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Joy Szabo Interviewed by Ron Reagan on Air America

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Ron Reagan interviewed Joy Szabo on October 20, 2009, about her situation, VBAC bans, rape via court-ordered cesarean, fear of litigation, obstetrics and the reality of cesareans in the segment “Why Are C-Sections So Popular?”

The show’s blurb for the interview reads: “Do c-sections constitute rape? Mother Joy Szabo thinks so. And after listening to her story, you might too. Ron Reagan spoke with the Arizona mother of three on his show and found out some truths about c-sections that you probably didn’t realize.”

The first caller talks about his wife’s experience with a VBAC turned CBAC and shares common macrosomia myths, his most notable theory being that prenatal vitamins might be making babies bigger and just too huge to come out.

The second caller, Sally, had two cesareans thirty years ago for what she called a “large baby at the time” - 8.5 pounds and breech. She also warned Joy and other woman that “there’s a big possibility that you can rupture.” Sally concluded by saying, “I was really glad to have good medical advice at the time.”

Ron repeatedly offers a disclaimer that he doesn’t think that doctors are a part of some nefarious plot to push women into unnecessary cesareans.

The third caller, Denise, wanted a cesarean 16 years prior for her twins, one of whom was breech and was “happy to be scheduled, happy to go in, no labor pains…”

Scott, whose wife is a midwife, called in next from Seattle and talks about the obstetric ideology of viewing “pregnancy as a problem to be solved,” noting that the same rise in the cesarean rate is happening across the world.



The full segment is about 25 minutes long and can be downloaded from or listened to here.

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Reader Comments (9)

i am not sure if i could even stomach listening to this - all of these "MY baby would have DIED!!!" etc when the reality is not always there just upsets me too much....

October 21, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterstes

This post was edited to include URL of entire segment of the show.

October 21, 2009 | Registered CommenterJill

Here's my thing: if you want to CHOOSE a section, rock on. However, if you're pressure into it, or not informed, or forced into, or a court order is taken out for you to submit to one: NO. That's not okay, period. Entering my body without permission may not be "rape," but it's definitely rape. That may make no sense to most people, but it's still a violation.

October 21, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTara

Tara, I could have written that verbatim.

October 21, 2009 | Registered CommenterJill

I feel so bad for this woman to have to fight this hard for the birth she wants. I have heard about it so much, it makes me sick still. I am glad her story is getting around, but I do have one gripe.

The midwife I work with called her and offered her home and her services so this woman didn't have to travel to Phoenix to give birth. Instead of the 5 hours to Phoenix, it is only 3 hours to the midwifes house. Joy turned it down saying homebirth is too dangerous.

I completely agree that she should have the birth she desires. And she should be allowed her VBAC since she is actually at a lower risk than a woman wanting a first VBAC. But, instead of going to a far off location with doctors she doesn't know, especially with her saying that OBs are surgeons, she should at least research her options and other things besides the hospital. Saying home birth is dangerous is just another card that the OBs play, and she is listening to them in this regard.

I agree with her stance that this is birth rape, and if a hospital cannot handle the emergency of a VBAC, they cannot handle the emergencies that do come up in normal low risk labor. If a hospital court orders something and makes a woman do something against her own will and without her consent, this is assault and birth rape. It should be punished and not waved off for the 'good of the baby'.

This is a great thing to be in the news because of how it will shed light on the cesarean rate and other problems, but, as in all things, you will always have the women that loved their sections and would never choose any other way. And they are a lot more vocal and mean about cesareans. It's sad how the attention becomes skewed into something worse.

I love Ron Reagan, and good for him for having her on his show!! Maybe this will help change things ;)

October 22, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKayce

It may not be "rape" but it's rape.

So it doesn't count as "rape" when the doctor shoves his hand inside your vagina before the "surgery"? Cesarean sections require vaginal exams. So when is forced vaginal penetration not rape? Well, legally only in a medical emergency when the patient is incapacitated and unable to give consent, or is mentally incompetent. Apparently, pregnancy is now a temporary mental illness rendering women incapable of informed consent.

Only taking aim and firing off at the concept here not the commenter.

October 23, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnon

I am not able play that video in my browser. what can i do?

October 23, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterwii accessories

It IS rape, plain and simple, by definition: "an act of plunder, violent seizure, or abuse; despoliation; violation: the rape of the countryside. Archaic. the act of seizing and carrying off by force."

Rape doesn't just mean the act of forceful sexual intercourse. Using the system by getting a court order to force a woman into a c-section is rape, something I was very afraid would happen to me when I refused a c-section for my second birth. My daughter was breech, in the frank position, I'd given birth before, he estimated fetal weight was well within a "safe" range for vaginal delivery. During what was supposed to be a very happy time in my life, I was put in a position to fight for my right to have a safe vaginal delivery as opposed to a forced c-section. I had multiple doctors breathing down my neck telling me that I had my right to choose but if they were in my situation, they certainly wouldn't put their baby in harms way the way I was choosing. Fortunately I knew enough beforehand to know that my hospital would not bring out a court order upon my refusal of a c-section. But sadly, many women are not as lucky. The only difference between sexual rape and c-section rape is that one is legal and one is not. Both are devastating and take a lifetime to get over, if they are "gotten over" at all.

October 27, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJamie Laudert


I'm surprised that a midwife would have offered to do a homebirth with Joy, as I was told that it is illegal for midwives in Arizona to attend homebirths.

I'm also wondering as well...if it would have been a 3 hr drive to the midwife's house, would that also mean a 3 hr drive to a hospital? Or is it just that the hospital in Phoenix was the closest one that Joy could find that would allow VBAC?


December 21, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKnitted in the Womb
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