Why Removing The Statue of Dr. J. Sims Was Needed
On April 17th, 2018, the statue of Dr. James Marion Sims was removed from Central Park in New York. The 19th century gynecologist, also famously known as the “father of modern gynecology,” was deemed inappropriate and unfit due to his ill practices towards enslaved women of color.
Dr. J. Sims is known for developing a surgical technique to repair the fistula, a severe complication of obstructed childbirth. As a doctor, Dr. J. Sims found cures that will change gynecology for the better, yet his unethical practices counteracts his achievements. He practiced on women who did not have freedom to say no; they had no choice but to listen and endure his procedures. While practicing on enslaved women of color, he never used any anesthesia or ethical practices.
Why did he target an oppressed population? Simply, he targeted a vulnerable population to acquire his practice and research. The enslaved women of color were used as lab rats, only to be tested and practiced on without concern regarding their health or well-being. As if these women did not go through enough pain and torture, they now have to endure even more pain from a white man who does not value humanity. However, what if Dr. J. Sims practiced on white women? Surely, he would use anesthesia and treat them with respect. Let’s not forget, white women would have the ability to volunteer for his procedures.
This is why Dr. J. Sims’s statue was removed. Finally, women of color do not have to admire a man who inflicted abuse in order fulfill a personal gain. People gathered to use their free-will to remove an unethical doctor. When a statue is placed, it is to honor and admire the individual for his and/or her work.
Why honor someone who forcibly inflicted pain on women who had no voice?
Although the statue has been placed next to Dr. J. Sims’ grave in Green-Wood cemetery, it is important to know and understand the true history behind it. Let's not praise a man who brought suffering, but rather acknowledge the strong women who endured forced pain. Let us not forget the women who went through these experiments, the true heroes of gynecology. Because of these strong women under Dr. J. Sims’s malpractice, surgical techniques were produced to better the mother after childbirth. Although oppressed, these heroic women embodied courage and strength. They are the ones who deserve admiration and remembrance.