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Forced C-Section Akin to Rape?

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One pregnant mom thinks so.

Joy Szabo

Joy Szabo, 32, of Arizona, is being forced to have a C-section due to a new policy at Page Hospital that prohibits vaginal births after cesareans (VBAC).

She had her first and third children vaginally, but a placenta eruption caused her to have an emergency cesarean with her second.

Joy thinks it is against her legal rights to force her to have unnecessary surgery that might place her and her baby at greater risk of harm than delivering naturally. In fact, she's so mad that she has written the following message on her minivan:

"Page Hospital enter my body without my permission ... sounds like rape to me!"

"My doctor doesn't have a problem with me having natural delivery, but said that the hospital does," Joy told the Lake Powell Chronicle. "The fact that I successfully had a VBAC two years ago lowers my risk for rupture, but that doesn't matter since the hospital has decided that all VBACs have to have an 'elective C-section.' I think my definition of 'elective' differs from theirs because I don't want this."

Do you think the hospital should be allowed to force Joy to have a C-section or not?

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46 comments so far | Post a comment now
Anonymous October 6, 2009, 9:55 PM

wine, wine, wine

RachelAZ October 6, 2009, 11:26 PM

She DOES have choices…she is just choosing not to go to PHX to have her baby the way she wants too…sounds like a VBAC isn’t THAT important to her then! And it sickens me that she likens it to rape…that’s quite offensive!

birdsfly October 7, 2009, 5:10 AM

The point is that she feels her body is being violated, and that is a valid feeling.

PlumbLucky October 7, 2009, 5:40 AM

I dare say that anyone defending her has not been a victim of sexual assault. “Violated”? Please.

birdsfly October 7, 2009, 6:43 AM

@PlumbLucky, Don’t presume to talk about things you have no knowledge of, it makes you sound stupid. I have been a victim of sexual assault and I can still empathize with her.

Anonymous October 7, 2009, 7:05 AM

I’ve posted before on this…it’s like this: I agree she should be upset. I hope she CAN go to another hospital, even if it is far away. (I grew up in a rural area in the eastern part of the U.S., it’s not unheard of.) Or I hope she can have a home birth, or that her hospital can make an exception. I understand her ire. But I think the comparison she is making is inappropriate and being done only for shock value, regardless of how actual rape victims will feel about it. Sure, it got her story here…but at what cost?

PlumbLucky October 7, 2009, 8:30 AM

@birdsfly - don’t presume I have no knowledge of what rape is like as it makes you seems stupid. I am a survivor of rape as well. I have some empathy for her frustration, but I have zero tolerance for her analogy.

Lisa October 7, 2009, 10:54 AM

I would say to Ms. Szabo, that ultimately, isn’t the goal to deliver a healthy baby safely, regardless if it’s by C-section or vaginally. Ms. Szabo’s priorities are off.

ame i. October 7, 2009, 2:39 PM

My hospital had no problem with me having a VBAC with my second daughter. Perhaps her OB has a valid reason.

Anonymous October 7, 2009, 6:15 PM


Joy Szabo October 7, 2009, 10:38 PM

When a hospital gets a court order for a cesarean they force you. Physically hold you down, drug you and take the baby out. That is where the analogy comes from. This is what I was being faced with when I wrote this protest message. My physician does not think I need a cesarean, the medical staff at the hospital does not feel I need a cesarean. The hospital made this policy over the summer because they cannot provide a timely cesarean if I needed one. The risk of a uterine rupture is less then 1%. I am far more likely to require a cesarean for another reason. But since they have proven to me that birth is risky in general at this hospital, I am looking for a provider down in Phoenix. Not just for me, but for any woman who is not interested in taking the risk that the hospital may be unprepared for an emergency.
Lisa, I am not sure, but last I checked, healthy babies can come out of a vagina. I think a cesarean should be reserved for medical nessesity.
You may enjoy calling me a whiner, and may choose to have a cesarean so your doctor doesn’t miss a golf game, but that should not dictate my choices.

Molly October 8, 2009, 8:35 AM

A uterine rupture can occur in any type of labor be it VBAC or not. Therefore, If a hospital is not equipped to perform emergency c-sections, I would be wary of giving birth in that hospital at all. That is a cop-out excuse.

Christina October 8, 2009, 11:27 AM

All of you who are so upset with this woman need to look at where she lives. Page is not exactly a big place. Arizona is a huge state and there is often only one hospital for several hundred miles. While midwives are allowed in Arizona, there may not necessarily be any in Page. This hospital may be her only option, so don’t get pissy until you have your facts at hand.

Justme October 15, 2009, 9:53 AM

What is so wrong about a C-Section? I had one and it was just fine. My son if healthy and happy. When did child birth become about the Mom and not about the child. I think this woman is being completely selfish. She does not have an MD and should listen to those that do. Most doctors will not do VBAC because of the GREAT risks involved. They did not make up these risks. Doctors used to to VBAC’s but there were so many complications they thought it was best to stop. She cares more about how she wants to deliver than the safety of her child. As a Mom you should never do anything that will knowingly increase the risk of your child dying.

shaye32 October 15, 2009, 10:12 AM

I don’t understand what the big deal is? Why is she so adament about having a vaginal birth? I am not saying she is wrong, I am just not understanding why it is such a big deal. I would rather have my husband there with me then move 300 miles away just to pop the kid out vaginally.

I do, however, disagree with her cries of rape. It is in no way the same and she should be ashamed of herself for saying it. I am sure an ACTUAL rape victim would be disgusted with her ridiculous analogy.

Anthony Rogers October 15, 2009, 3:39 PM

This town has a population of 6904. The hospital is not equipped to handle VBACs. They are referring her to a better equipped hospital in Phoenix. Sounds like a small hospital maintaining the standard of care. They aren’t denying her a VBAC. They just don’t want do it at the small town hospital. They probably don’t treat other things either like pediatric surgical oncology or brain surgery.

MamaT October 27, 2009, 7:18 PM

as a rape victim AND a mother who was given an “emergency” c-section (only to later find out it was simply for the convenience of my doctor and his vacation plans), i don’t think it’s an unfair analogy.

a c-section you don’t want and don’t need feels just as invasive and leaves just as many scars.

Beck March 22, 2010, 1:58 AM

Hi! Just wanted to share my experience. This topic is very close to my heart.
I had a Caesarian, I believe it was not necessary but was scared into it. After 20 hours of labour I was willing to do anything to make it end.
As a result of the caesar, I developed a 6 cm blood clot that ran from my ovarian vein into my IVC. It nearly killed me and left my baby girl with a very ill Mummy. I spent 3 weeks in hospital and it took them 10 days before they found what was making me so sick. I don’t remember the first month of her life, all I remember was how desperately I wanted to get better, get home and have my baby sleep in her cradle, not a plastic container provided by the hospital.
After this I fell pregnant with my son and despite being warned about the ‘risks’ of V-bacs, I knew the risks of a caesarian could be just as lethal and I made it abundantly clear that I was only interested in a V-bac. I had to shop around and see 4 doctors before I felt comfortable that my wishes were going to be respected.
I did get my Vbac and it was an amazing experience. I am tired of hearing about doctors scaring women who’ve had caesars into not even trying for a vaginal delivery when it is the most natural and healthy thing to do, minus mitigating circumstance of course. Educate yourself and fight for your rights ladies!!

Tracy April 13, 2010, 7:55 AM

One of my OB’s (a woman, because neither of the male OB’s were willing to share this info) told me VERY clearly that if you are a VBAC patient and you arrive at the hospital in labor and you REFUSE to sign the consent form for the c-section the Dr’s and hospital CAN NOT touch you. It would leave them open to an Assault and Battery charge. We women have a lot more say than we are lead to believe.

crystal April 13, 2010, 9:04 AM

Wow, people! Why are so many of you so disgusted with her choice of words? I can understand completely what she is saying. Not only that but comments like, who cares if she has a cesarean? For your INFORMATION, all of you who don’t think a cesarean is a big deal, or is all about the mother’s preference and not the baby’s safety, please do your research before opening your mouths! Having a cesarean increases the mother’s risk of dying by 3 times. It increases the risk of having further complications in a subsequent pregnancy including stillbirth. The baby being born cesarean has a 7 times greater chance of developing asthma, as well as increased risk of spending time in the NICU. Bottom line: It is MUCH safer to have a VBAC than to have a cesarean, and it should be the norm not the exception. Did any of you consider the possibility that there are no homebirth midwifes that she could use? Maybe there are no doctors or hospitals close by that she can turn to? Where are her options? How about bonding with a new baby after having major surgery, and trying to take care of her older children as well while recovering? Come on people, think, research, before making your comments. That’s all I have to say.

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