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Media Coverage of Burton v. State of Florida 

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Samantha Burton, who was confined to Tallahassee against her will to bed rest at 25 weeks pregnant by a Florida court, was in court this week with the Florida American Civil Liberties Union to fight the court order that rendered her medical decisions irrelevant.

Burton’s story was covered by ABC News yesterday.

Burton’s lawyers argued that the Leon County Court order set a “dangerous” precedent.

Critics say the state’s intervention could have dark ramifications for other pregnant women who could even be criminalized for drinking a glass of wine or eating unhealthy foods, driving too fast or even failing to take their prenatal vitamins.

“Women do not give up their right to determine the course of their own medical care when they become pregnant,” said Diana Kasdan, staff attorney with the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project. “Faced with similar cases, courts throughout the country have made clear that pregnant women have a right to make decisions about their own health, including refusing medical care.”

“We pursued this appeal for this reason, to set the record straight,” she told ABCNews.com.

ABC News gave addition details about Burton and those who sought to confine her to the hospital.

Lisa Raleigh of the Florida Attorney General’s office, who argued that the state exercised due process when it intervened to save the life of Burton’s unborn child, did not return calls from ABCNews.com.

Burton, described by her pro bono lawyer as a “quiet woman” who was shying away from publicity, is seeking no monetary damages and has said that she is appealing the court order to help other women.

Burton, who is married, was “actively taking part in prenatal care” when she began to have problems with her pregnancy, according to her lawyer David Abrams, who is also a trained nurse.

She willingly went into the hospital on the advice of her obstetrician, Dr. Jana Bures-Forsthoefel. But Burton argued with her doctor about the length of stay and also about her smoking.


Read more details in the full ABC News article.


Samantha Burton’s story caught the interest of many bloggers


Can the State Turn You Into An Incubator?

RH Reality Check

January 15, 2010


The best interests of the fetus


Jan 14, 2010


[Edited to add] Case on Court-Ordered Bed Rest Highlights Reproductive Rights Concerns for Pregnant Women

Our Bodies, Our Blog

Jan 13, 2010


Is Refusing Bed Rest a Crime?


Jan 13, 2010


Woman forced into court-ordered hospital confinement and c-section

Radical Doula

Jan 13, 2010


Court Forces Bed Rest on Pregnant Woman


Jan 13, 2010


Where to draw the line?

Woman to Woman Childbirth Education Blog

(Note: The only specifically pro-life blog on the case I could find)

Jan 13, 2010

[Edited to add] Here’s one where I gotta agree with the ACLU (Real Choice pro-life blog)


Is Refusing Bed Rest a Crime?

New York Times Motherlode Blog

January 12, 2010


Tallahassee Court to Hear Arguments Tomorrow in Case Involving Pregnant Women’s Right to Refuse Medical Care

Reproductive Rights Prof Blog

Jan 11, 2010


Who Get to Make Medical Decisions for Pregnant Women?

Feministing Community Blog

Aug 5, 2009


Woman Ordered by State to Submit to Hospital Confinement, Cesarean

The Unnecesarean

August 3, 2009


ACLU Files Amicus Brief in Support of Woman Hospitalized Against Will

The Unnecesarean

August 3, 2009


ACLU Files Brief Opposing Forced Hospitalization of Pregnant Women

RH Reality Check

August 3, 2009


ACLU Asks Florida Court To Protect The Rights Of Pregnant Women To Refuse Medical Care

ACLU Press Release

August 3, 2009



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Reader Comments (7)

Here's another pro-life blog post -- titled, "Here's one where I gotta agree with the ACLU."

I would have loved/hated to have been a fly on the wall during the lead-up to this woman's hospital stay. The conversations between her and the doctor must have been quite interesting.

January 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKathy

I always wonder at the intensity of the doctors forcing pregnant mothers into specific medical care for the "benefit" of the baby. Are these not the same people who a few months prior may have aborted your baby had that been your decision. Why are they so vehement to preserve that life a few months after they would have helped you end it?

January 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymouns

This kind of thing scares the beegeezus out of me. I think it's really disappointing, too, that we are essentially still fighting for a woman's right to say "no". All that has changed is what she is saying "no" to.

January 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRy

We also talked about it at Our Bodies Our Blog

January 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRachelW

Gah! You even linked over here.


January 17, 2010 | Registered CommenterJill

;) Thanks for adding it to the post.

January 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRachelW

Anonymouns, ethical physicians can legally terminate a pregnancy (not a baby) because they are practicing women-centered medicine. What happened in the Burton case is the opposite of that.

January 21, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMomTFH
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