeries between them. Anarcha suffering through 30 of them, without the aid of anesthesia, which was reserved for use in white patients.They also were victim to his experimentation as he designing over 70 medical instruments, including the speculuum. We remember these women and the intimate pain they endured and their lack of bodily autonomy during what was already the unarguably the most violent and long-lasting period in this country’s history.


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