As I was alerted to this by our Mother Superior (Jill at Unnecesarean), the first paragraph is a paraphrase of her own reaction on Facebook, for which I asked permission to yoink. The rest is my own, including reactions to other commenters, quoted within (and do see the comments thread for yourself, for sure).
I know not all fellow feminists turn a blind eye to the maternity care crisis, but conversations sparked like these make it crystal clear that some definitely do, and I think it is a crying shame. I want to point something out from one of the more well-known forced c-section cases (and I do not mean coaxed or coerced, I mean literally forced - if you haven't read Laura Pemberton's story in "Pushed" or online, it's a must). After being brought to the hospital by the sheriff:
And yet another comment section veers off into cesarean vs. epidural vs. unmedicated birth and the point is completely missed. If you walk into a hospital to give birth and you do not consent to a procedure and it is performed on you anyway, THAT. is. the. problem. And that is assault.
If you think using the word "rape" is inappropriate, you're entitled to your opinion. All I will say is that I have read firsthand stories about incredibly brutal treatment of laboring women in hospitals (including some, but not limited to, c-sections), which were every bit as heartbreaking as some personal accounts of rape.
No one is saying that c-sections are not sometimes necessary and life-saving and wonderful. They absolutely are, when needed. And that is completely, categorically beside the point. No one is saying "OMG C-SECTIONS = ALWAYS BAD", as one commenter actually characterized birth advocates. (If that's honestly what you took away from a site that promotes choices in childbirth, and helps women who desire a natural birth to achieve one, no wonder we have a failure to communicate.)
"But don't tell me I was violated when I wasn't. C-sections are not rapes, or even inferior births." First, if you consented to the procedure, of course you weren't violated. That's the entire point. And I'm sorry, but again, no one, NO ONE, is saying that all c-sections are rape.
I also just want to point out that the hospital refusing to support a VBAC for Joy Szabo was the very hospital that provided her the prior c-section in the first place, in case anyone missed that point; obviously, they are capable of providing emergency c-sections! If a facility is not able to provide an emergency c-section, they have no business handling labor and delivery in the first place, period.
Anyway. It's about women having control of decisions made about their own bodies. It's about reproductive rights in every sense of the term.
Let me repeat. "Although a lawyer was appointed to represent the fetus, no lawyer was appointed for her." Take a moment to let that sink in.
Once at the hospital, she was allowed a “hearing” in her hospital room, with an armed sheriff, the State Attorney, and obstetricians crowding her room. Although a lawyer was appointed to represent the fetus, no lawyer was appointed for her. She spoke between contractions, without the benefit of counsel, telling the judge about the extensive research that she had done to support her decisions. Despite the fact that she could already feel her baby’s head in the birth canal and neither she nor the baby showed any signs of danger, the obstetricians were convinced that she exposed her fetus to too much risk by continuing to deliver vaginally: the judge agreed. Laura Pemberton was sedated, and her baby removed via caesarean section.
I don't know what they're teaching in women's studies these days, but that's enough to make me want to take to the streets.
Not to be the blogger who's always blogging about how they haven't had time to blog, but it's been a rather exciting week with my first official client! I still have much left to say from my training, and thoughts on all the things I've already learned, but then online scuffles and kerfuffles keep dragging me away from my own posts. More to come, I promise - again.