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Mother of stillborn accused of murder

post #1 of 113
Thread Starter 
http://www.sltrib.com/2004/Mar/03122004/utah/147031.asp

Well, I thought this was a theoretical problem with giving a fetus equal rights to a pregnant woman, but now it has actually happened.

A woman in Utah is being tried for murder because her fetus died after she refused the advice of a doctor to have ceasarean surgery.

I just have to rant a little. Can you immagine being threatened by hopital bullies that you must accept all medical interventions or else you will be prosecuted as a murderer? It is obvious to me that our right to choose how we give birth and our right to reject medical technology is part of the same continuum that allows women to chose abortion. There is no way to separate the the whole process of pregnancy and birth.

The prosecuting attorney in the article is quoted as saying "What we're trying to send is the message that someone has to stand up for a child who could have been alive."

That's the classic anti-abortion argument, but I simply cannot accept the morality of any world view that would turn this woman into a murderer for refusing to have surgery.


--AmyB
post #2 of 113
The whole story is a convoluted moral mishmash.

I mean, so much about her (from the link) seems to point to her not being a good baseline to judge this sort of issue ... does that make sense? Have only a minute to type this, so not being that clear ...

Agreed that it's frightening precedent ... but so much of this particular situation is screwy and unique that I can't see how it can be carried over into putting any mother who refuses a ceasarean and G!d forbid loses the child in legal jeapordy ...

Though this case's mental illness component should knock it out of the legal realm, too ...

:
post #3 of 113
Woa, that all sounds really scary. I understand there is menal illness and drug use involved but it really freaks me out that they want to try a woman with murder for refusing a c-section.

Ugh!!!

I didn't see why they thought a c-section was necessary.
post #4 of 113
I hadn't realized, when I first heard about this, that she had such a history with mental illness. That does change things, and makes it hard to imagine they would want to prosecute her as though she had full capacity.

But my feelings are still strong: I think it's really sad that medical thinking is so wrapped up in the law. The other way of saying it is that the law is incredibly medically biased. If she HAD had the c-section and one of them had died, she wouldn't be prosecuted like this. Neither would the medical personnel that delivered the babies. But b/c she refuses a medical procedure, she's viewed as a criminal.

Sad sad sad.
post #5 of 113
post #6 of 113
I agree with Amy - I can't see this particular case setting precedent for all other women.
post #7 of 113
This is not the first time a woman has been prosecuted for not having a c-section. So actually I do see a disturbing trend here. This is one important tactic of some pro-life organizations who see this as a means to overturn Roe v Wade. It's not going to stop until abortion is outlawed.

In another recent case in January a Pennsylvania hospital was *granted guardianship* of an unborn child after a woman refused a c-section there. She went to another hospital and delivered the child vaginally without complication. (She had a healthy pregnancy, it wasn't her first child.)

I think this is just outrageous.
post #8 of 113
I find it odd that people are defending a woman who after several medical assements let her infant die rather than have a c-cection. This woman is negligent IMO. If she had had only one medical opinion then I think it would be a different story. I think there is probably more here than what is being reported.
post #9 of 113
Hmmm...I think that might be a little harsh.

I don't think negligent. I don't think she knew the outcome. I think any one of us could be in the same situation. I would try and refuse a c/s if at all possible. Would I be prosecuted for murder as well?

I mean then where do you draw the line? Does a woman who has an elective c/s and their baby dies get prosecuted? How about a woman who has a homebirth and their baby dies? How about a woman who ends up birthing quickly and has the baby in the back of a car and the baby dies?

Plenty of women who are told that they will NEED a c/s or the baby will die or the baby can't be born without it, prove docs wrong by having healthy babies vaginallly.

There are other issues that I am sure that are not being brought to light. But we all do what we think is best - and sometimes we are wrong. She has suffered enough by losing her child. Does she need to go to jail for making the wrong ultimately tragic decision?

I also think that this opens up a huge can of worms in terms of a doctor being able to force a procedure on a woman for "her own benefit" though. Especially with the precedent of this case. And it might allow women to be bullied more eaily just knowing that someone might be able to press charges if their decision turns out to be wrong.
post #10 of 113
The more I think about these issues the more I think it's too much of a complicated world for my head.
post #11 of 113
I heard her being interviewed. I strongly, strongly believe she is not full IQ.
Which if that is the case, I think she would have benefited by having a court awarded guardian. I believe there is more to t his whole story. But it is without a doubt one of the saddest stories I heard in an already sad story week.
post #12 of 113
We got a little tid bit in our local paper about this. What it said in our paper was she refused the c-sec because she didn't want a scar, it would ruin her life. (What it said in the paper). I am not sure how true that is, but it freaked me out. I am not one to jump on the c-sec band wagon by any means, but there are cases where it is nessesary. I mean a 30% rate, but WHO says something like 5%? I mean it does happen. I don't know, I am torn. If she was just being selfish about her bodily apperance, then that is just messed up.

H
post #13 of 113
If you read some of the links in the other thread, this is a very troubled woman with a lot of unusual circumstances. The woman herself points out that she had two prior c-sec's the the hospital's claim about her not wanting a scar is bogus...she's already scarred. She has psychiatric and addiction problems however. So read some more about the case, but don't assume she did what she did over physical vanity.
post #14 of 113
I am not exactly defending her but I would like to know WHY they felt the c-section was necessary.

Like previous posters stated plenty of women who MUST have a c-section go on to have vaginal births. So I was curious why they thought hers was necessary.
post #15 of 113
looks like they saw fetal heartrate distress on one twin. She visited the three hospitals in a period of a few days. Low amniotic fluid also. I would guess IUGR or Twin to twin transfusion symdrome. Both of which are serious even if she'd agreed the first day it was suggested. They were eventually delivered by c-section. She's been in jail since then (about January 13.) She was also giving up her child for adoption. Previous children live with relatives.
post #16 of 113
Quote:
Originally posted by gardeningmom
I find it odd that people are defending a woman who after several medical assements let her infant die rather than have a c-cection. This woman is negligent IMO. If she had had only one medical opinion then I think it would be a different story. I think there is probably more here than what is being reported.
She CANNOT be negligent if she is mentally ill. SHe is incapable of rationalization with the disorders she has been diagnosed with.

I think if it does go through as is then it will set a VERY dangerous precedent.

With the birth of my last DD at home if I had gone into the hospital at any time more than 24 hours after my water broke they would ahve c/s'd me based soley on supposed infection risk - even though I had had no vaginal exams or anythign up to that point. This coudl just end up REALLY bad for EVERY woman.
post #17 of 113
Quote:
Originally posted by gardeningmom
I find it odd that people are defending a woman who after several medical assements let her infant die rather than have a c-cection.
i find it odd that so many people are so eager to rush to judgement on somebody they don't even know. instead of demonizing a total stranger, why not try and figure out exactly what went wrong so maybe it can be prevented in the future?
post #18 of 113

Re: Mother of stillborn accused of murder

Quote:
Originally posted by AmyB
The prosecuting attorney in the article is quoted as saying "What we're trying to send is the message that someone has to stand up for a child who could have been alive."
Ok - this thing - IF persued HAS to go both ways. If a mother's chidl is stillborn becuase of the doctors mistake int eh c/s can she press charges for felony murder too?

Quote:
why not try and figure out exactly what went wrong so maybe it can be prevented in the future?
Exactly mu thoughts too!

Stormraven
post #19 of 113
post #20 of 113
Quote:

I mean then where do you draw the line? Does a woman who has an elective c/s and their baby dies get prosecuted? How about a woman who has a homebirth and their baby dies? How about a woman who ends up birthing quickly and has the baby in the back of a car and the baby dies?


This is exactly the heart of this case. "They" are coming after us to force us to birth our children "their way".

Seriously.

Do some googling. Go to the Midwives forum here.

Many women cannot find a Dr who will let them try to VBAC.

Many have been prosecuted for unassisted birth.

Here in IL there is a case of a lay-mw being prosecuted after a baby was stillborn. The parents are not prosecuting, the county is!!! That is bs. The parents are at peace with what happened and were made to go thru it again and again bcuz of a witchunt trial.

The gov't should stay the hell out of my body! And my children's body.

Just are much are you all willing to give up?


El
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