A Florida woman who took a Charlotte County hospital to court in order to avoid undergoing a fourth cesarean section delivery gave birth to a baby boy this weekend after agreeing to a C-section at a different hospital.
Jennifer Goodall, 29, made headlines earlier this year when she asked a federal judge to settle her dispute with Bayfront Health Port Charlotte.
Goodall said she wanted to have a vaginal birth for her fourth child after delivering her previous three children with C-sections. The hospital’s ethics panel deemed that too risky.
The panel said delivering vaginally after having undergone previous C-sections was dangerous to both the mother and the child. Following the determination, the hospital threatened to report Goodall to the Florida Department of Children and Families if she did not consent to a cesarean delivery, according to WTSP.
The judge in the case eventually sided with Bayfront Health.
Goodall solved that by deciding to deliver at nearby Cape Coral Hospital instead.
Her case brought national attention to women who insist on vaginal birth after cesareans, a procedure often referred to as a VBAC, and the shortage of doctors in her region of Florida willing to accommodate a woman’s request to have one.
Goodall’s supporters maintain that Bayfront’s determination not perform the procedure amounted to a “forced” cesarean delivery.
“Every woman deserves the right to make choices about their birth and every woman deserves the right to say no if she doesn't want to consent to surgery,” supporter Shannon Mitchell told WZVN. “I know what it feels like to just be in that position.”
Mitchell claims she felt the same pressure from her hospital while pregnant.
“Florida's patient bill of right says we can refuse any procedure we want. And refusing cesarean is a procedure,” she said.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists generally considers VBACs to be safe. But The National Advocates for Pregnant Women admits there is higher risk for women who have undergone multiple C-sections.
After her delivery Saturday, Goodall released a statement on her Facebook page.
“Thank you to everyone from around the country and the world for the outpouring of support. I welcomed my son into the world after laboring, consenting to surgery when it became apparent that it was necessary because labor was not progressing,” she wrote. “This was all I wanted to begin with. I am grateful to the medical staff at another hospital who assisted us in a safe and healthy delivery.”