Feedback Friday - C Section Debate

This week, I read a post from Momlogic that I knew we all would want to weigh in on. It seems a woman in New Jersey refused to consent to a C-section during labor in the event that her baby was in distress. She ended up giving birth vaginally without incident. The baby was in good medical condition.

However, her baby was taken away from her and her parental rights were terminated because she "abused and neglected her child" by refusing the C-section and behaving "erratically" while in labor.

A New Jersey appellate court has upheld the ruling, and custody has been given to the child's foster parents.

The court's decision cites hospital records that describe the mother as "combative," "uncooperative," "erratic," "noncompliant," "irrational" and "inappropriate."

Now, the court also mentions that the mother was also in psychiatric for 12 years prior to the birth. (The Huffington Post points out, her psychiatric state would never have been questioned if the mother had not refused invasive abdominal surgery (true?) -- which they say was entirely within her rights.)

Here is the entire court ruling. ** UPDATE: it seems this link has been removed, I will try to locate another for you. Sorry!

Now you know the ruling and the background info...thoughts?


  1. Wow. I just read the Huffington post and read some of their readers comments. Pretty agressive comments. I'm always so intimidated when trying to express myself on such a touchy subject (somewhat of a wuss :)

    I guess all I can really say and hope is that this child who is healthy finds a home that she can grow and be loved.

    Stopping by from SITS.

  2. Okay, who doesn't behave a little erratically during labor?

    As my second-born got low enough that the epidural no longer worked, I sobbed and insisted I couldn't do it--that they were going to have to take her out some other way.

    Obviously, she was already about to crown and there was no going back. Everyone in the room just ignored my crazy demands, and I gave birth within minutes. Everyone in the room thought my uncharacteristic behavior was a laugh riot.

    But, had they required my medical consent to proceed with a vaginal delivery--at that moment--I may not have signed. I don't have a history of mental issues, but was not rational at that moment--or during my previous labor, for that matter. Glad I didn't say or do anything that could have compromised my rights as a parent.

  3. Who doesn't act "irrationally" during labor. And, the 12 hrs. spent in Psych beforehand could have added fuel to the fire.

  4. mother of god...i don't even know what to say about this. after reading the huffington report, i am even more baffled than ever. it is incomprehensible to me that they took this woman's baby away from her for refusing the c-section. i can't believe that is in any way, shape or form legal. after that though, it appears that the case gets weirder and weirder. i will be interested to see how this all turns out.

  5. Wow, I really don't know what to say about this...I just read something about a San Antonio woman who had been in an out of psych wards and she ended up killing and eating body parts of her 3 week old baby! That was the most distrurbing thing I had read in a long time. The baby was adorable but the mother was a whack job! http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2009-07-27-baby-killed_N.htm

  6. The link to the court ruling doesn't work. I feel that the Huffington post is very one sided and does not accurately present the actual case. The woman's parenting rights were not revoked solely because of her refusal to have a c-section although it was taken into consideration as additional evidence of her mental instability. The overall labor experience was much more extreme than the typical woman experiencing natural labor. She refused oxygen, fetal monitoring, and any attempts to check her cervix. Doctors do not recommend major abdominal surgery lightly.

  7. My 2 cents... I think only under extreme circumstances should a baby, an infant!, be taken from it's mother. This doesn't seem right. And getting treatment for a psychiatric condition is not a reason to have your rights taken away as a mother.

  8. a little piece of my heart just fell off.

  9. Interesting to me that there are still legal "rights" in this country for mothers to have late-term abortions and actually *choose* to end the life of the baby while still pregnant ... and it is perfectly legal.

    In this case the mom decided to calculate the risk herself and lost custody? Insane.

  10. Wow. There HAS to be more to the story, right? Yikes.
    All I can say is that since I am the type of mom who would/has refuse oxygen, fetal monitoring, cervix checks, and would really, really resist c-section... it's kind of freaky to think some believe that makes one an unfit mother.
    I think that's why there's been a big return to home births.

    Btw, can't wait to see how the couch will turn out!

  11. I'm just sitting here shaking my head!!!!! I wonder how the kiddo is going to feel someday........

  12. It's a shame that rather than appreciating that baby and mom were healthy with the natural way of giving birth it was decide to take away the baby ...

  13. I had three C sections. However, I am shocked that someone who would refuse one - would be taken to court.

    Shocked and saddened.

  14. I think C-sections (most often) are a farce. I watched a FAB movie called: The business of being born. It is showes a diffrent light of birthing in America! Net Flicks has has the DVD.

  15. for you...


  16. I am a nurse in the neonatal intensive care at a major state own hospital in my area. C-Sections do have complications and are major surgery; however, I feel that when your child's life is in danger, you need to do what you have to do in order of protecting that child. If that means checking your cervix, being given oxygen, have fetal monitoring, etc, then so be it. This is your child, we are talking about and another person's life that is in your hands. It is also very hard for an infant/ child to be taken away from their parents, especially a mother. There had to be more to the story than just refusing a c-section.

  17. WOW!!!!!!!!
    i do not know what to say?!!?!?!?!??!
    it sounds a bit extreme......just hope that it is all best for the child!!!!!


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