Joy Szabo of Page, Arizona, was told by her local hospital that she wouldn’t be allowed to give birth vaginally there. She even met with the hospital CEO to discuss their policy of forcing repeat C-sections — a policy she equated with physical assualt — and the hospital responded by threatening to get a court order for the surgery. When the local paper headlined Szabo’s plight, the hospital backed off, but it still told her “No VBAC.” Instead of agreeing to the major surgery, Szabo pushed back. She found a willing hospital and provider in Phoenix, a six hour journey by car from her home, and made the decision to move there and await labor. She and her husband Jeff had to live apart beginning in mid-November, with Jeff remaining in Page with their three children (one already born by VBAC at Page Hospital!).
Finally, this week, CNN reports a happy ending: Szabo gave birth to her fourth son, Marcus Anthony (7 lbs, 13 oz) on December 5th: “It was such an easy birth,” Szabo said. “I was in the pains of labor for about four or five hours, then I pushed once, and he popped out.”
Congratulations, Joy. You are a hero and an inspiration to the hundreds of thousands of U.S. women facing the same coercive policies each year.