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Is A Forced C-Section Akin To Rape?

In a story on The Daily Beast, Danielle Friedman writes about Joy Szabo, an Arizona mom who painted a message on her car window which read, “Page Hospital, enter my body without permission… Sounds like rape to me.” Szabo was pregnant with her fourth child and the local hospital (the only one she could feasibly get to when she went into labor) would only agree to giving her a C-section when the time came to give birth. Szabo has three other children — two born naturally, one born via C-section. “In June, Szabo’s hospital adopted a policy prohibiting women who had prior C-sections from delivering vaginally—from having what’s technically known as a VBAC, for ‘vaginal birth after Caesarean.’”Back in the day, having a vaginal delivery after having a C-section was considered dangerous, but nowadays the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has said that they are OK, so long as the OB and an anesthesiologist are present for the birth. In theory, Szabo’s hospital’s policy decision was unnecessary, likely an attempt to cut corners as many smaller hospitals are having funding issues and are eliminating costly VBACs to save money.

Unfortunately, policies like these take away the freedom for mothers to choose how they want to give birth. Szabo is essentially being forced into having an unnecessary C-section by not being given another option. Like all surgeries, C-sections come with a host of possible complications and dangers. In Szabo’s opinion, this is akin to rape, as the doctor at her hospital will be entering her body without her permission. Szabo says “the hospital’s CEO told her that if she were to arrive during labor and refuse a C-section, the hospital would seek a court order to overrule her.”

So, what do you think? Is Szabo’s rape comparison off base? Are her rights being violated? Do you think the hospital should have to overturn its no-VBAC policy so that mothers like Szabo have a choice in how they give birth? Or does she have another option? [The Daily Beast]

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