Two weeks before she gave birth to her fourth child, a Florida hospital threatened to force a C-section on 29-year-old mom Jennifer Goodall "with or without [her] consent," Jezebel reports. Goodall wanted to try delivering vaginally before agreeing to what would be her fourth cesarean—if it was necessary. But Bayfront Health Port Charlotte also threatened to call the state Department of Children and Families because, the hospital said in a letter to Goodall, a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) could lead to “death or serious injury” to the baby, reports the News Press. "My health care providers have made me fear for my safety and custody of my children. I know I'm not the only one to go through this; I'm speaking out because pregnant women deserve better," Goodall says in a statement. She delivered Friday … by C-section, NBC News reports.
The courts didn’t back her up. A federal judge earlier this month sided with the hospital, saying the mom-to-be had no "right to compel a physician or medical facility to perform a medical procedure in the manner she wishes against their best medical judgment.” Though VBACs carry some risk, as many as 80% of women go through them safely; the World Health Organization has criticized the US for its high rate of C-sections. And like any other surgery, opting in or out is a "constitutionally protected right" held up by other courts, a National Advocates for Pregnant Women attorney tells RH Reality Check. “No woman should fear that because she’s pregnant, she can be threatened, coerced, or deprived of her constitutional rights,” she says. (A happier pregnancy story: A woman missing part of her heart managed to defy the odds.)