A Woman’s Right to OB/GYN Services and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

Resources | May 14, 2019

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Are you able to access your doctor’s office?

Many women with disabilities forgo medical care — including OB/GYN services — because of physical, communication, and attitudinal barriers. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and several state laws guarantee women with disabilities equal access to medical services. Know your rights!

  • Is there HP parking, including a van accessible space?
  • If you use a wheelchair or other mobility device:
  • Can you get in the building?
  • Is there a lowered reception counter?
  • Can you sit in the waiting room without blocking the flow of traffic?
  • Is there a place for you to change?
  • Can you use the restroom?
  • Are the halls and doorways wide enough and clear of obstacles so you can move about the facility?
  • Is there proper signage?
  • If you are deaf or hard of hearing, or if you have a cognitive or visual disability that affects communication, is there a TTY; if so, has staff been trained to use it?
  • Does staff know about the Mass Relay Service?
  • Is a Sign Language Interpreter or CART Reporter provided if you request one?
  • Is written information provided in Braille, large print or on audio tape when you request it?
  • Are diagnoses or instructions written down if needed?
  • Does staff take the time to rephrase questions and instructions if needed?
  • Is enough time scheduled to accommodate communication access?
  • Are you as a patient with a disability provided the same quality exam as patients without disabilities?
  • Do they obtain a complete patient history from you?
  • Are you weighed, even if you use a wheelchair?
  • Is a complete physical exam performed, including a pap smear and breast exam?

If you answered “NO” to any of these questions, you may not be getting the medical care you need and your doctor may not be in compliance with federal and state disability laws.

If you think your rights are being violated …

Speak up — Tell the doctor immediately if you are comfortable doing so.

File a complaint with:

Mass. Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD)
One Ashburton Place #601
Boston, MA 02108
617-727-3990 (voice)
617-720-6054 (tty)

U.S. Dept. of Justice (DOJ)
Disability Rights Section
Civil Rights Section
P.O. Box 66738
Washington, D.C. 20035-6738
800-514-0301 (voice)
800-514-0383 (tty)

Massachusetts Architectural Access Board (AAB)
One Ashburton Place, Room 1310
Boston, MA 02108-1618
800-828-7222 (voice/tty)