State governments are not only taking a highly intrusive approach to dictating when a woman is allowed to terminate a pregnancy and by what means, in places like South Carolina they are trying to dictate how a woman delivers a baby as well.
Mie Lewis of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Women’s Rights Project describes this story of a mother who was pregnant and although she had two prior cesarean delivers wanted to try and deliver her third baby naturally. But her doctors, publicly employed physicians at a public hospital forced her to schedule another C-section against her wishes. When she questioned this directive she was called “stupid” for wanting to try and deliver naturally and the doctors threatened to withhold medical care if she refused the surgery and went into labor naturally.
That’s when the ACLU and its partner organizations wrote to the doctors to explain that women, like everyone else, have the right to receive only the medical treatment to which they give informed consent. That means a pregnant woman has the right to refuse any and all medical interventions she does not want, even if her doctor disagrees.
Once the doctors received the letter and were reminded of the law they changed course, cancelled the scheduled C-section and respected the mother’s wish to go into labor spontaneously. The woman ultimately gave birth to a health baby girl after a natural labor.
The story is a good illustration of just how hard women still have to fight to have their basic rights respected. Informed consent to medical treatment is not a radical new idea, it’s a fundamental right that every person holds.
Photo from Tammra McCauley via flickr.