July 30, 2014
A Florida woman who informed physicians that she did not want a C-section when delivering her baby, was reportedly threatened with a lawsuit by Cape Coral’s Bayfront Health Hospital this month, spurring an out pour of supporters who walked along the sidewalk, picketing for her.
According to reports, 29-year-old Jennifer Goddall wanted the right to attempt a normal delivery for the birth of her fourth child, although the other three children were all born via C-section.
Goddall stated that if a normal delivery didn’t work out, she would then opt for an emergency C-section. Bayfront Health, however, disagreed. In fact, they allegedly not only told her that she had no choice but to have a C-section, but also threatened to call social services on her children if she kept refusing.
As a result, Goddall attempted to gain a temporary restraining order against the hospital. However, it was denied in federal court. The reasoning for the denial was that Goddall didn’t have the “right to compel a physician or medical facility to perform a medical procedure in the manner she wishes against their best medical judgment.”
On Friday, she gave birth via C-section.
The decision, however, has caused a large stir among other friends, loved ones, other parents, and advocates.
“Every woman deserves the right to make choices about their birth and every woman deserves the right to say no if she doesn’t want to consent to surgery. I know what it feels like to just be in that position,” said supporter Shannon Mithchell, who also has four children.
Mitchell also said that Goddall’s rights were violated, as the state of Florida allows patients to refuse medical procedures they feel uncomfortable with.
“Florida’s patient bill of right says we can refuse any procedure we want. And refusing cesarean is a procedure,” said Mitchell.
Other agencies, such as the National Advocates for Pregnant Women, state that the risks of having a normal delivery after previous C-section are much higher, yet they feel that any woman who is forced into one is being deprived of her constitutional rights. There are still many risks associated with C-section deliveries, including fetal lacerations, hemorrhaging, blood clots, and maternal infections.
In addition, the World Health Organization has criticized the United States for its high amount of C-section births.
Meanwhile, an online petition was created for Goddall. It currently has over 6,000 signatures from supporters who believe her rights are being violated.
“VBAC is a much safer route than a 4th C-section. There is no medical reason to circumvent Ms. Goodall’s constitutional right to refuse treatment. Let her have the birth experience she has chosen. Business people should not make medical decisions for others,” said online supporter Ashley Hall.