Saturday, January 16, 2010

In Florida, A Pregnant Woman is Nothing But A Womb Pod

I encourage people to follow this case in Florida, where a woman was court-ordered to be held against her will on hospital bedrest. She was 25 weeks pregnant and having some issues in her pregnancy, so it was recommended she remain on bedrest. However, with a job and two other young children at home, she did not feel that would be possible. So the hospital sought a court order to keep her hospitalized, claiming it was in the "best interests of the fetus." Never mind what might be in the best interests of her other two children! The court order required her to submit to any and all treatments during her stay. Three days later, she had no choice but to undergo a c-section, and during the surgery it was determined that the fetus had already died. (Which, as an aside, could have easily been determined by an ultrasound rather than major abdominal surgery.)

In the past, courts have always upheld patient autonomy in making medical decisions, even for pregnant women, even when it might endanger a fetus. The Florida courts, however, have summarily stripped this woman of her constitutional rights. Fortunately, a lawyer has agreed to appeal her case pro bono, and the ACLU has (rightfully) stepped in as well.

Let this case be a warning to women everywhere: The Pregnancy Police are watching. You think it's bad that people give you the stinkeye in Starbucks when you don't order a decaf latte? Just wait til they imprison you in the hospital until delivery for it.

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