Mom Threatened With Forced C-Section
Jennifer Goodall gave birth Friday after much drama
By Shelley Hazen, Newser User
Posted Jul 28, 2014 2:33 PM CDT

(Newser) – 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.)

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Showing 3 of 262 comments
Dawn Salzillo
Aug 6, 2014 8:37 AM CDT
I did: vag, Vbac, Vag, Vbac, Vag Just sayin....
Ella
Jul 31, 2014 2:41 PM CDT
Most of these replies just don't get it! It's clear you've never worked in L&D and witnessed a birth gone wrong. Doctors are humans, most of them know they aren't God, and like any of us, they live in fear of something going wrong at a birth. When you say 'small risk 1%", when they deliver hundreds of babies a year, sure enough, it happens! And when it does, it's a big deal. Nobody knows when a uterine rupture happens during a 'trial' of labor, it just happens and boom, you have a massive code red emergency on your hands. Both mother and baby can die. Brain injury/hypoxia for the baby is likely. Mom is almost certainly going to lose her uterus in the best case scenario. And the person responsible for a happy ending is that doctor and his staff whose hearts are in their mouths trying to salvage a terrifying situation. Sometimes they can, sometimes they can't. Those doctors and nurses are people too, it's not just mom who gets traumatized by something bad happening. While most of the time, VBACs work, if you witness a few that don't, you'd be more likely to think twice about whether it's an acceptable risk, albeit small.
HowdyNeighbor2
Jul 30, 2014 1:49 PM CDT
See Don't Cut Me Again! True Stories about Vaginal Birth After Cesarean (VBAC). It's on Amazon.