Hospital Forces Mom to Have C-Section (With Judge's Blessing) & Sets Scary Precedent

doctors delivering baby via cesareanA mom named Jennifer Gooddall has received an outpouring of support this week after going to battle for the kind of birth she wanted. It's a battle no woman should have to face, and yet it's one that Goddall not only had to wage, but one she lost ...

All the 29-year-old Cape Coral mom wanted to do was try to deliver vaginally (or have a VBAC) before agreeing to what would be her fourth cesarean -- if it was necessary. But Bayfront Health Port Charlotte threatened to call the state Department of Child and Families, because, according to the hospital's letter, a VBAC (vaginal birth after C-section) could lead to "death or serious injury" to the baby. They threatened to force a C-section on Goddall "with or without [her] consent."

Despite her legal attempts to fight the hospital on this, Goodall was denied a temporary restraining order against the hospital by a federal court, saying Goodall had no "right to compel a physician or medical facility to perform a medical procedure in the manner she wishes against their best medical judgment." This past Friday, she delivered her fourth child -- by C-section.

No wonder crowds are up in arms over this. In a statement, Goddall said:

My health care providers have made me fear for my safety and custody of my children. I know I'm not the only one to go through this; I'm speaking out because pregnant women deserve better.

We sure do. Women have the right to the delivery they want, to bring their babies into the world as we see fit. All too often, medical doctors seem to think they know better about our bodies than women themselves. It's enough already. To force a woman to have a surgery she merely wanted to try to avoid is reprehensible. Wanna talk about safety? Fine, 90 percent of women who have had C-sections are viable candidates for VBAC, and roughly 3 out of 4 can successfully give birth vaginally. (Meanwhile, the World Health Organization has criticized the US for its high rate of C-sections.) In other words, VBACs aren't nearly as risky as so many doctors would have moms believe, and C-sections shouldn't so readily be seen as a default delivery option. 

More from The Stir: You Can Have a VBAC: This Mom of 3 Is Proof

But most of all, when it comes to a birth plan, moms-to-be deserve to be, must be HEARD, respected, trusted. We've said it before, and we'll say it again: Giving birth is something women have done since the dawn of time, so why are some health care providers second-guessing women now? It's a trend that's deeply disturbing and one that must stop. Pregnancy is never an excuse for a doctor or a judge to fearmonger or strip a woman of her rights. Jennifer Gooddall was wronged. We can only work now to prevent other moms from finding themselves in her shoes.

Were you ever pressured into a decision related to your pregnancy or giving birth that you weren't in agreement with?


Image via iStock/BugTiger

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nonmember avatar SuzyB

Obviously her doctors thought she was not a viable candidate for a VBAC. I don't know what their reasons were but if she already had 3 pervious c sections that means her uterus was cut 3 times prior to this delivery which means it has a much higher risk of uterine rupture than if she were to have just one previous c section. I'm in favor for VBACs and think they should be encouraged whenever possible. But if your doctor says no, then trust him. And if you don't trust him, get a second opinion!!!! Change doctors! Be your own advocate before hand. Don't go crying victim after the fact.

codfish codfish

Why did she not change docs?

KWill... KWilliams-0513

I had both my daughters naturally, but my mother delivered my brother and I through C-section. It didn't bother my mother to have another c-section because she knew that there was a slim to non chance that she could have had a VBAC. If my doctor would have told me to have a c-section because it was in the best interest of my child then I would have done it. Sometimes doctors seem like they are doing things for there own personal gain, but if they truly have your child beat interest at heart you should listen to them. If she didn't agree she should have gotten a second opinion or just switched doctors. She plays the victim now, but what would she have done if the baby would have been born through VBAC and had problems like they said could occur? Would she have sued them then for not giving her a C-section? I think she would have.

Caera Caera

I'm sorry, but this is totally on the idiot woman. If she didn't like what her doctor wanted to do, she had NINE MONTHS to find someplace else to deliver her baby. I mean, for Pete's sake, they had time to go to COURT over it. She's just a stupid ass looking for her 15 minutes, and apparently willing to do it at the risk of her baby.

IKnow... IKnow0101

Honestly after her first trimester she should have spoken with her doctor about a VBAC. then see would h as d tome to interview other doctors and get a second and third opinion. C-sections are scary but after having three I would carefully listen to the doctor suggestion of what would be the safest delivery plan.

Happy... Happydad73

She's no dumber than these goofy headed women who want home births. You have all this med tech there if something goes wrong, yet they want this 'old fashioned' experience because grandma did it and she was fine. Well maybe, but how many more died from complications that could have been fixed or even avoided with modern medical know how.

Nichole Neathery

She's a damn fool for thinking after damage done from 3 prior c-sections was just MAGICALLY going to go away. Even after a decent amount of time from the last born. Who in their right mind would even want to try and put that baby in that danger? And I mean seriously, there's no way there wasn't a reason for all the prior c-sections in the first place

halsm... halsmommy14

GOOD ON THE DOCTORS!!!  maybe next time she thinks she's knows more than people who went to MEDICAL SCHOOL for 20 years she'll shut her mouth!! 

nonmember avatar Karen

Seriously lady, you're an idiot. The doctor told you what may happen, including death and you want to fight that? They went to school for what is most likely 12 years longer than you. Just be thankful you and your baby are healthy.

nonmember avatar danielle

Wow, I am shocked by the negative comments. I was at the hospital protesting this weekend and you all don't have all the facts. This is not about one woman, it's about all women and our rights to govern our own bodies. I encourage you all to please read more about this story as it was not as cut and dry as you seem to think it was.

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