Judge to Pregnant Woman: Bed Rest or Else!

Suzanne Murray
15

hospital bedIs refusing bed rest a crime? A Florida woman who was at risk of miscarrying was told to stay in bed by her doctor, but she told him she couldn't because she had two toddlers to take care of and a job she needed to keep. So the doctor went to court.

Samantha Burton was 25 weeks pregnant and still smoking when she showed signs of miscarrying. When she refused to follow her doctor's orders, he got the court to step in. A Florida judge ordered Burton to stay in bed at a hospital and undergo all medical treatments her doctor decided were necessary. Burton asked to switch hospitals and her request was denied by the court. After three days in the hospital, Burton had an emergency c-section and the fetus was found dead.

Burton and her lawyer went to court with the help of the A.C.L.U. saying that a dangerous precedent had been set. They argued that ordering medical treatment for an unborn fetus over a parent's objections was unconstitutional and risked "unfettered intrusion into the lives of pregnant women.”

Do you think courts should step in if you don't follow your doctors orders? Should they be able to govern a pregnant woman's behavior? Confine you against your will if you refuse to eat healthfully, smoke, drink, play volleyball or do anything else they deem a threat to your unborn baby?

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