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Doctor Gets Court Order to Confine Pregnant Woman Against Her Will

Health & Wellness  (tags: abuse, babies, death, health, women, treatment, pregnant, court order, doctor, ACLU, constitutional rights, miscarriage, government )

- 3019 days ago -
With issues like the Stupak Amendment and Nevada's Personhood Initiative in the national spotlight, I am aware that a woman's right to choose whether or not to carry a fetus to full-term is under attack.

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Eve m (11)
Sunday January 17, 2010, 11:20 am
i am so glad to see you highlighting this issue! i am currently expecting a child and some of the stories i've heard are terrifying. i want this baby, yet i am totally unnerved by the way doctors have tried in some states to force women to "do what's best for the fetus" when they are NOT omniscient. women have been thrown in jail for refusing c-sections. in the 90s they performed a c-section on a cancer patient AGAINST HER WILL. i made a video about it that i'm sharing here. we need to fight for a right to our own bodies!

Doing GCSEs Not active no msgs (32)
Sunday January 17, 2010, 11:25 am
noted! This is an issue that definitely needs more attention. That article has really opened my eyes and shocked me, so thank you

Pamylle G (461)
Sunday January 17, 2010, 12:35 pm
This is outrageous !

Cam V (417)
Sunday January 17, 2010, 1:57 pm
Change.Org? Has anyone even bothered to check and see if this story is true?

Tonya B (120)
Sunday January 17, 2010, 2:01 pm
Court Forces Bed Rest on Pregnant Woman
Reader diary posted by ACLU

January 13, 2010 - 1:41pm

Published under: Maternal Health | Women’s Rights
ACLU's diary | Report diary | Printer-friendly version | Login or register to post comments | ShareThis
By Diana Kasdan, Staff Attorney, ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project

The State of Florida apparently considers confining pregnant women to bed rest "status quo."

You may be wondering if you read that correctly. You did. The State of Florida actually took the position that it is simply maintaining the "status quo" to hospitalize a pregnant woman against her will (instead of allowing her to return home to her two children) and to deny her fundamental right to make her own informed decisions about medical care during her pregnancy.

Yesterday in Tallahassee, the 1st District Court of Appeal heard arguments in a case involving a pregnant woman — Samantha Burton — confined to a hospital bed, against her will, after disagreeing with her doctor's recommendations for treating pregnancy complications. I joined Ms. Burton's lawyer as a "friend of the court" in arguing that the State of Florida had violated Ms. Burton's constitutional right to make decisions about medical care related to her pregnancy.

The ACLU first learned about this case after Ms. Burton's pro bono lawyer, David Abrams, called us for help as he pursued an appeal of the lower court's order confining Ms. Burton to hospital bed rest. Frankly, I wasn't surprised to hear that the State of Florida had stepped in to override the medical decision-making of a pregnant woman — unfortunately we have seen that before. What was even more stunning than in other cases was the unlimited breadth of the court order; the complete lack of any consideration of Ms. Burton's constitutional rights or health; and the fact that the hearing had gone forward with no legal or other advocate to represent Ms. Burton. After a brief telephone hearing, and no review of her medical records or consideration of a second medical opinion, the circuit court summarily ordered Ms. Burton to submit to any and all medical treatments and interventions — including eventually a C-section — that the hospital's medical staff deemed appropriate. To top it off, the court ordered her to remain confined on constant bed rest at the very hospital where the disagreement arose, and expressly prohibited her from switching to another hospital.

At yesterday's argument, Florida defended its request for these measures by insisting that it was a very narrow intervention, for a "short" time, designed to simply preserve the "status quo" until the court could determine the proper course of medical care for Ms. Burton's fetus.

This view is not only blatantly unconstitutional, it is dangerous. It is hard to imagine any worse approach to helping pregnant women have safe pregnancies and healthy newborns than the one used by the State of Florida in Ms. Burton's case. This is immediately apparent to any woman who has ever been pregnant and any person who has ever supported a family member or a loved one through a pregnancy, especially a difficult pregnancy. It is evident to medical organizations like the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Medical Association, which uniformly oppose the use of coercive measures during pregnancy.

Based on yesterday's court arguments, we are hopeful that this is equally obvious to the 1st District Court of Appeals.

Cam V (417)
Sunday January 17, 2010, 2:02 pm
Okay but this story takes place in Nevada - not Florida.

Tonya B (120)
Sunday January 17, 2010, 2:18 pm
Nevada's Personhood Initiative is something along the same lines as the Stupak Amendment and I think that's why they put Nevada in there,but the woman was from Florida and confined at the Tallahassee Memorial Hospital.

Lynne N (23)
Sunday January 17, 2010, 5:38 pm
Who cares where it took place? It has happened and it is horrific.

Cathi Hartline (248)
Sunday January 17, 2010, 6:04 pm
thank You! this is very scary! I do not understand what harm it would have done for her to have a second opinion!? thank You Tonya for the news, and thank You Ronda for the link to it!

Jen H (1)
Sunday January 17, 2010, 6:31 pm
Is there a petition for this issue yet?

Robyn L (80)
Sunday January 17, 2010, 6:37 pm

Leia P. (7)
Sunday January 17, 2010, 7:04 pm
very frightening

Jeanne M (84)
Sunday January 17, 2010, 7:43 pm
An interesting turn of events - do I read this correctly? That a woman with no mental health issues can be confined against her will because 'doctor knows best'? This is setting a very disturbing precedent, especially as a court upheld his right to do so.

Cam V (417)
Sunday January 17, 2010, 8:10 pm
Wait a sec here .... she was 25 weeks pregnant no? My wife is a registered nurse and said that a doctor orders this type of care usually when the health of the mother and child are at risk. So is this not in her best interest as well? I am confused as to what this is all about? Her right to walk around and die?

Deanna Zimmerman (74)
Sunday January 17, 2010, 11:00 pm
Basically YES, Northern. We have, in this country, a Patients Bill of Rights, which, among other things, gives us the absolute right (as adults) to determine our own medical care.

If we are dying, we still have a right to refuse life-saving measures. Most medical personel get around that by waiting until the "patient" loses consciousness (in emergency situations). At that time, life-saving measures are allowed.

The only time life-saving measures are strictly forbidden under all circumstances is when a DNR (Do Not Recussitate) order is filed with specifics.

Whether or not bed rest is in her best physical interest is not the point. She has a right to do what SHE thinks is in HER best interest.

However, this was not an issue of HER health. The fear was that she would miscarry. And guess what, I think that if there had been ANY chance that bed rest would save the baby, the stress she was illegally forced to endure cancelled that out.

JBear A (56)
Monday January 18, 2010, 3:25 am
And the government are currently attempting to prohobit natural (at home) births... saying that it applies far to much stress on the hospital when/if things go wrong. It's only a matter of time before the government will be ripping babies from us... straight from birth.... I mean, the government are already raising our kids, and they are not turning out like the rest of us.

susan w (13)
Monday January 18, 2010, 11:09 am
i don't know about this one?....

Daniel Barker (4)
Monday January 18, 2010, 6:19 pm
I think females need to get the upper hand. For example, how come birth control pills were developed for females, and not males? I believe males have just as much responsibility.


Cam V (417)
Monday January 18, 2010, 6:41 pm
So then the rights of a child is not taken into account or are your laws like those here? You are not considered a life or a human life until you are born?

Dee C (23)
Monday January 18, 2010, 8:15 pm
"Burton was showing signs of potential miscarriage, so her physician ordered bed rest. Burton explained that, as a working mother of two toddlers, bed rest simply wasn't a viable option and then proceeded to ask for a second medical opinion. Seems reasonable, right?

Her doctor, however, was having none of that. Rather than refer Burton for the desired second opinion, he instead felt it necessary to contact state authorities, who then proceeded to force Burton to be admitted to Tallahassee Memorial Hospital against her will and undergo any procedure the doctor felt like prescribing. When Burton had the audacity to request a change in the hospital in which she was being treated, the court denied her request. Three days into her forced hospitalization, Burton miscarried."

She requested a second opinion..and was refused..and through all of this rediculous mess..she ended up losing the baby..

Thanks Tonya..and thank you Jacki for the posting of this..
Sadly noted..

Deanna Zimmerman (74)
Monday January 18, 2010, 8:47 pm

I'm not sure where you got the idea that the rights of the child are not taken into account.

The doctor and judge stole the rights of the woman in their quest to give rights to the baby that have never been legally identified.

This woman was never given a chance to accept bedrest. It is impossible to know if a 2nd opinion would have convinced her, because she was illegally denied a 2nd opinion.

All the illegal stress could very well be the only reason she miscarried.

The already-born is invisible when the anti-abortionists catch wind of an unborn.

Past Member (0)
Tuesday January 19, 2010, 10:39 am
I've noted, thanks!

Roseann d (178)
Monday March 8, 2010, 12:45 pm
Well pro-lifers aren't the only taxpayers so they can pay for all the smoking and lousy eating habits and the pro-choicers can cover the abortion options. After all, maybe I don't want to pay for someone's lifelong irresponsibility of smoking and lousy eating. Where does one draw the line?

Dghcfd F. (0)
Monday June 6, 2011, 2:10 am
Great post their is so much of information in the site keep updating on pregnancy which helps many of the women.

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