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Quick Hit: Court Rules in Favor of V.M. 

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By Jill—Unnecesarean

National Advocates for Pregnant Women announced this afternoon on their blog that the Appellate Division of the Superior Court of New Jersey ruled in favor of V.M.

We are happy to report that the Appellate Division of the Superior Court of New Jersey has ruled in favor of VM in New Jersey Division of Youth and Family Services vs. V.M. and B.G.. In the Matter of J.M.G.

In this case, a VM’s refusal to sign a consent form for cesarean surgery led to hospital interventions and a report of abuse to child welfare authorities. In the decision published today (PDF), the Appellate Division reversed the lower court’s termination of Ms. M’s parental rights and ruled that the child protective authority had failed to meet its burden of showing that Ms. M was “unwilling or unable to eliminate the harm facing the child” and that “termination of parental rights will not do more harm than good.” Although the case now goes back to the lower court, the decision appears to be a step towards Ms. M’s reunification with her child. [Read the rest of their blog post]


Congratulations to the family.


Read more:

Refusal of Unnecesarean Leads to Loss of Custody: V’s Story

New Jersey Cesarean Refusal Case: The “System” is Schizophrenic

Superior Court of New Jersey Terminates Cesarean-Refusing Mom’s Parental Rights

St. Barnabas Medical Center’s Cesarean Rate is 49.3 Percent



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Reader Comments (5)

Thank God.

Though it's far from over. That poor mom. I read the brief; it's spot on. The appellate's decision is rather hit-or-miss, though. I really, really hope the lower court hurries up and returns their rights to them. After reading the descriptions about their daughter's interactions with them, I think there's good reason to hope. But can you imagine the scars those poor parents are going to have, even in the best possible case? I would be an absolute mess. The experiences they've had to live through would make me thoroughly paranoid, maybe off the deep end entirely. To hound a woman while she's giving birth, make her deliver in the middle of arguing with TWO psychiatrists about whether she's competent or not....Dear God! And then to take her baby away from her, because she's not being "compliant." Yeah. That's called BEING A MOM. And then to fault them for not admitting to PAST problems, and for not ADMITTING that they were wrong in refusing to be compliant with hospital staff...to use that big mess as an excuse to steal their baby girl away.

I hope they can recover. I wish that everyone involved in this mess at the hospital, the court, the psychiatrists, the DYFS people...could see what their interference has cost. Poor baby girl, too.

I definitely recommend you read the amici brief. It points out all the things the appellate and lower courts' decisions try to gloss over, ignore, misunderstand, or attempt to pretend away.

August 6, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa

Where was Roe vs. Wade here? Where was "my body, my choice" in this case? Absolutely dispicable that this ever even had to go to court at all. The sheer arrogance. The sheer belligerence. Women need to stand up for their rights to their own bodies, yet again.

August 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJoseph4GI

I had heard that she will not be reunited with JMG as parental rights have already been terminated, but this sounds as if I heard wrong. I only hope this family gets reunified...what a mess! What an unnecessary mess! Idiot "care" givers! This case (and others like it) is why I'm terrified of being pregnant.

Joseph, I don't understand this comment:

<<Women need to stand up for their rights to their own bodies, yet again.>>

I think VM was standing up for her right to her own body....not sure I follow?

August 10, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnne

Anne, I assumed he meant on a societal level because if there's one thing that V.M. did, it was standing up for the right to her own body.

August 10, 2010 | Registered CommenterJill

I've been following this case very closely as I too suffer from PTSD, like VM. The ordeal she endured in the hospital and afterward, with her daughter being essentially kidnapped by DCFS, is just truly horrifying and certainly contributed to a worsening of her PTSD. After all, PTSD has sometimes been described as "the persistent fear that the world is a scary, unpredictable place where anything can happen." Having your child stolen because you wouldn't sign a blanket release for a C-section is pretty scary and unpredictable. Certainly VM does seem to have significant psychiatric issues, but from reading all the decisions and filings put forth in the case, DCFS seems to have made up its mind from the beginning that parental rights should be terminated and then interpreted everything subsequent to that in that light. I'd be paranoid, too, in her shoes. For example, one caseworker said that the father was unfit because, among a couple minor quibbles, he was at first reluctant to change a dirty diaper, not knowing how, then put it on backwards the first time. The same caseworker said the mother was unfit because, when she feared the child might have swallowed the nipple from her bottle, the mother ran to the caseworker for help rather than solving the issue herself. Sounds like a Catch-22 to me. What a giant CF,

August 19, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAlice
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