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Women's Rights are Patients' Rights: Women, Medicine and Maternal-Fetal Conflict in Post-Roe America

Hosted by the Women and Gender in the World DHI Research Cluster. Presented by Rebecca Kluchin of CSU Sacramento.

Feb 17, 2017
from 12:00 PM to 01:00 PM

Voorhies 228

A brown bag talk by Professor Rebecca Kluchin (History, CSU-Sacramento), with pre-circulated paper. 

In 1987, Angela Carder was twenty-seven years old, newly married, pregnant for the first time, and in remission from cancer. Twenty-five weeks into her pregnancy, her cancer returned. Her prognosis was terminal and her condition deteriorated rapidly. When administrators at George Washington University Medical Center learned that Carder had no plan to save her fetus, they went to court to determine their responsibility it. A judge ordered an immediate cesarean section. The baby lived two hours; its mother died two days later. Carder’s story exemplifies a small, but significant trend in obstetrical practice in the 1980s, when hospitals and doctors used the courts to compel pregnant women to undergo cesarean sections in order to preserve the life and/or health of their fetuses. This article exposes and analyzes court ordered cesarean sections in the 1980s and reveals the key role that organized medicine played in ending the practice by defending pregnant women’s reproductive rights.

The pre-circulated paper is available for download here.