Power of a Fetus vs the Autonomy of the Mother and the Carder Court Reversal Decision
You are a woman and you are pregnant. You are at term, in labor, and you have been fully informed by your doctor who insists that you deliver by C-section otherwise the baby might not survive. You have previously told your doctor that you never want a C-section operation and you are sure that you can deliver vaginally as you did with your other child. Your doctor is upset with your refusal for surgery.. the doctor is angry that you will not listen to medical advice. Guess what? The doctor and the hospital are contacting the court for an emergency order by a judge to perform a C-section against your wishes. The fetus is, at this moment, more important than your autonomous decision.
You are a pregnant woman with cancer and needs chemotherapy. Your fetus is viable but the doctors don't want to treat you for your cancer until they protect the fetus by removing it from the womb otherwise the chemotherapy will poison it. You are fully informed about the benefits of chemotherapy and the potential risks to the fetus and yourself. They get a court order to perform a C-section against your decision to treat your cancer now and not be concerned at present with the fetus.
You are a pregnant woman and have been voluntarily snorting cocaine. You have heard that there is some controversy that cocaine may be harmful for the fetus but, nevertheless, you consciously decided that you wanted to continue the drug. You are arrested, convicted of harming your fetus by the cocaine and you are now in prison.
If you think these stories are all made up, you are wrong. This is what has been happening in the United States. It appears that legislatures and the federal government put more power in the unborn denying the born pregnant woman the autonomy regarding the control of her body, such autonomy being granted to every adult woman or man. The unborn, through court order, can lead to personally unwanted and perhaps unneeded operations or other procedures carried out on the woman's body. Even a born infant or other born child of the mother would not be granted such power. So why the unborn fetus?
Read the Angela Carder story of a young lady whose drive for her own survival from cancer caused her and her fetus to become the fatal victims of a court decision. Read about the entire subject of "The Rights of Unborn Children and the Value of Pregnant Women" in the Hastings Center Report. And finally, read the advice of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology regarding autonomy of pregnant women in view of the D.C. Court of Appeals reversal of the initial court decision regarding Carder but after both the mother and fetus had died.
Although the word has not fully gotten around to all the doctors, lawyers and legislatures and federal government, the courts are not the ones to be ordering surgery and other procedures on women who are pregnant against the woman's autonomous decision in order to attempt to preserve the life of a fetus. In fact, no one, even doctors may do so either. ..Maurice.