From the Huffington Post by Louise Marie Roth.

The article is very one sided and does not tell the whole story just like most of the horror stories you may have seen over the years in the news.  This kind of reporting and opining does not serve the interests of the people who have come to trust the media to tell the truth.

Is Ms. Roth’s own words (emphasis and elipses added):

Yet another ruling is providing legal support for the false belief that obstetricians are infallible and stripping pregnant women of basic civil rights that are then accorded to other individuals. In the case, New Jersey Division of Youth and Family Services v. V.M. and B.G., the New Jersey appellate court found that V.M. and B.G. had abused and neglected their child, based on the fact that the mother, V.M., refused to consent to a cesarean section and behaved erratically while in labor. The mother gave birth vaginally without incident, and the baby was “in good medical condition.” Then she was never returned to her parents, and the judge in the case approved a plan to terminate their parental rights and give custody of the child to foster parents. What, beyond the obvious, is wrong with this picture? . . .

As midwives know, some women become belligerent. Some seek privacy and seclusion. Most women in labor are likely to find the routine and usually unnecessary procedures of hospitals to be invasive and unwelcome. Yet the courts that decided this case didn’t seem to be aware that women are unlikely to behave the same way when they are in labor as when they aren’t. The decision cites hospital records that describe the mother, V.M., as “combative,” “uncooperative,” “erratic,” “noncompliant,” “irrational” and “inappropriate.” Also, her husband indicated that the way she was acting was not her “normal manner and that she is not as ‘tranquil.'” Why would anyone expect a woman in labor to be compliant, tranquil, or rational? What kinds of expectations does our society have for women undergoing a powerful physiological process, often with an absurd amount of poking, prodding and general interference? . . .

While the court opinion also focuses on the parents’ psychiatric diagnoses (which are fallible medical judgments) and their history of care in determining their fitness as parents and abrogating their parental rights, their psychiatric state would never have been questioned if the mother had not refused invasive abdominal surgery — which was entirely within her rights.

This paints a very bad and inaccurate picture.  The actual written opinion of the court is very different (and 47 pages long).  This kind of misreporting is terrible.  It also happens to be that Louise Marie Roth is a Sociology Professor who is an expert on discrimination against women.  When the only tool you have is a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail.

It is explicitly stated by the Appellate Division of the Superior Court of New Jersey that the decision to refuse the C-Section did not make the case for neglect and abuse.  The three judge panel agreed that the child should be kept from the parents for numerous other reasons but disagreed on whether refusal to undergo a C-Section can categorically be excluded as an element of abuse of a child.  The concurring opinion would categorically exclude this decision as having any kind of bearing on the fitness of a parent.

You can read the opinion, it has facts listed from page 4 to page 16.  Toward the end of the concurring opinion there is a nice summary of the facts supporting removal of the child on pages 39 and 40:

However, I agree that there was sufficient additional
evidence to support the judge’s finding that V.M. placed J.M.G.
in imminent danger from April 16 to April 20, 2006.11 As the
hospital records reflect, V.M. was “combative,” “uncooperative,”
“erratic,” “noncompliant,” “irrational” and “inappropriate.”
She ordered the attending obstetrician to leave the room, did
not allow the obstetrician to perform an ultrasound examination,
told a nurse that “no one [was] going to touch [her] baby,”
refused to continuously wear the face mask that provided her

However, I agree that there was sufficient additional evidence to support the judge’s finding that V.M. placed J.M.G. in imminent danger from April 16 to April 20, 2006.   As the hospital records reflect, V.M. was “combative,” “uncooperative,” “erratic,” “noncompliant,” “irrational” and “inappropriate.” She ordered the attending obstetrician to leave the room, did not allow the obstetrician to perform an ultrasound examination, told a nurse that “no one [was] going to touch [her] baby,” refused to continuously wear the face mask that provided her with oxygen and would not remain still in order to allow for fetal heart monitoring and the administering of an epidural. Incredibly, she also called the Livingston Police to report that she was being abused and denied treatment when it was her “erratic” and “combative” behavior that was preventing the hospital staff from providing treatment. Both Dr. Jacoby, the hospital’s psychiatrist who evaluated V.M., and Dr. Seltzer, V.M.’s previous treating psychiatrist, expressed concern over V.M.’s “ability to care for her child in a responsible manner.” V.M.’s behavior during the delivery, her psychiatric records, and the opinions of Dr. Jacoby and Dr. Seltzer all support a finding that V.M. was not in a proper mental state to safely care for J.M.G. Therefore, the judge’s finding that V.M. placed J.M.G. in imminent danger should not be disturbed.

So either all of these people are liars, including her doctors, the shrinks, the social workers, and everyone else involved in the matter, or the parents really did have a problem.

Panicked reporting about fake problems helps no one.

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