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‘Between The Bills’ Episode Two: The Painful, Underfunded, Misogynistic Mystery Of PCOS

According to the ACLU, the maternal death rate for Black women in Georgia is twice that for white women in Georgia and 6 times the rate for white women nationally.

October 16, 2019

listen up

elcome to our second episode of Between the Bills — hosted by Georgia native Emily Rose Thorne.

BTB gets to the goddamn heart of what’s happening in reproductive rights in and around Georgia, focusing on those doing the powerful work of keeping rights intact, what’s at stake, and exploring under-tread ground.

Reproductive justice is about more than legal access to abortion. It also means ensuring everyone has the financial and personal ability to freely make choices about their bodies and lives in general. And that includes support for those living with reproductive health issues like polycystic ovarian syndrome, often called PCOS, a hormonal disorder that can cause pelvic pain, infertility and menstrual irregularities.

This week you’ll hear from Dr. Jamie Nodler, a reproductive surgeon based in Houston, Texas; Cryssy Dee, an author and advocate living with PCOS and endometriosis; and PULP magazine writer Katherine Fusco, who penned the wonderful essay, The Beautiful Monstrousness Of Motherhood: On ‘Aliens’ And Making Life.


PCOS is vastly underreported and under-researched, but current estimates suggest that anywhere between 10 and 20% of folks with a uterus live with the disease. People with marginalized gender identities struggle to access compassionate, competent medical care nationwide, but the South is notorious for it: 79 of Georgia’s 159 counties do not have a single OB/GYN.

And in terms of maternal mortality, a pregnant person in Georgia has a greater chance of dying before or immediately after delivery than any other state in the country at over 40 deaths per 100,000 live births.

Those numbers spike even higher if they’re a person of color.

According to the ACLU, the maternal death rate for Black women in Georgia is twice that for white women in Georgia and 6 times the rate for white women nationally.

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Cryssy Dee describes herself as “a contemporary writer that loves God but not the religion. Through her own trauma, she is therapeutically able to write her perspective of reality.” She is a native of Dallas, Texas, but has also lived in Houston and New Orleans, as well as Rock Springs, Wyoming. She graduated summa cum laude from Prairie View A&M University in 2008 with a Bachelor of Science degree.

Her activism focuses on the betterment of children, disabled adults, and the elderly, and she’s an advocate for greater awareness of endometriosis and polycystic ovarian syndrome. She also works to combat stigma against mental illness within the Black community.

Cryssy is a contributing author for Brown Girls Books, and she published her debut novel, Blue Eyes, last summer. Blue Eyes tells the story of protagonist DeShawn Williams and her “rebirth into womanhood as she learns about the importance of family, life, and self-love.” Her book is available on Amazon for $6.99.

Dr. James Nodler is the site director for the Center for Corrective Reproductive Medicine — Houston Medical Center office, board member of the Houston Gynecologic and Obstetric Society, and Fellow of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

He is a member of the American Society of Reproductive Medicine and of the American Association of Gynecologic Laparoscopists. He completed research at Harvard Medical School on the areas of nutrition and endometriosis and has published work in peer-reviewed journals surrounding his National Institutes of Health research on recurrent pregnancy loss, reproductive surgery, polycystic ovarian syndrome, and uterine fibroids.

~go deeper~

Sources used to inform Episode Two and resources to learn more about the state of reproductive healthcare in Georgia and around the country…

Maternal mortality and OB/GYN shortage in Georgia
In much of rural Georgia, maternal healthcare is disappearing
Atlanta magazine, 2017

The problem: Georgia has a maternal mortality crisis
— ACLU of Georgia, 2018

Medical trauma and prejudice in the healthcare field
When Treatment Becomes Trauma: Defining, Preventing and Transforming Medical Trauma
— Garry R. Walz and Dr. Jeanne C. Bleuer of Counseling Outfitters, LLC | American Counseling Association, 2013

Delayed Diagnosis and a Lack of Information Associated With Dissatisfaction in Women With Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
— Melanie Gibson-Helm, Helena Teede, Andrea Dunaif, Anuja Dokras |The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 2017

The Health Impact of Weight Stigma
— Carrie Dennett, MPH, RDN, CD | Today’s Dietitian, 2018

“What is Weight Stigma?” — National Eating Disorders Association

Here’s why NEDA’s weight stigma awareness campaign matters
— Mahima Sultan, The Cluster, 2019

The Shocking Ways Large Women Are Mistreated by Health-Care Providers” — Kelly Coffey,, 2017

PCOS facts and information
When Missed Periods Are a Metabolic Problem
— Sydney Parker, The Atlantic, 2015

Important Facts and Research Regarding PCOS
About PCOS Challenge, PCOS Challenge, Inc.

Depression, anxiety and PCOS
— Laurie Ray,, 2018

Dieting and PCOS can promote eating disorders
— Julie Duffy Dillon, nutrition therapist and eating disorder specialist

~resources for patients // organizations you can support~

Androgen Excess and PCOS Society
PCOS Awareness Association
PCOS Challenge
Endometriosis Association
Endometriosis Foundation of America
The Endometriosis Coalition
National Eating Disorders Association
Resolve: The National Infertility Association

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