Recently, a mother in South Carolina reached out to the ACLU for help. She was pregnant, and although she had had two prior cesarean surgeries, she wished to attempt a “trial of labor,” that is, to give birth naturally, rather than having a scheduled cesarean surgery. The mother’s wish made sense in light of her medical history, and according to professional standards set by obstetricians.
Nevertheless, the mother’s doctors – publically employed physicians working in a public hospital –forced her to schedule a C-section, called her “stupid” for wanting to do otherwise, and threathened to withhold medical care if she refused the surgery and went into labor naturally. In short, even after having made her wishes known to her physicians, the mother was being coerced into undergoing a serious and invasive medical procedure against her will.