Can you be forced to have a C-section? The chairman of the obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Southern Florida attempted to frighten a pregnant woman whose baby was overdue into having a Cesarean. Dr. Jerry Yankowitz says that the pregnant 35-year-old mother of four, Lisa Epsteen, is endangering the life of her fifth baby. Does the doctor, hospital, or state have the legal or ethical right to demand a woman give birth a certain way at a certain time? Not without a court order, at least for now.
A recent ultrasound supposedly showed the baby in distress related to the mother's gestational diabetes. The doctors at the hospital told Epsteen to come in for an immediate C-section and she refused. In an effort to get the woman to come in, Dr. Yankowitz send her a threatening email that chilled the mom, and later, the National Advocates for Pregnant Women (NAPW). The doctor said if she didn't come in, they would send "law enforcement" to pick her up and bring her in. The health of the baby or the rights of the mother? It's a hard question to answer, and with late-term abortion being legal, it makes the answer all the more difficult to find. If the mother has decided to give birth, does the life of that baby take precedence?
Epsteen contacted NAPW for help and they sent a letter to the hospital questioning their medical ethics and the legal authority of the state to enforce the doctor's wishes. The doctor has since apologized and Epsteen's baby will be delivered Friday. The mother said, "I think they really do have the best interests of my child and myself at heart. On the other hand, this is not the way to go about protecting my baby or me." She is lucky the hospital didn't choose to pursue a court order. Hopefully, she'll be lucky again and the baby will be born healthy.
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