This post is part of our "What Does Choice Mean to You?" series commemorating the 37th anniversary of Roe v. Wade.
Last November, Joy Szabo packed her bags, left her husband and children, and moved 350 miles away from
home to exercise choice. She didn’t travel for the freedom to choose whether or
not to continue her pregnancy. She was determined to have a vaginal birth after
cesarean (VBAC). Szabo’s local hospital refused to allow her to have a vaginal
birth, and the hospital CEO even threatened a court order to ensure that Szabo
give birth via cesarean surgery.
More and more women like Szabo are being refused the right
to give birth on their own terms as more and more hospitals ban women from VBACs .
True, there are risks associated with VBAC, most notably uterine rupture, which
can lead to mother and/or infant death. However, there are also risks
associated with cesarean surgery, including heavy bleeding and infection for
the mother, breathing problems for the infant, and death.
A woman must have the freedom and support to compare the risks of VBAC and the risks of cesarean surgery. And she should
not be required to travel 350 miles to find a facility that allows the method
of birth she deems best for her body and her baby.