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Newborn Taken from Parents Because Mom Refused C-Section

Posted Jul 23 2009 11:33pm

Willow as a Newborn A mom in New Jersey acted erratically while in labor. She was combative. She was noncompliant. She refused to submit to a cesarean section. She then gave birth vaginally to a normal, healthy baby (apparently not an unavoidable c-section, ya know?).

That baby was taken from her. Her parental rights were terminated. She and her partner left the hospital without their baby, and their baby was given to foster parents.

Although the mother’s refusal to submit to a c-section was supposedly only a part of the court’s decision (another factor was the mother’s decision to go off of psychiatric medications, a decision that many women make for the welfare of their fetuses), that act at the beginning of her pregnancy would never have come in front of a courtroom if it wasn’t for her refusal to be subjected to a c-section in a hospital with a stratospherically above-average rate of c-sections.

For a summary of the case, albeit written for a web site with the agenda of stopping unnecessary cesarean sections (which is fine by me–I’m just pointing out that it’s a biased source), read the Unnecesarean post Refusal of Unnecesarean Leads to Loss of Custody. Unnecesearean  also posts the findings from the Superior Court of New Jersey, which support the termination of parental rights.

To read an editorial that discusses the mother’s civil right to refuse major abdominal surgery without fear of reprisal, please read Louise Marie Roth’s article in the Huffington Post entitled “ Is a Woman in Labor a ‘Person?”.

As for me? Wow, was I combative when I was in labor. I was also noncompliant, to the point at which my birthing partner now claims he was afraid to leave me alone in case I snuck off to birth my baby all alone in a cave somewhere. And if I’d been asked to sign a document giving blanket consent for any number of medical procedures, including a c-section (which I wasn’t–my hospital was cool), as it’s alleged the mom in this situation was pressured to do, I sure would have said no!

I’m glad I got to keep my baby.

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