STAT series investigates sterilization surgeries in sickle cell patients

In a recent series of investigative articles, STAT reported that many pregnant people with sickle cell disease have received tubal ligations from health care providers without being adequately informed that the procedure would be permanent. Although patients must sign consent forms before undergoing these kinds of procedures, experts quoted in the articles explained that these consent forms are often difficult to understand. Given that more than 90 percent of people in the U.S. with sickle cell disease are Black, the series connected these patients’ experiences to the history of forced sterilization in the U.S., which has primarily affected people of color, low-income people, and people with disabilities.

Recommendation: This series calls attention to the discrimination, coercion, and health inequities that Black patients may face in medical settings. Trending conversations about this series provide an opportunity for community-based organizations—particularly those that serve Black communities—and other partners to share local patient advocacy resources, as well as tips for communicating with health care providers and understanding diagnoses and treatment plans. These conversations also provide an opportunity to recirculate existing content outlining different forms of contraception.