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Mom Refuses C-Section, Baby Taken Away

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Wow, we just can't believe this.

newborn baby in hospital

A woman in New Jersey refused to consent to a C-section during labor in the event that her baby was in distress. She ended up giving birth vaginally without incident. The baby was in good medical condition.

However, her baby was taken away from her and her parental rights were terminated because she "abused and neglected her child" by refusing the C-section and behaving "erratically" while in labor.

How is this legal?

A New Jersey appellate court has upheld the shocking ruling, and custody has been given to the child's foster parents.

The court's decision cites hospital records that describe the mother, V.M., as "combative," "uncooperative," "erratic," "noncompliant," "irrational" and "inappropriate." That's how we acted during labor, too ... but our babies weren't taken away, thank God.

The court opinion also focuses on the fact that the mother had been in psychiatric care for twelve years prior to the birth. But, as the Huffington Post points out, her psychiatric state would never have been questioned if the mother had not refused invasive abdominal surgery -- which was entirely within her rights.

Read the entire court ruling here.

Do you think this woman's baby should have been taken away? Comment below.


next: Cat Cora Welcomes a Baby Boy
189 comments so far | Post a comment now
Betsie July 24, 2009, 4:54 PM

How very sad and horrifying. “They” have done it again.

kara July 24, 2009, 5:04 PM

I can only assume the author didn’t actually read the linked ruling; BOTH parents were found to be unfit due to negligence and abuse in the original decision - however, that decision was REVERSED in the case of the father, but upheld in the case of the mother though the appeal court found that her decision not to have a c-section should have had NO bearing whatsoever on the case, and that it was NOT A FACTOR in upholding the ruling to terminate her parental rights.

There is much more to this story than is being reported, and twisting it into “woman loses custody after refusing c-section” is the worst kind of fear-mongering. If your intent in skewing the facts in your reporting is to cut down on unnecessary c-sections, be aware this kind of sensationalism is likely to have the opposite effect.

momillogic July 24, 2009, 5:18 PM

Oh, Noes! The Evil Men In White Coats wanted to cut her open and steal her baby, but when she said no and fought them off the Evil State rubbed its huge hands together and, laughing maniacally, took her baby anyway!

Or not.

If you read the court documents, it is clear that the woman’s refusal to consent to a c-section merely raised alarm bells with the hospital staff and had nothing to do with the judicial decision to place the child in foster care.

It wasn’t that she just refused the procedure and they took the baby away. Rather, she was violent and delusional, which made the hospital staff worry that she would not be able to care for the child. Two psychiatrists and a social worker spoke with her both before and after the birth and decided she might be a danger to the child. At the time, the social worker explained the situation, scheduled a home visit and gave the parents information about the fact finding hearing to be held a short time later.

Now, if the mother and father had acted like normal people and shown up to the hearing, things might have been different, but they didn’t. Before the home visit, the social worker called the parents at home. The father answered, pretending not to be himself, and said he had no idea what she was talking about. They then refused to answer any other calls. The social worker arrived and conducted a home visit two days before the scheduled hearing, at the same time explaining the situation again and reminding the parents about the hearing. Still, neither parent came to the hearing.

Later, both parents denied being notified about the hearing. It came out that the mother had been treated for twelve years for PTSD, that she wasn’t getting better, that she wouldn’t take medication, and that her doctor suspected that she really suffered from some other sort of psychosis and required more and different treatment, but that she terminated treatment against his recommendation before he could do anything more.

I’m not saying that this is a great example of how the system should work, but it may be that the state really did do that child a service by stepping in. Moreover, what the article fails to mention is that the appeals court decision reversed the trial court’s determination that the father’s parental rights should be terminated as well. That means that the foster family cannot adopt the child, that the father may regain custody if he stops acting like an asshat, and that the mother might still be able to raise it, though she will be barred from making decisions regarding her care.

full story July 24, 2009, 5:19 PM

Oh, Noes! The Evil Men In White Coats wanted to cut her open and steal her baby, but when she said no and fought them off the Evil State rubbed its huge hands together and, laughing maniacally, took her baby anyway!

Or not.

If you read the court documents, it is clear that the woman’s refusal to consent to a c-section merely raised alarm bells with the hospital staff and had nothing to do with the judicial decision to place the child in foster care.

It wasn’t that she just refused the procedure and they took the baby away. Rather, she was violent and delusional, which made the hospital staff worry that she would not be able to care for the child. Two psychiatrists and a social worker spoke with her both before and after the birth and decided she might be a danger to the child. At the time, the social worker explained the situation, scheduled a home visit and gave the parents information about the fact finding hearing to be held a short time later.

Now, if the mother and father had acted like normal people and shown up to the hearing, things might have been different, but they didn’t. Before the home visit, the social worker called the parents at home. The father answered, pretending not to be himself, and said he had no idea what she was talking about. They then refused to answer any other calls. The social worker arrived and conducted a home visit two days before the scheduled hearing, at the same time explaining the situation again and reminding the parents about the hearing. Still, neither parent came to the hearing.

Later, both parents denied being notified about the hearing. It came out that the mother had been treated for twelve years for PTSD, that she wasn’t getting better, that she wouldn’t take medication, and that her doctor suspected that she really suffered from some other sort of psychosis and required more and different treatment, but that she terminated treatment against his recommendation before he could do anything more.

I’m not saying that this is a great example of how the system should work, but it may be that the state really did do that child a service by stepping in. Moreover, what the article fails to mention is that the appeals court decision reversed the trial court’s determination that the father’s parental rights should be terminated as well. That means that the foster family cannot adopt the child, that the father may regain custody if he stops acting like an asshat, and that the mother might still be able to raise it, though she will be barred from making decisions regarding her care.

SL July 24, 2009, 5:34 PM

This is a very inaccurate reporting of what the case is about. This is a perfect example of the echo chamber that is the internet - repeating sound bites with no apparent review of the actual facts. Review the actual opinion of the appellate court and you will see that the c/section wsa SPECIFICALLY NOT PART OF THE REASON that the court upheld the termination

Pamala July 24, 2009, 6:35 PM

Totally inaccurate apparently. I mean first off the article as written makes no sense. Second if this woman was pregnant she probably wasn’t taking any medication for her mental illness. So she was probably acting oddly which set off alarms.

jtbdjp July 24, 2009, 6:40 PM

In My Not So Humble Opinion, iff this woman had chosen to abort, she would be hailed as a courageous soul and possibly be a poster child for Planned Parenthood.
However, as it turns out, she chose life, and then the life she chose to provide was taken from her anyway and given to strangers.
She should get her child back, no questions asked, regardless of her past medical issues.

JTBDJP

Josh July 24, 2009, 9:15 PM

The only way this could be legal is if after the birth she signed a birth certificate which is in effect giving the state ownership of your child. They create an artificial entity with your childs name in ALL CAPS and rather than have your brith rights you gave them up and went under contract with the govt where they write the rules, thats how this stuff happens. Do not sign a birth certificate and do not get a SSN or SIN number and no one can take your child away from you. This is a little known fact and they like to keep it that way for obvious reasons. I guarantee they got her to sign over her child to the state like all people do before this happened or else they would have no jurisdiction.

macsimcon July 24, 2009, 11:01 PM

This is just a reminder that if something sounds unbelievable, it’s probably because it’s not true. Anyone who took the time to read the 40+ pages of the court’s decision understands why the mother lost custody of her daughter. The hospital, the doctors, the psychiatrists (all three), social services, and the court weighed the evidence very seriously before taking away her daughter. She lied about what happened, both to social services and to the court. She had psychological issues and terminated her own treatment against the advice of her psychiatrist. She was paranoid, bipolar, and manic. I think anyone who has read the court’s opinion could understand, if not agree with, the court’s decision.

lotu July 25, 2009, 1:07 AM

From the court ruling:

She ordered the attending obstetrician, Dr. Shetal Mansuria, to leave the room and told her if she did not do what V.M. said, she would be off the case. V.M. then threatened to report the doctor to the police. In fact, at one
point V.M. did call the Livingston Police to report that she was being abused and denied treatment. She told a nurse that “no one is going to touch my baby.” She continuously refused to
wear the face mask that provided her with oxygen and also refused to remain still in order to allow for fetal heart monitoring. She thrashed about to the extent that it was unsafe for the anesthesiologist to administer an epidural. She would not allow Dr. Mansuria to touch the baby or perform an
ultrasound examination. Throughout this entire period, V.M. “was very boisterous and yelling and screaming at the top of her lungs.”

This dose not sound like a sane person. So yea I think this was the correct ruling this article is junk.

Douglas July 25, 2009, 1:31 PM

Get ready for more of our rights to be taken away. The attending’s shift was probably about to end, so, labor had “progressed as far as it would without medical intervention.” We must stand up and demand our medical rights. Since when is birth a medical emergency?

Alvaro July 26, 2009, 2:20 AM

Giving birth in the U.S has become a total “Plain business institution” It is faster, cheaper (Based on time of labor)and more profittable (C-seccion is more expensive)to deliver babies via C-Seccion than natural birth. Has you ever asked why the U.S is the number one country to deliver babies via C-Seccion? and the number one to make more mistakes in the medical field? Do you still belive that we live in “… the land of the free??”

Alvaro July 26, 2009, 3:32 AM

Giving birth in the U.S has become a total “Plain business institution” It is faster, cheaper (Based on time of labor)and more profittable (C-section is more expensive)to deliver babies via C-Section than natural birth. Have you ever asked yourself why the U.S is the number one country to deliver babies via C-Seccion? and the number one to make more mistakes in the medical field? Do you still belive that we live in “… the land of the free??”

- Alvaro

maggie July 26, 2009, 4:13 PM

I say No She should of been able to keep her baby the baby came out fine.But if there is more to the story than i don’t know. but what i read here should of been able to keep her baby.

Anonymous July 27, 2009, 2:33 PM

I read a large portion of the official court ruling and my conclusion is that the system is flawed.
Clearly the c-section was a prominent point in the original argument even though it was downplayed by the appeals court.
As other comments have noted, a woman in labor may behave differently than “normal” but since this is in itself “normal” for the circumstances it should not be admissible as evidence.
Ultimately what I see in this case are people being abused by a system they rightly fear.

Rachaela July 28, 2009, 12:31 AM

And this is yet another reason why more and more women are choosing to stay home!!!!!

Kathy July 28, 2009, 6:14 AM

An 18 year old with 4 kids already. hmmmmm. What exactly was she saying during her rants? Did she not want the c-section because she didn’t want a scar? Our jobs as mothers is to take the best care possible of our children and if the baby was in destress and a c-section was needed then in her CHILDS best interest it should have been done. I wish there were reasons to take the baby away from my niece. She had 4 children with three different dads. Those children have led horrible lives. Two of her boys were incarcerated by the time they were 11. Each boy when he aged out of the system, came home and within one month one boy stabbed someone and the other shot someone. The one who stabbed someone will be in prison until he is 32. 11 to 32…he doesn’t know how to live in the real world and by the few reports I hear he will probably stay in longer than that. You ask why? Their mother and her horrid lifestyle. Why didn’t I take them? They were forcing 10 year old girls to have sex with them when they were 10. I had two young daughters to protect. I helped as much as I could but…….Babies are not your right, they are your blessing. What would havehappened if that child was harmed irrepairibly and was brain damaged? Would the selfish mother want him then? You could tell by my niece’s record that she had no business being given a sweet, newborn human beig to have to live with her, but off they went into a life of hell. Child protection services were probably well aware of this womans way with her 4 other children. Maybe this one will have a fighting chance, although I doubt the father is a whole lot better. Unless a good home is found for that sweet baby it is doomed like the rest of her children. If she had mental problems HER parents were not that wonderful either. How sad. This story goes WAY past a mother denied her rights. Where are the baby’s rights? That child had the right to be born, no matter how it happened. I had two c-sections and it hurt and I got a big ol’ scar but you know what? My babies (18 and 21) are here, in great shape, and I got over the pain and the scar is still there….so what? What is a scar when it has to do with the life of a child? I hope they look into the lives of her other 4 kids. They are probably hoping SOMEONE would save them.

Nikki @ Blasian Baby July 28, 2009, 6:38 AM

The hospitals abuse their power over women in labour all the time. I’m not surprised this mom got a backlash after refusing a unnecessary c-section.

While in labour with my son I had to deal with hospital staff who tried to coheres me into accepting certain medical procedures even though I had a clearly written birth plan, made it verbally clear I did not want that option and signed all the required paperwork. Still at the key moments of contractions I was still fighting with them over my choices.

I’m sorry she went thru this and even more sorry the people…the court system…is not protecting her rights as a mother. Her prior medical history should have no bearing in the ruling. It’s her right to refuse the medical option…it’s an option for a reason.

ann July 28, 2009, 7:15 AM

read about psychiatric abuse, in russia. there is the resemblance. and once you have a psychiatric label any doctor can force ANY type of surgery here in AMERICA, because this is a perment label lthat you are not permitted o think any more for yourself. maybe not even vote. but i do know this all is on the increase. READ CCHR!!!!!!!

Allison July 28, 2009, 7:20 AM

The fact that she was in psychiatric care for twelve years prior to this plays a BIG role. I think we don’t have the whole story here, perhaps she was acting “irrationally”, etc. during her whole pregnancy and her OB alerted the authorities. It is very selfish of her to not want a c-section when her baby is in distress, c-sections are so common these days and not a big deal, but that’s terrible that they did take the baby away. However, if she is emotionally unstable, this may be best for the baby. Is the woman married? For some reason I think not.


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