Because freedom can't protect itself
I'm currently experiencing my 3rd pregnancy (first was a c-section, 2nd was terminated by 11 weeks) and am being told that because of my prior c-section, hospital policy dictates that I must deliver at the hospital since I have a midwife as my primary caregiver. It is my desire to labour & deliver at home after my first hospital experience was a huge disappointment, but I can't do that and keep my midwife. My only other option is an unassisted home delivery which I know my husband isn't supportive of. Can you point me in the direction of any resources in British Columbia, Canada, to help me make my case that I *can* actually labour and deliver at my home?
Thank you, and an excellent article. I'm so glad the ACLU is helping people from all walks of life with all kinds of these problems. Thank you for the great work you do!
Why is this woman considered "courageous" for sticking to her guns and getting the mighty ACLU to intervene on her behalf with lawyers? She's simply smart, assertive and has good friends with money. She might even be called "chicken" for wanting to get away from surgical instruments after having had that nightmare once already.
We had a case in Canada that is now dubbed the "Baby R" case where a poor woman with no friends was coerced into having a c section because her (4th) baby was presenting breech (bum first). She refused the cesarean but the dr got a court order to threaten her. She agreed under duress. Feminist lawyers only got wind of it after the fact but that woman won the right for Canadian women to refuse major abdominal surgery no matter what the drs say. Of course, the drs don't mention that much when they are "convincing" someone to lie on the cutting table.
Thanks for this story. Maybe it will save just one woman from the knife.
Thank you ACLU. Pregnant women have rights. We need health care reform in this country that is clear: coercion is not the same as consent. Maternity care in the US is expensive, lacks flexibility to support women's preferences and needs, is highly technical and is also dangerous. In general, midwives have a greater understanding of the delicate dance that is informing and supporting a woman's choice. So sad that this woman had to call you just the get evidence-based, sane care.
Elizabeth Allemann, MD
Thank you for writing this article. I often receive phone calls from women, (I deal with mostly mothers during pregnancy) who have been "abused and traumatised" by their health care providers, mostly male doctors. First "Do No Harm" should be written in big letters in every doctors surgery/office. Doctors should learn basic human rights, the power of the word (verbal abuse and the harm they often cause), respect and that everyone has a freedom of choice! AND every hospital, clinic should have a patient care centre where patients can be heard, make a compliant and give feedback of mistreatment of any kind. I think this would humble and humanise these people making them accountable for their actions. This happens in other professions.
Well done for this reporting and I do hope someone will take this up on a large scale there are really SO many horror stories of abuse which must be prevented.
Thank you for this article.
When I had my baby, I had to sign documents and give consent while in labor.
What I had planned to be a drug free, vaginal birth turned into a cesarean in which they completely knocked me out (I never would have agreed to that had I known). Then they kept my baby in the NICU and didn't let me see her for 12 hours.
I'm grateful for the medicine, but angry at how inhumanely we were treated. We had plans to have two children, but after that, I'm not so sure. I feel robbed.
In the Tampa Bay Area St. Joseph's Women's Hospital has the highest C-section rate of ANY hospital in the area... They even bullied my daughter's husband into forcing her to sign surgery papers DURING A PERFECTLY NORMAL LABOR. They did it when I went downstairs for coffee because they knew I what advocating for her. They moved so quickly that she was already on her way to sugery when I returned ONLY 22 mins later! We DID win tho, her next child was delivered V-Bac (Vaginal delivery after Cesarian) in a DIFFERENT hospital 2 years later! (With a doula!)
The problem is that those doctors can face lawsuits if they go along with a mothers wish and something goes wrong. If they go for the C-sec, and pressure too hard they face lawsuits, if they go for a natural delivery at the mothers request and complications occur they can face lawsuits.
Personally I don't know why people still go into medicine.
The problem is there is this is a no win scenario for doctors. If they do perform the C-section and the mother wasn't convinced they can face a lawsuit. If they don't push hard enough for it and complications arise, they can face a lawsuit.
Personally i dont know why anyone would go into medicine.
I had 2 previous c-sections for the sole reason that my hips were too loose and got mis-aligned. With my third pregnancy, I got a good chiropractor and had no problems. However NONE of the physicians in the state (except in Iowa City, which is a several hour drive) would accept me as a patient unless I concented to have a c-section. I would NOT do this, so I had my third at home with a midwife with no problems at all. There was only one midwife in the state that would take me on as a patient.
I was warned of the possibility that physicians would get a court order to force me to have a c-section. As a Ph.D., teaching medical school for years, I almost hoped that they would try. There was NO reason to force women into an elective surgery except for the convenience of the physician. It is more risky for the mother and child to have a c-section than a natural birth. Therefore physicians in this country are not living up to their oath "Do no harm".
The advent of this policy is due to the fear of uterine rupture. Research indicates that the incidence of uterine rupture post 1 or more c-sections is very similar to those of a mother giving birth for the first time. Physicians have been promoting fear hopefully due to their lack of knowledge on the current research. More dangerously it could also be due to lack of teaching of natural birth in OB/GYN training, fear of litigation, and overall convenience for the physician.
The US has the highest c-section rate in the world by far. This is NOT because they are necessary or good for the patients short-term or long-term health. I am glad to hear this story, not for the pain and trouble that the mother was forced into, but because this is a broken policy within the US that needs to change. Change will only come by publicizing these stories, informing the public with the truth, and getting our society to change the rules.
So by this logic, the woman is in complete control of what happens or does not happen to her body, even while another life resides inside of it. Would anyone be as supportive if she wanted to terminate the pregnancy, but no licensed physicians would perform the abortion? All of these civil rights groups cannot have it both ways. Either the doctors can lawfully intervene to do what's best for the fetus and refuse or require certain forms of treatment over the course of certain pregnancies and abortion is illegal, or women can have the free choice to do what they deem necessary, which could potentially be terminating a pregnancy, no matter the reason for that choice. Why can't everyone just let other people do whatever they want, as long as they are not inflicting suffering or infringing on the rights of others? Women, all women, should have the choice of whether or not to continue a pregnancy, where they have birth, if they want to do it natural or by C-section or use an epidural, it should be at the sole discretion of the woman giving birth, period.
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