When a C-Section is Like Rape

pregnantbellyAn Arizona mother who says she just wants the chance at natural childbirth is comparing her doctors’ decision to demand a C-section to rape.

As far as Joy Szabo is concerned, the hospital’s not making a medical decision but a financial one in telling her she cannot attempt to deliver her fourth child vaginally.

Especially in light of her last VBAC – a successful vaginal delivery of her third child at the same hospital that is now telling her she must have a C-section because she had an emergency Cesarean once before (there was a placental abruption with her second child).

So she’s painted her van with the words “Page Hospital, enter my body without permission. . . Sounds like rape to me.”

She’s also spent her pregnancy meeting with the hospital’s board of directors and other hospital officials to lobby for her right to choose – in this case choosing how to give birth.

The hospital has pointed to the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) recommendations for emergency back-up as reasons the hospital can’t approve a VBAC. Yet the ACOG cites a sixty to eighty percent success rate for women delivering vaginally after a C-section. Success rates of SECOND VBACs are even higher than the first time around, which puts the likelihood of Szabo encountering trouble even lower.

The word rape is a lightning rod, and it is often used too casually to describe invasive reaches into people’s private lives. But it well describes the powerlessness women fighting for a VBAC often feel.

And they’re all up against the same establishment as Szabo – hospitals that say they can’t have enough staff on hand for an emergency C-section in case the VBAC goes wrong.  Considering the repeated elective surgery has been found to be worse on the body than a VBAC, it would stand to reason that the hospitals would instead add extra staff to help deal with the resulting problems of the C-section. But they aren’t. Which throws medical reasoning out the window.

And it brings everyone back to Joy Szabo’s idea – her hospital cares about the money, not her choice. And they’re willing to make her lie down on a table and force something onto her body which she doesn’t want – and doesn’t medically need.

Sound like rape to you?

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