It's about the difficulty that many women with prior cesareans have in getting a chance to have a Vaginal Birth After Cesarean (VBAC). It's about countless women who are essentially being forced into unnecessary surgery that they don't want or need. As the article says:
Much ado has been made recently of women who choose to have cesareans, but little attention has been paid to the vast number of moms who are forced to have them.The International Cesarean Awareness Network (ICAN, http://www.ican-online.org/) was a big part of helping this writer research her article. In fact, I helped do the phone survey she talks about in the article:
The International Cesarean Awareness Network (ICAN), a grass-roots group, recently called 2,850 hospitals that have labor and delivery wards and found that 28% of them don't allow VBACs, up from 10% in its previous survey, in 2004. ICAN's latest findings note that another 21% of hospitals have what it calls "de facto bans," i.e., the hospitals have no official policies against VBAC, but no obstetricians will perform them.Read that again, folks. 28% of the hospitals with maternity services in the United States have official VBAC bans on their books. Another 21% of hospitals have de facto bans.....no official policy, but doctors basically won't attend VBACs there anyhow.
That means a whopping 49% of hospitals in the U.S. will not let you have a VBAC. Nearly HALF of all hospitals do not "permit" women to choose how they give birth if they have a history of prior cesarean.
In my state, the rate was even higher.....54% of hospitals did not "allow" VBAC. Some states are even worse.
Of course, you can choose to have an elective cesarean section in nearly all these hospitals........but if you have a history of cesarean in your background, you are not "allowed" to choose to have a vaginal birth.
Hello??? Reproductive rights anyone?? Alas, apparently only if it makes life more convenient for the doctors. Where is the outrage about this?
And the sad thing is, VBAC is generally even less accessible for fat women. Even if you can find a hospital that "permits" VBACs, many of them strongly discourage "obese" women from trying a VBAC. Some doctor practices outright ban VBAC for women over a certain weight limit.
So take everything the article says about VBAC access and multiply it for women of size. This is not "just" a birth issue or a reproductive rights issue; this is also a fat-acceptance issue.
*More on this tomorrow.