The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists supports a woman’s right to autonomy in labor: “Once a patient has been informed of the material risks and benefits involved with a treatment, test, or procedure, that patient has the right to exercise full autonomy in deciding whether to undergo the treatment, test, or procedure or whether to make a choice among a variety of treatments, tests, or procedures. In the exercise of that autonomy, the informed patient also has the right to refuse to undergo any of these treatments, tests, or procedures. . . Performing an operative procedure on a patient without the patient’s permission can constitute ”battery” under common law. In most circumstances this is a criminal act. . . Such a refusal [of consent] may be based on religious beliefs, personal preference, or comfort.”
Childbirth Connection has defined Evidence-based Maternity Care and offers resources on Informed Decision Making, Informed Consent and Informed Refusal. This comprehensive site offers articles on evidence-based care on a variety of topics, such as The Rights of Childbearing Women.
National Advocates for Pregnant Women
National Advocates for Pregnant Women (NAPW) works to secure the human and civil rights, health and welfare of all women, focusing particularly on pregnant and parenting women, and those who are most vulnerable – low income women, women of color, and drug-using women. NAPW seeks to ensure that women do not lose their constitutional and human rights as a result of pregnancy, that addiction and other health and welfare problems they face during pregnancy are addressed as health issues, not as crimes; that families are not needlessly separated, based on medical misinformation; and that pregnant and parenting women have access to a full range of reproductive health services, as well as non-punitive drug treatment services. By focusing on the rights of pregnant women, NAPW broadens and strengthens the reproductive justice, drug policy reform, and other interconnected social justice movements in America today.
Articles of Interest
- Patient Rights (VBAC.com)
- Know Your Reproductive Rights in Washington State
- The Pregnant Patients Bill of Rights (Alliance for the Improvement of Maternity Services)
- Legal Rights of the Pregnant Woman (ICAN)
- The Affordable Care Act’s New Patient Bill of Rights (HealthReform.gov)