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Court makes pregnant woman induce labour against her will

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Court makes pregnant woman induce labour against her will
File photo: Government of Alberta / Public domain.
15:29 CEST+02:00
After a Barcelona woman declined her doctor's suggestion to induce labour, the hospital came back with police and a court order telling her she had to.

The woman was about 40 weeks along in her pregnancy on Thursday June 9th when she went to a check-up to see how her growing baby was progressing, according to Barcelona newspaper La Vanguardia.

She was experiencing early symptoms of labour that come before contractions “and the gynecologist told her that she needed to induce labour because there was a risk,” a lawyer for advocacy group Dona Llum, Catalan Association for Respectful Childbirth, told the newspaper.

But the woman rejected this suggestion, saying she was concerned about what this kind of procedure would entail.

The next day, the mother-to-be went for another exam and the doctor again insisted that they induce labour because they had detected certain anomalies. After the woman asked what the risks exactly were, she was not given concrete risks and she decided that she did not want to go through with it, according to El Mundo.

But the woman was willing to undergo a caesarean section if needed.

After the woman rejected the procedure again, the hospital decided to go to a judge.

The hospital denies that they sought a court order, but Catalan police confirmed that they later went to the woman's home to comply with an injunction from the court and that the woman went along with them to the hospital voluntarily.

“They say that they did not force her, but when the police come to your house and ask you to go to the hospital, what would you do?” noted Dona Llum lawyer Marta Busquets.

The baby girl was born on Sunday June 12th in good health.

But Busquets questioned how urgent the induction of labour truly was, saying that the woman had to wait for six hours at the hospital before the procedure was done.

The hospital said that they had followed prevailing protocols and had not yet received a complaint from the woman.

But Busquets said that the new mother planned to take legal action in the future.

The president of the Barcelona Bar Association for Health Law, Josep Corbella, said that it is very unusual for hospitals to order the induction of labour of a pregnant woman. This usually only happens for women in very dangerous situations, such as being drug addicts.

Dona Llum argues that the woman was not in this kind of dangerous situation and that the hospital violated her right to make her own informed decisions. But Corbella had a slightly different view.

“If the doctor subjectively had the feeling that there was an important risk, and as it is a technical matter that can only be assessed by specialists in gynecology and obstetrics, one cannot say that they acted badly,” he said.

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