NJ Rules That Mothers Have No Rights in Childbirth

This is too complicated and extensive to reproduce here, but essentially a NJ mother’s refusal of diagnostics and “treatments” in childbirth (practices that aren’t evidence based) as well as her refusal to allow a cesarean resulted in her newborn baby being taken from her.

Interestingly enough, the initial reason for her losing her baby (refusing an unnecessarian – the baby was born vaginally without incident) was thrown out of court.  However, this woman has a history of mental illness, and evidently the court found this history compelling enough to take her baby away for neglect and abuse.  However, she never had a chance to neglect or abuse her newborn since she was taken away immediately following birth.

From what I can tell, she ended up in this horrific situation because:

  1. history of mental illness (this is terrifying; I’m currently medicated for depression and was advised to stay on my meds during pregnancy – do I risk losing my babies at birth if I go AMA?)
  2. refusal of standard procedures in this hospital such as epidural and continuous electronic fetal monitoring
  3. squirming around as hospital personnel tried to MAKE her get an epidural
  4. refusing a cesarean
  5. kicking the OB out of her L&D room

To read more about this case as well as interesting comments from the peanut gallery, see Wise Law Blog’s post and the Volokh Conspiracy’s post.  (Unfortunately the commentary at VC’s site turned into a big abortion and feminism flame war between Dillan, Theo, and later John.)

I will say that this family took their chances going to a hospital (St. Barnabas was featured in Jennifer Block’s Pushed) with a 50% cesarean rate.  Additionally, I’m not sure if they had a clearly outlined birth plan (possible protection in court?) or cesarean “consent” form which would indicate under which, if any, circumstances she would agree to a cesarean.  She also should have had a doula.  This family really did go to McDonalds assuming they could get steak anyway.  Not good.

Tragic.  Terrifying.