Reproductive issues in the Asian Community
April 17, 2012 § Leave a comment
I found Connie Chan’s essay on reproductive rights in the Asian community to be really interesting. Prior to reading this article, I never really thought about how important it is for women to receive counseling about the reproductive process and knowledge on abortion. As I read her essay, I learned how important this issue is for women; especially those who are immigrants due to the fact that many immigrants lack resources to learn about this issue. In Chan’s essay, she talks about how immigrants from Asia would come to their local health center in Boston to acquire knowledge about their rights for an abortion. As they entered the health center, they were assigned to a white male doctor who was unfamiliar with their native language. This made the Asian women feel uncomfortable because their doctor was neither female nor Asian. While this might not sound like a big deal to many westerners, I know very well that in the Asian community, most females go to female doctors and males go to mall doctors because that’s who they are most comfortable around because they find people of the same race and gender to be more relatable.
Another important issue to address has to be how important it is for the doctor to be able to communicate with the patient. I can only imagine how afraid the women in this essay must have felt when they were introduced to a doctor who they couldn’t understand. I actually have some personal experience with this issue because when my grandmother was severely sick and in the hospital, all the doctors would speak to one another right next to her and she would have no clue what they were saying about her because she didn’t speak English. Luckily my uncle who is a doctor and worked at the same hospital was able to inform my grandmother about what the doctors were saying in her native language. When my uncle spoke to her in Hindi and told her what the doctors had to do, I felt really relieved because it saddened me to see someone so confused about what was about to happen to them. This personal experience made me better understand why Connie Chan would sacrifice her personal time to be a translator for these women.
While it is impossible to provide every patient with a translator, there are many other solutions that can be done to make the communication process easier. I agree with Dr. David’s remarks in class on how doctors can use modern technology to help better explain reproductive rights to their patients. Pamphlets with pictures that the patient can take home and examine can also be a good tool to help the patient understand the process.
In conclusion, I believe Connie Chan makes a really good argument as to why it is important for women, particularly immigrants to better understand their reproductive rights. It is also apparent that we as a nation need to do a lot better in making the patient more comfortable throughout this scary process by offering them more access to information, and doctors of the same sex and race.