In the Manner Prescribed by the State: Potential Challenges to State-Enforced Hospital Limitations on Child Birth Options, Krista Stone-Manista, 16 Cardozo Journal of Law and Gender 469 (May 2010)

Research and Journal Articles

This article discusses whether the state may legally ban a pregnant woman from attempting a VBAC (Vaginal Birth after Cesarean), a procedure that carries a less than one percent risk of catastrophic uterine rupture. Stone-Manista analyzes the implications of recent laws that give a fetus independent legal status from the woman and that creates a legal conflict between the fetus's health and the mother's right to control her body.

Stone-Manista, with particular focus on informed consent and due process clause protections, argues that women have a legal and constitutional right to choose a VBAC. Informed consent principles afford a patient the freedom to voluntarily consent to a medical procedure with a full understanding of the treatment, risks, burdens, and consequences of that procedure or treatment.

To override a woman's right to informed choice, the state has must prove one of four state interests. There have been limited, very specific circumstances under which this has happened – none of which relate to VBAC.

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