Could Labor Be Considered Child Abuse?

That’s the scary implication behind one hospital’s attempt to keep a mom-to-be from trying a vaginal birth after previous C-sections (VBAC). Mom-to-be Jennifer Goodall received a letter from the hospital where she planned to give birth, Bayfront Health Port Charlotte in Florida, stating that “because she decided to have a trial of labor before agreeing to cesarean surgery, her prenatal care providers intended to report her to the Department of Children and Family Services, seek a court order to perform surgery, and to perform cesarean surgery on her ‘with or without [her] consent’ if she came to the hospital,” according to a press release from the National Advocates for Pregnant Women.

Goodall tried to fight it in court, but was unsuccessful—the judge said that she had no “right to compel a physician or medical facility to perform a medical procedure in the manner she wishes against their best medical judgment.” (And that’s despite the fact that Goodall herself said she wasn’t adverse to having another C-section—but just wanted the chance to try laboring.) In the end, she gave birth to a healthy baby boy last weekend, at a different hospital where they were willing to allow her to labor—and had a C-section.

But this wasn’t the first time that a woman reported being bullied into a C-section. We reported about a woman who was suing a New York-area hospital for forcing her to have a C-section against her will.

VBACS aren’t right for everyone. But at a time when the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists is expressing concern over the startling numbers of C-sections (one in three babies is born via C-section now), why are so many hospitals still pushing for surgery? And why are they using scare tactics like reporting parents to Child Services for questioning the hospital protocol?

Labor & Delivery: Unplanned C-Section
Labor & Delivery: Unplanned C-Section
Labor & Delivery: Unplanned C-Section

 

Image: Rissy Story/Shutterstock.com

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