Mother refuses c-section and has child taken away - thoughts?

I just read this story - this mom from NJ refused to have a c-section when in labor. The doctor said it was necessary because the baby was distressed, she went on to deliver vaginally and had a healthy child. However, the newborn was taken from her because she had been "non-compliant", "combative", "erratic" and "inappropriate" while she was in labor. There was no evidence of child abuse. She appealed the decision and the verdict was upheld - her parental rights have been terminated.

So, what are your thoughts on this? Should the state be allowed to take a child away because a mom doesn't want major surgery? Or because they are cranky while in labor? I am sort of frightened by where this might lead.

Here's a link to the story:


In reading more about the story, it appears that the child was initially taken because of the refusal of c-section and the first court ruling was based on that, but the appellate court ruling was based on the mother's mental status (paranoid schizophrenia) for which she was refusing treatment. I have to wonder though - in someone who has paranoid schizophrenia, wouldn't having your child taken from you be enough to trigger a delusional episode that convinced you hospitals and doctor's were bad? If she hadn't refused the c-section, it's likely that no one would have questioned her mental well being. The removal probably was for the best in this case, but it's still scary to think that anyone thought it was a good idea to take the child. Personally, my first child eventually died because my doctor refused to do a c-section, so I know what can come of such things, but I still don't believe a woman's right to choose what happens to her body should be taken away.

21 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    This is absolutely ridiculous. The doctor should be the one ashamed of himself for trying to give a c-section to a woman who eventually had a healthy baby naturally!

    I am horrified when thinking about how much control hospitals and doctors really have in the birthing process. They recommend unneeded procedures like inductions that lead to c-sections.

    I cannot believe they took her baby away for the reasons given. I didn't even know they did things like this. It doesn't make any sense!

    ETA: i too have since read more into the story and it seems she did have other issues, but it still does not lessen the fact that doctors and hospitals have too much control.

  • 1 decade ago

    Okay, but here is a different take.......this is from an article in "Salon":

    "There's no doubt that the doctors and staff at St. Barnabas were both paternalistic and ridiculously egotistical in their assessment that refusing a c-section equals neglect. There's no doubt that the original trial judge should never have factored that into his decision -- just as the appellate court unequivocally said. But given that that is what the appellate court unequivocally said, why are we now talking about this in terms of a legal system gone mad? That decision is actually evidence that the system worked, albeit far too slowly, to defend V.M.'s right to make medical decisions about her own body. It just didn't defend her right to be a mother, based on the preponderance of the incredibly complex, conflicting evidence against her."

    Please find out the facts! We don't really know WHY the baby was taken, but is seems to have more to do with her mental state than her refusal of the C Section. This might have BEEN the best thing for this child.......Certainly, a Womans right to bodily autonomy is what we're working for, but in the end, if the child is coming into this world one way or the other, shouldn't someone be looking out for that child no matter HOW it gets here?

    Source(s): Pro-choice Mama of 2......
  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    I didn't read a ton into the story...but words such as "combative" are not just thrown around. That's typically used to describe a patient who has physically attacked a hospital worker. Without being there, there is little way to judge how appropriate her behavior was given the situation.

    I don't know, sometimes I do think noncompliant patients don't deserve the same "rights" as compliant patients. You have no idea how many lungs, livers and hearts I've seen go to waste because a person couldn't stop drinking or smoking, or decided they "didn't feel like" taking their anti-rejection drugs. There is no end to the insanity of people out there.

    That's not to say that doctors are always right, obviously not, but in a situation such as delivery where time if of the absolute essence I will never understand why you wouldn't defer the decision to someone who is way more educated than you on the subject (in this case, birth). It's not like doctors are "out to get you" and what they do is based on sound research. The most harm that comes of it is it costs the system too much money, but until healthcare financing changes, what would we care anyway if we have insurance?

    ETA: St. Barnabas eh? I used to work there. I stand by my answer. I did choose not to have my baby there as their C-section rate was slightly higher than that of RWJ in New Brunswick, but it was only ~3% higher...

  • 1 decade ago



    There is a lot more to this story than reported on the link given. Yes the mother was dx. delusional with paranoid schizophrenia, and she was under psychiatric care before her pregnancy. There were many documented accounts of the woman making inappropriate statements about the baby and it's health and care and her regards to it BEFORE she even went into labor! (this is how the case is can google it {DYFS V. V.M. & B.G. - I/M/O GUARDIANSHIP OF J.M.G.

    A-4627-06T4} there are many sites with information) During the woman's stay at the hospital (before delivery) she received not one, two psychiatric consults.

    We all know how the media sensationalizes everything and only prints what will make a rise in the media, and it worked!

    From EVERYTHING I've read the woman had major long term psychiatric history, and the hospital acted in the best interest of the new-born.

    One more thing all the "non-C-section activist" out there are taking this as a way to plead their cause!

    Like anything there are 2 sides to every story.

    Source(s): Google
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  • the laws are so screwed up. a woman cannot refuse a c-section, yet you can choose to abort a baby. that makes no sense. and women that have had abortions can have children later on in life. so how on earth does that make sense. i think the law needs to stop being so contridicting. dont be scared. that crap doesnt usually happen. although im not saying the mother was right. if my child was in danger during birth, i would have let them cut my head off. it doesnt matter. i know this girl that has herpes and had an outbreak at the time of delivery but refused a csection because she didnt want a scar. needless to say, she is a POS mother.


    *also, we dont know what was going on. the woman may have just gotten lucky. the baby could have been in grave danger, but she got lucky. we dont know all of the details. also, it may have been totally unnecessary and no matter what the baby would have been ok, but do we know that? how could she know unless she had medical training and was treating herself that it wasnt necessary to do a c-section. i just dont think that not wanting a major abdominal surgery is reason to put a baby at risk. *im not saying her kids should be taken away. thats stupid. and i cant believe they did that. im just saying i dont agree with her decision, even if it did turn out ok.

  • 1 decade ago

    I guess if I was at that hospital my daughter would have been taken away too! They were taking too long to get my epidural and I kept screaming for it! They didn't check my cervix again until AFTER I got my epidural and I was 9cm! I had it out with everyone in that hospital, even my mother-in-law.

    I really think it's bullsh!t that doctors are able to do this. This poor woman had her child taken away because they wanted to perform an unnecessary c-section, LIKE ALWAYS. They are always wanting to give c-sections so that they can get it overwith and go about their day. They are paid to help people, not themselves.

    Source(s): 6 month old baby girl
  • Guess
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    That's wrong. I could possibly understand if the baby had been harmed in some way but the baby was born healthy. That's very scary to think about. Just goes to show our freedom is slowly being stripped away.

    Source(s): Me
  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    hmm i'm glad my son is not taken away, i also refused a c-section and my son was "in distress" i was smart enough to use some oxygen and turn to my left side. had i not been in the hospital giving birth it would ahev never happened. it's legal to have an abortion yet a mother gets her child taken away because of her birthright?

    this is absolutely frightening, i'm staying away from hospitals

    FYI people- 1/3 of all babies are born with cord around their neck. my son was, wrapped twice, just need to slip it off

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    That is awful!

    I refused a c-section during my sons delivery and he broke his shoulder coming out (he was too big) but he did come out naturally.

    I was only in labor for 7 hours and I thought my dr was jumping the gun on the whole c section thing so I refused.

    I cannot believe they would take her baby away. I was combative during labor too, gah.

  • 1 decade ago

    Yikes! I'm sure glad nothing I did or said while in labor was held against me!

    I don't see any reason why that woman should have permanently lost her parental rights. It's really sad actually. But I can't help but wonder if there's more to the story...

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