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Houston, Texas

People discussing health of women with disabilities
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Sexuality and Reproductive Health--Minority Status

Sexuality and Reproductive Health Table of Contents

Minority status has a disproportionately negative impact on women with disabilities.

  • A focus group study of women with physical disabilities from South Asia, Jamaican, and Canada examined the impact of ethnicity and culture on sexuality.
    • A combination of culture and disability constrained them in learning about sexuality, relationship issues, and family planning issues.
    • Having a disability compounded their cultural mores that discouraged open discussion of sexuality.
    • While growing up, girls with disabilities were treated differently from their able-bodied sisters because families did not expect them to need intimate and marital relationships.
    • Parents who arranged marriages for their able-bodied daughters did not do so for their disabled daughters.
    • Asian men with and without disabilities rejected disabled women as partners.
    • Women from diverse cultures had the same experiences as white women in upholding stereotypes of women with disabilities as asexual and unable to assume marital or parenting roles.
    • Health professionals from these ethnic communities reacted negatively to disabled women becoming pregnant, from telling a woman with MS to have a tubal ligation to insisting that a woman with a disability abort her disabled fetus.

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