New Mother Is Suing Her Doctor For "Violating Her Body" During Birth
A 27-year-old woman is suing her doctor for assault and battery after he performed an episiotomy — a formerly routine and now largely dissuaded birth practice during which an incision is made in the perineum, the region between the vagina and anus — without her consent during the birth of her son in 2013. After "Kelly" gave a few pushes, her doctor said he was going to go ahead with the episiotomy, to which Kelly responded, "Why? We haven't even tried."
Kelly's sister got the above quote, as well as the rest of the conversation that followed in a (very) NSFW YouTube video of the birth, which was posted in light of the lawsuit to help Kelly seek justice. The doctor and Kelly go back and forth a few times, with comments from the nurse and Kelly's mother in between, urging Kelly to listen to the doctor, whose comments are, quite frankly, very condescending.
Improving Birth, a national birth-advocacy organization, has gotten involved with Kelly's cause, which is said to be a case of obstetric violence — "a new but growing concept in this country, which . . . can range from coerced medical interventions such as cesarean sections to simply being talked down to during labor."
Cristen Pascucci, a birth advocate, said of the situation, "The number one issue is it's about consent. Very simply, she said no. She asked for information, he refused to give her information, and then he came at her with a pair of scissors and did it anyway, and that's a total violation of her and her body."
Kelly says that she wants her story to serve as an example to all women that if it could happen to her, it could happen to anyone. Her options, the rights to her body, and information about her body were taken away from her. She says, "This was never about money. . . . This is for all the women who didn't have a video. For all the women who didn't get this far. For all the women who were silenced. It's for all of them."
Kelly still hasn't gotten a lawyer willing to represent her case, which is thought to be because "so many lawyers, just like many other people, will say, 'Well, you've got your healthy baby.'" While that statement is true, it does not change for her the way the situation was handled and how she was treated regarding her own body.