Woman charged with murder after refusing C-section - Page 12 - Mothering Forums

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#331 of 357 Old 03-16-2004, 07:15 PM
 
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Originally posted by lollaleeloo
The state already recognizes the right of people to refuse medical procedures on themselves, and their minor children. If Rowland, OR THE FATHER, had delayed surgery on behalf of a baby she carried in her arms, instead of in her womb, *nobody* would have been charged with *anything* if the baby died. Prosecuting this woman for a stillbirth is an act of pure malice. Like it or not, Melissa Rowland had an absolute right to refuse (or in this case, postpone) any surgery that could potentially kill her. It's called Informed Consent.
Yep. Well said
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#332 of 357 Old 03-24-2004, 07:18 PM
 
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I think that this murder charge might deter a great number of women who are afraid of c-sections from giving birth in a hospital under the care of a physician. If the pregnancy is normal, then great! Giving birth at home with a midwife is a safe option. But if complications develop during pregnancy or labor, the fear of being forcibly cut open "from breast bone to pubic bone" (a very violent image) might prevent some women in labor from seeking necessary medical help.
So aside from the ethical problems of charging a woman in that situation with murder, there is also that very practical problem.
Personally, this story adds to my prejudice against hospital births as procedures that take control of your body
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#333 of 357 Old 03-29-2004, 01:45 AM
 
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Here's an interesting article on the subject.
http://www.cnn.com/2004/LAW/03/19/co...ion/index.html The section labelled "C-section truths" was particularly fascinating to me. For example,
Quote:
In three of the first five cases in which providers sought court ordered C-sections in the U.S., for example, the women delivered vaginally without a problem. In two of the three cases, moreover, the doctors predicted that both the woman and her offspring would die, though the women went on to deliver healthy babies without surgery.
and this one:
Quote:
And unlike court orders, criminal prosecutions can benefit from 20-20 hindsight. They thus allow prosecutors to ignore the many cases in which doctors said the very same things that they said to Ms. Rowland, and outcomes proved the doctors to be very much mistaken.
Reading this called to mind the coroner -- who could not even determine what the baby died of, much less the moment death occurred -- but who nevertheless asserted that a c-section performed at some unspecified earlier point in time would definitely have saved the baby's life, something even the surgeons who ultimately performed the surgery didn't dare claim. Incredible using such "evidence" as the basis for a murder charge.




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by manaclaire:
Personally, this story adds to my prejudice against hospital births as procedures that take control of your body
I'm with you there, mamanclaire. I had my last one at home, despite having mostly positive feelings toward my hospital vbac ob/midwife team, for precisely this reason.
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#334 of 357 Old 03-29-2004, 02:38 AM
 
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I wrote a letter to the editor to correct an error in an article about this. The article stated that "the autopsy showed the baby would have lived if delivered by c-section." I wrote in and said no, that's not what it showed, it showed the day the baby died. There is no guarantee that a severely compromised baby would have survived the procedure.

My letters almost always get printed. We'll see about this one...
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#335 of 357 Old 03-29-2004, 11:06 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by lollaleeloo
Here's an interesting article on the subject.
http://www.cnn.com/2004/LAW/03/19/co...ion/index.html
What a great article! It was well-written and accurate IMO. Exactly what I think, except I wouldn't have been able to articulate myself so well.
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#336 of 357 Old 03-29-2004, 01:07 PM
 
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Originally posted by Gr8flmom
I still don't understand how she can be charged with murder if abortion is legal at anytime during a pregnancy.
It's not legal at anytime during a pregnancy. In Utah, specifically, it's not legal past 20 weeks unless the mother's health is in jeopardy.
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#337 of 357 Old 03-29-2004, 01:17 PM
 
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Only to 22 weeks where I live.
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#338 of 357 Old 03-29-2004, 03:17 PM
 
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That was an excellent article.
Can you imagine the horror of being physically restrained and forced to undergo surgery? And how arrogant on the part of the doctors involved to assert that the baby would have been saved by the c-section. They cannot possibly know that.

Here's another possible scenario: The babies are delivered early by c-section
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#339 of 357 Old 03-29-2004, 03:24 PM
 
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Sorry, I hit enter in the wrong place. Anyway, imagine if the babies were delivered too early, and Baby#1, who was dying anyway, doesn't make it; Baby#2's lungs are not fully mature and he/she ends up having problems because of that; and Mother develops a serious infection that would not have occured if she had delivered vaginally. In that case, hindsight would tell us that the woman should have refused the procedure.
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#340 of 357 Old 03-29-2004, 03:46 PM
 
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A baby's body is fully developed at 12 weeks... it only needs a safe place to grow and finally, at the end of the pregnancy gain some fat. What changes between the 20 (or 22) weeks and full term? It is legal to undergo a medical procedure for the sole purpose of killing the baby but 20 weeks later it's illegal to refuse a medical procedure that may or may not save the baby's life?! So the government suddenly becomes an advocate for the child after 20 weeks?
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#341 of 357 Old 03-29-2004, 05:36 PM
 
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The difference with regards to the law is pre-viability vs. post-viability. It's tricky, because no one really knows exactly when a baby is viable (with the help of technology) outside the womb, which probably explains the discrepancy of a few weeks from state to state.

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#342 of 357 Old 03-29-2004, 05:39 PM
 
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And busybusymomma - the law doesn't say that it's illegal after 20 weeks to refuse medical treatment that may or may not save the baby's life. It says that the baby's life can only be terminated to preserve the health or life of the mother.

Here, they're trying to bring in the former, in a sense. But, IMO, there is absolutely nothing typical about this case, and I have a hard time seeing it serve as future precedent for the average woman.
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#343 of 357 Old 03-30-2004, 01:15 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by Dragonfly
And busybusymomma - the law doesn't say that it's illegal after 20 weeks to refuse medical treatment that may or may not save the baby's life. It says that the baby's life can only be terminated to preserve the health or life of the mother
Then why the hell is she being charged with murder if she didn't break a law?
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#344 of 357 Old 03-30-2004, 01:54 AM
 
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Rowlands is scheduled to be in court tommorow. (To enter a plea, perhaps?)
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#345 of 357 Old 03-30-2004, 03:25 AM
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Because the Powers That Be want to make an example of her so no other (drug addicted) woman pulls the same thing - Daring to have a mind of her own when the know it all doctors decide that she should do what they have decreed.
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#346 of 357 Old 03-31-2004, 02:17 PM
 
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Here's a very eloquent, well thought out argument about the implications of this case from a law professor.

Crying murder when C-section refused
Disturbing implications of a Utah prosecution
http://www.cnn.com/2004/LAW/03/19/co...ion/index.html
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#347 of 357 Old 03-31-2004, 04:00 PM
 
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OK, haven't read all the posts yet...and this is probably gonna make some of you REALLY mad, but... I don't care if they had to take my leg off to save my baby...DO IT. We didn't think we could have kids...took over 5 years to get pregnant with our first. I just can't see not being willing to do anything to save your baby. Luckily I was able to go natural with DS. Plus there's the fact that the other baby had cocaine and alcohol in it's system. Personally, I believe that anyone that would do either of those things while pregnant didn't want to baby/ies to begin with. And she put the other up for adoption, which REALLY makes me think she didn't want them. I think she needs some serious psyche help. There has to be something going on there.
Commence to throwing the rotten food....it's ok.
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#348 of 357 Old 03-31-2004, 04:04 PM
 
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I just can't see not being willing to do anything to save your baby.
You know, sometimes the best way to protect or save your baby is to go AMA. Maybe read some of the birth stories here about interventions that threatened or damaged the lives and health of the children and/or mothers in question?

He who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe is as good as dead; his eyes are closed.  ~Albert Einstein
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#349 of 357 Old 03-31-2004, 04:31 PM
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Or watch Maternity Ward some night.

The last one I saw, mom A had an inducted vbac that turned to a section.
Mom B had an epidural and an induction
Mom C had a cerclage and when it was taken out, she was immediately at 4cm.

But what I really liked was Mom D 19yo going completely natural. What I didn't like was the nurse saying that she has to be more creative with those moms and therefore work harder than those with epidurals...

Home birth... unassisted. Oh yeah. that's for me.
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#350 of 357 Old 03-31-2004, 04:59 PM
 
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I feel so much pain for those mamas that have had all these horrible things happen during pregnancy/birth. I had a really hard time carrying DS. I would have lost him if not for "medical intervention". I went into early labor and it was able to be stopped/slowed down enough to let DS have more time to develop. (32 wks labor started and had him 10 days before EDD) My ob was a fantastic man. The hospital here is wonderful. But, I live in a small, VERY crunchy friendly town. From my experience, my docs much prefer you to go the most natural route possible. My ob and nurses were TOTALLY supportive of me going natural with a very big baby. They even offered extra assistance to DH in making me comfortable. They asked ONE time if I wanted an epidural, told them no I wanted a natural birth, and they smiled at me (non-condiscendingly) and patted my leg and asked if I wanted anything to drink. I guess I am just in the right place. This will be my last child...it's just too hard on my bod. So I'm glad that I will be having this babe here, too. My heart is with you, mamas.
But I cannot support this woman. The drugs, alcohol and smoking (mainly the drugs and alcohol) tell me in my heart that she couldn't have cared less about her babies. Do we know what kind of prenatal care she was giving them? Other than coke?

PS-I just want to say that even if I don't agree with you, I still TOTALLY respect your opinions/views. I hope you can mine. Peace to you my dear mamas.
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#351 of 357 Old 03-31-2004, 05:08 PM
 
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T
My biopsychology textbook claims that cigarettes are more dangerous to fetuses than cocaine.

This doesn't mean cocaine use is OK...it means cigarette use is very bad!
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#352 of 357 Old 03-31-2004, 05:10 PM
 
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I don't believe we know much of anything about what prenatal care she had. Nor do we know anything more than that those who are prosecuting her allege she used cocaine.
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#353 of 357 Old 03-31-2004, 06:25 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by busybusymomma
Then why the hell is she being charged with murder if she didn't break a law?
I don't know. The law in Utah as it stands now is very protective of the fetus. From reading it, it looks like they've even legislated abortion pre-viability but left a fallback provision for when it is ruled unconstitutional. Very odd. I think the prosecutors see this as a natural extension of the law - depraved indifference lead to the death of a child whose rights are already protected by the state. That's the only thing I can figure, anyway.
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#354 of 357 Old 04-03-2004, 02:28 AM
 
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So what happened when she appeared in court?
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#355 of 357 Old 04-03-2004, 02:45 AM
 
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Not much. The case was reassigned to a different judge since the first one is retiring. New judge was hearinga few motions and laying down the rules in his court, re: contact with the media, etc...
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#356 of 357 Old 04-03-2004, 11:38 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by Dragonfly
I don't know. The law in Utah as it stands now is very protective of the fetus. From reading it, it looks like they've even legislated abortion pre-viability but left a fallback provision for when it is ruled unconstitutional. Very odd. I think the prosecutors see this as a natural extension of the law - depraved indifference lead to the death of a child whose rights are already protected by the state. That's the only thing I can figure, anyway.
A thought occurred to me: if a woman is being abused by her dh/so/bf and she miscarries or the baby is born stillborn, is she prosecuted for murder? If they are going prosecute a woman because her baby dies of "indifference"... well, that could cover a whole lot of things, couldn't it?
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#357 of 357 Old 04-07-2004, 03:42 PM
 
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Melissa plead guilty to two counts of child endangerment and admitted to using cocaine near the end of her pregnancy, but not intending to kill the babies. She will undergo a drug treatment program as part of her sentance. She still maintains that she was not informed that she needed surgery immediately to save the life of the twin who died. I can believe that.
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