CALLs: Violent birth / cervical cancer / by Erich Kofmel

Do you know autistic women who have experienced mistreatment or violence during reproductive health care, and in particular during childbirth? Or do you know about a link between autism and cervical cancer? The United Nations Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences and the World Health Organization (WHO) are currently inviting submissions on these two subjects. Please provide information to Autistic Minority International ( or urge groups run by and for autistic women to submit input themselves (they don't invite submissions by individuals).

Special Rapporteur on violence against women (a special procedure mandate appointed by the UN Human Rights Council):

Deadline: 17 May 2019

World Health Organization:

Deadline: 10 May 2019

In 2015, Monique Blakemore of Autism Women Matter provided us with some limited initial background on both issues (excerpt): "Autistic people are more likely to have been abused and for women, their past experiences can be a barrier to reproductive health assessments and treatments. Anecdoctal reports from autistic women indicate that they experience barriers to having regular smear tests due to inability to make and keep appointments (executive functioning), accessing diagnostic procedures (sensory response to equipment) and being examined in an intimate manner (PTSD from previous sexual abuse). Research needs to be conducted on the impact of women in relation to cervical cancer and accessing treatments and medicines.

"Their Sensory Processing Disorders (SPD) can impair the way they process sensory information and respond to it in a way that is inappropriate. Delay in processing pain, or displaying pain symptoms in a way non autistic people relate to, can be a barrier to receiving appropriate medical treatment and medicines including pain relief. Autistic women have reported their progression through childbirth was at the later stages of completion before being given assistance, including pain relief, as they outwardly did not present in a way maternity staff could relate to."