Birth Rape

Creative Commons License photo credit: SantaRosa OLD SKOOL

One of the growing concerns among women who would prefer to deliver their baby naturally is the increasing pressure from certain doctors and hospitals to have a C-section. For example, for a long time it was common practice for many doctors to refuse to deliver a baby naturally if a woman had previously had a C-section. Fortunately, the idea of VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) has become much more acceptable.

Still, there are those horrifying cases in which a woman is compelled to have a C-section, sometimes without even consent. Such is the case with one woman’s recent birthing experience.

A surprise C-Section

In the case of this woman, she consented to fetal monitoring. This is common in VBAC situations, because doctors often want to keep better tabs on how the baby is doing. The medical staff even moved the woman to the operating room, in the event that a C-section became necessary.

Even though the woman protested and stated that she didn’t want a C-section, the staff continued to prep her. They provided her at first with oxygen, but then switched to anesthetic without her consent. Afterwards, she woke up having had a C-section.

Not typical

Cases like this are extremely rare, but they do happen. Whether it’s a matter of hospital staff making mistakes, a doctor who thinks she knows better than the patient, or some other form of misunderstanding, the fact of the matter is that it’s completely avoidable.

Mother’s wishes, medical needs

There’s another side to the story, as there usually is. Somewhere, someone believed it medically necessary for the well-being of either the woman, her baby, or both that a C-section be performed.

It raises important questions about how labor and delivery are treated, and about the rights of the baby to receive medical treatment over and against the right of the woman to consent to medical treatment.

It’s a sticky situation, to be sure, and in most cases it’s much more clear-cut.

What do you think you’d do if you found yourself in this situation? Should the woman pursue a legal case against the physicians and the facility?

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