I can certainly understand your frustration at the policy of required childbirth classes. However, I think it’s important to keep a few things in mind-
The required childbirth classes are not for all patients- they are required, specifically for mom’s desiring a VBAC. Though there are many reason’s why a Dr. might say a cesarean is indicated (whether real and truly medically indicated, exaggerated, or simply for their own selfish ambitions…), it’s important to keep in mind that most of these mom’s have yet to experience a “normal” labor process, even made it to the second stage of labor, or pushed a baby out through the birth canal. I believe that in the case of Dr. Elrod’s practice, the motivation behind such a rule is that many moms come to the practice saying that they desire a VBAC, but have yet to experience the normal process and may or may not have a true knowledge-base of the process. For example- knowing what you know now, do you think your outcome would have been the same? It seems that in many, many cases, most moms would answer “no.” Hindsight is 20/20 and with experience comes more knowledge, greater understanding, and empowerment.
Even as a Childbirth Educator, even as a doula- I still chose to attend classes and still chose to have a support person by my side. Why? Because I feel there is always information to be learned, always another perspective to gain knowledge from. And if anything, at the very least, reinforcement of what you already know, and encouragement. Further, there are certain bits of information to be aware of, pertaining to hospital policy, specifically at Mat-Su Regional Medical Center. These things are also discussed at Dr. Elrod’s childbirth class.
Lastly (and goodness gracious, I apologize for the novel!), as a patient you have the right and the full-ability to refuse whatever you want. No test, procedure, or class can be forced upon you. It is your body, your baby, and your time. However, the same also holds true for your provider- they are not obligated to provide your prenatal care, and indeed, they have the right to refuse care (barring emergency circumstances, and in-labor…). I believe in Dr. Elrod’s practice, they have seen a better outcome for VBACing moms attending childbirth class. In addition, not only is there an increase in liability for the provider (ever so slight, but still real…), and due to current hospital policy, a VBAC requires much more from a provider. It’s because of this that the classes are required, no exception. Of course, due to this requirement, there is no fee.
Hope that helped!