This is one of those cases that proves sexism is still alive and well in America. Can you imagine the following happening to a man?
A six months pregnant woman was forcibly hospitalized in Florida because the doctor said she was risking a miscarriage if she didn’t quit smoking and stay in the hospital on bed rest.
Of course, men cannot get pregnant. Even modern technology has not brought that fiction to reality yet. But how often are young men forcibly hospitalized for any reason?
Luckily the woman, Samantha Burton, took her doctor to court for forcing her to become a ward of the state for the heinous crime of visiting a doctor while pregnant. A Florida court of appeal this week reversed the woman’s forced hospitalization as a denial of her constitutional rights. As the AP reports:
Burton, who has two young daughters and a common-law husband, didn't want an abortion and voluntarily had gone to Tallahassee Memorial Hospital after experiencing symptoms of potential complications.
However, she didn't like the care she was getting, complaining that her doctor was brusque and overbearing.
Conservative Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum is reviewing the ruling and trying to decide whether to appeal. The case would have been moot because the fetus died in utero and was delivered stillborn by Caesarian section. Burton appealed the case, nonetheless, because she did not want it to stand as legal precedent. She did not want other women to face the fear of being locked up in a hospital just because they went to the doctor for a checkup during pregnancy.
I have long thought that any major medical decisions need not be made “by a woman and her doctor” whether they pertain to pregnancy or not. Have you ever heard that a medical decision should be made “by a man and his doctor?” Of course not! Women should make their medical decisions with information provided her by her doctor or doctors. But the pure power of decision-making should reside with the woman, just as it does with a man.