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    Find out what other moms-to-be are asking. Join in the discussion with Henci Goer, whose expertise is determining what the research tells us best promotes safe, healthy birth. If you would like to contact Henci outside of the Ask Henci forum, send an email to Goersitemail@aol.com.

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    Archived User
    I've recently received a question off my website regarding VBAC. The mom was looking for a provider that will allow it and she's turned up empty-handed.

    This has made me wonder--In the spirit of freedom of choice and fully informed consent, is it actually legal to require women to undergo surgery? My thought is that hospital-wide VBAC's are probably legal because you can simply go somewhere else to birth your baby. However, if you live in an area where the next-closest hospitals are far away (most of them banning it too), is there any legislation or otherwise that protects a woman's right to NOT undergo surgery? If every single hospital and doctor ban it within a reasonably safe distance to travel, can a women outright refuse cesarean and still be required to receive adequate treatment?

    I really hate telling these women that they have to just suck it up and get operated on. It goes against absolutely everything I believe in and stand for.
    Archived User
    Posted By Angela Simpson on 07/09/2008 11:09 AM
    I've recently received a question off my website regarding VBAC. The mom was looking for a provider that will allow it and she's turned up empty-handed.

    This has made me wonder--In the spirit of freedom of choice and fully informed consent, is it actually legal to require women to undergo surgery? My thought is that hospital-wide VBAC's are probably legal because you can simply go somewhere else to birth your baby. However, if you live in an area where the next-closest hospitals are far away (most of them banning it too), is there any legislation or otherwise that protects a woman's right to NOT undergo surgery? If every single hospital and doctor ban it within a reasonably safe distance to travel, can a women outright refuse cesarean and still be required to receive adequate treatment?

    I really hate telling these women that they have to just suck it up and get operated on. It goes against absolutely everything I believe in and stand for.



    "EMTALA" is the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act which requires hospitals to admit women in active labor and then can not force them to accept any particular procedures.  Under this act, technically, a hospital could not force a cesarean on a woman.

    Of course a woman would have to go through her whole prenatal care not knowing how supportive her OB will be once she starts putting off the planned cesarean at the end, and ultimately goes into labor.  And even then, there aren't plenty of reports of women women being coerced into surgery on false grounds, or screaming as they were wheeled to the OR that they did NOT consent to surgery and their support people being physically restrained by hospital security.  Or worse yet, cases of hospitals going to court to get a judge to order the cesarean without even telling the woman and allowing her to present a counter argument.  Happened in my state 4 years ago with a woman with a history of about 6 prior vaginal births, but the Dr.s thought the baby she was in labor with was "too big." Ugghhh.   Fortunately she had already left the hospital, and gave birth vaginally at another hospital.  There are some lawyers in the Northwest looking for women specifically who would like to challenge the legality of VBAC bans--if you are in the Northwest, I could try to look up their contact information if you'd like.

    Henci Goer

    I can go Jenn one better. Here is the letter that is being circulated:

    *******************************

    Attorneys looking for VBAC ban victims

    Posted by: "Shannon M." [login to unmask email]   shanonmom

    Thu Jul 3, 2008 8:21 pm (PDT)

    Grassroots Network Message 806035
    Attorneys looking for VBAC ban victims

    Dear Friends,

    As you are likely aware, many women are denied access to VBAC (Vaginal birth
    after cesarean) because of hospital policies and outright bans. Attorneys
    with the Northwest Women's Law Center in Seattle are looking at this issue.
    One of them asked us to post the following:

    I'm a lawyer with the Northwest Women's Law Center in Seattle. I'm
    investigating possible legal responses to bans on vaginal birth after
    cesarean at hospitals in the northwest states Alaska, Idaho, Montana,
    Washington and Oregon. If you are currently pregnant and want to have a
    VBAC, but are facing a hospital policy that would require you to have a
    c-section regardless of whether you want it and regardless of whether it is
    actually medically necessary, and you are willing to consider working with a
    lawyer on this, we'd like to talk with you. Please respond to *
    [login to unmask email] * .

    Even if you are not in one of the states listed, you can still help by
    emailing this out to any email lists you are on and asking everyone who
    receives it to email it to all the lists THEY are on as well so that it is
    distributed far and wide. Thanks.

    Sincerely,
    Susan Hodges, "gatekeeper"

    ******************************************************
    Here, too, is an article on the International Cesarean Awareness Network website on what women can do if their hospital bans VBAC.
     
    VBAC denial is a shocking violation of medical and even human rights. There are no other circumstances when a person can be forced to undergo any invasive procedure, let alone major surgery, in order to benefit another person. The argument that the hospital doesn't have the facility to handle an urgent cesarean is bogus. Emergencies do occur in labor, not a few of which result from conventional obstetric management. If a hospital says it is not safe for a VBAC labor, it is saying it isn't safe for any woman to labor there.
     
    -- Henci

     

     

    Archived User
    Ah, you beat me to it

    maria.

    All Times America/New_York

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