VBAC activists aggressively ignoring reality

As predicted, VBAC activists are clinging to their resentment and aggressively ignoring reality.

Amy Romano on the Lamaze blog asks the bizarre question: Do women need to know the uterine rupture rate to make informed choices about VBAC? It’s bizarre because she implies that this is a medical question and that the answer is unknown. However, this is a legal question and the answer has been clearly established by the courts. Not only is knowing the rupture rate required, it isn’t even enough. Women must “understand” the rupture rate and many women have successfully argued that they are incapable of understanding.

Don’t believe me? Consider what the “Syracuse NY Birth Injury Lawyers” have to say on the subject:

For an expectant mother to give meaningful and informed consent she must be specifically told and understand that “IF HER UTERUS RUPTURES DURING HER VBAC, THERE MAY NOT BE SUFFICIENT TIME TO OPERATE AND TO PREVENT THE DEATH OF, OR PERMANENT BRAIN INJURY TO, HER BABY.” (emphasis in the original)

Courtmoom Mama, writing on the Unnecesarean, helpfully illustrates how VBAC activists desperately cling to their resentment. In her post NIH VBAC Consensus Development Conference: Gift Horse or Trojan Horse? she is most excited about the fact that an activist aggressively challenged a panel member, presumably “speaking truth to power.” Courtroom Mama (a self described “law geek”) utterly ignores the medico-legal issues that restrict availability of VBAC.

Most egregious, though, is the penchant of VBAC activists to invent rights that don’t exist. Henci Goer’s bemoans the “[f]ailure to recognize that VBAC is a right.” Yet there is no legal right to VBAC. Indeed, there is no legal right to healthcare of any kind, let alone a right to a specific procedure. A “right” to VBAC implies an obligation on the part of doctors and hospitals to preside over VBACs, justifying resentment of obstetricians for depriving women of their “rights.” However, since there is no “right” to VBAC, doctors and hospitals cannot be accused of violating anyone’s rights.

Asserting a non-existent right is worse than pointless. It demonstrates an inability to understand and frame the real situation in favor of a make-believe world where evil obstetricians control everything. In the real world, women have only the right to refuse medical treatment, not a right to demand a specific treatment. Moreover, doctors and hospitals have no legal obligation to comply with patients who refuse medical advice or demand procedures that the doctors or hospitals do not provide.

And speaking of “procedures,” activists who attended the conference impressed themselves with their clever observations on semantics. According to Goer:

VBAC … is not a procedure. Labor is what inevitably happens at the end of pregnancy.

That point, currently bouncing its way around the Twitter universe, is simultaneously inane and irrelevant. Are doctors supposed to bang themselves upside the head and suddenly realize that VBACs don’t pose additional risks because they aren’t “procedures”? Are lawyers supposed to have a sudden epiphany that detailed consents aren’t required for VBACs because they aren’t “procedures”? Why don’t VBAC activists notice that no one beside themselves is impressed with their “cleverness”?

VBACs have been dramatically restricted because of legal and insurance concerns. There’s no one to “blame” because everyone involved is doing their job within medical and legal constraints that we all must acknowledge. Unfortunately, being deprived of the opportunity to blame obstetricians appears to be insupportable to VBAC activists. They demonstrate a greater commitment to made up reasons for resentment than to practical solutions for making VBAC more widely available. Indeed, they are so committed to resentment that they appear incapable of addressing reality.

  • Lil25

    Yes, a VBAC (aka: Natural labor and delivery) IS a right. Doctors do not have to attend a VBAC, but women have every right to reject c-section. The alternative, by default, is VBAC, regardless of whether or not the baby is alive at delivery. I had a c-section with my first. It was so horrible, I really truly would rather my second baby die than go through it again.

    • Wren

      Then please avoid another pregnancy. Deliberately carrying to term with a child you are willing to throw away during the birth is monstrous.

      • Lil25

        No, I will keep trying until I either die during childbirth or until we get it right. Having a baby is THE experience that defines a woman’s life, and c-section violates nature. Without this experience, our existence is meaningless.

    • Susan

      do you realize that most mother’s would endure almost anything to save their baby’s life? Of course it is your right to refuse anything but it doesn’t make your choice ethical. I have had the sad experience of caring for families who have had babies die. The pain involved in holding a lifeless body of a perfect baby and saying goodbye may be about one of the worst things a human being can endure. I can understand being upset you had to have a cesarean but to think the experience of a dead baby is preferable is frankly horrifying. Of course, that is comparing your experience, to say you would rather the baby dies means the baby is robbed of any experience whatsoever but a likely painful death from lack of blood or oxygen. That’s not maternal love, that’s callous and selfish.

      • Lil25

        *Shrug* I loved my last baby before she was born. Now, I can’t stand her. I’ve never been able to love her since the csection, but if I had had a normal delivery, everything would have been different. Maybe if they had even let me see her after she was born, it would have been different, but they took her away. She was never mine. I would have adopted her out, but my husband wouldn’t let me, and now I am trapped in a life that isn’t worth living just praying every day that this horrible child will go away and that I can have a normal child, one that I can love because he/she was born the way children are meant to be born.

    • Who?

      You’re very clear on rights. Do you have any grasp on the notion of responsibility?

    • Erin

      My section was horrible too. I still have flashbacks and panic attacks. I was diagnosed with PTSD when my son was 7 weeks old. I believe I (as a single entity) would die rather than consent to surgery. I’m pregnant though and what I wouldn’t do for myself I will do for my baby.

      I believed my son had died and if in my madness I experienced even a fragment of the grief Mothers who do lose their babies go through, I would take the section every single time. Thinking my decisions had killed my baby very nearly killed me.

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