This looks to me like a nightmare story. The doctors and nurses wanted to perform a C-section; the mother refused it. The baby was delivered vaginally and was perfectly fine.
Because she refused the C-section and acted distraught, the mother was not allowed to take the child home. Refusing the C-section counted as abusing and neglecting her baby.
And now the mother’s been refused a reinstatment of her parental rights because, it seems, she’s had a lot of trouble coping with the fact that her daughter has been in foster care since her birth
Here’s the court sanctioned description of what’s happened. There’s a fairly short explanation in the NY Times. I am not sure the writer has the details all correct. She also doesn’t seem to have much sense of how symptoms of mental illness can arise as a result of being put in an insane, dehumanizing and emotionally excruciatingly painful situation.
Many of us surely have been in the situation in which nothing we said was considered as anything other than a sign of compliance or non-compliance. And heaven help you if you are non-compliant. It’s not entirely easy to keep behaving sanely in such an insane situation. In fact, if one of these people catches you on the phone, you might even be so stupid as to pretend you don’t know what they’re talking about. And that would be really bad, because that could pretty much kill your chances of getting the baby back. After all, it shows it was insanity that led you to refuse the C-section. And the people making the decisions believe in preventive termination of parental rights. Though the mother hasn’t actually harmed the child in any way, they describe her as abusive because they think her mental state is that of an abusive mother.
I hope that someone reading this carefully will discover it isn’t as bad as it seems to me. I do think the crucial question is about assessing the behavior of someone in one of these awful situations where one’s status as a full human being with some knowledge and understanding has been thoroughly wiped away. That and preventive termination of parental rights.
Miranda Fricker has, many will know, written wonderfully about the consequences of epistemic injustice.
I’ve just seen that an earlier reference to this story appear as a comment on this post. Thanks, Hippocampa.