20 October 2009

Caesarean = rape?

Image credit: www.caesarean-art.com

As we all know, the caesarean rate (emergency and elective) has risen dramatically over the past decade in most of the industrialised world and 'natural' childbirth has become something of a vestigial organ.

For many women, a caesarean is not only painful but also traumatic. Somehow birth has become only about a healthy outcome and not necessarily about the process or the woman actually giving birth. There is now a growing subculture of women who compare their caesarean births to rape given the lack of control they felt they had over their bodies, the antagonism of hospital staff towards their birth choices and of course, feelings of violation. Recent articles about birth rape are linked to the story of an Arizona mother, Jessica Szabo, who wants to have a VBAC (vaginal birth after caesarean) but is being refused by her local hospital. The hospital argues that all VBACs must have an 'elective caesarean'. In fact, she's so mad that she has written the following message on her minivan:

"Page Hospital enter my body without my permission ... sounds like rape to me!"

There is even an anonymous website devoted to caesarean-inspired art evoking the trauma and pain some women associate with the procedure. Truly haunting (see above).

What do you think?

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