Defendants V.M. and B.G. are the biological parents of J.M.G., born on April 16, 2006. During her hospitalization in anticipation of J.M.G.'s delivery, V.M. demonstrated combative and erratic behavior including a refusal to consent to a cesarean section (c-section). Despite the medical opinion that the fetus demonstrated signs of distress and that the procedure was necessary to avoid imminent danger to the fetus, the child was born by vaginal delivery without incident.So the medical opinion turned out to be wrong, and the C-section turned out to be not necessary.
The hospital did not like the mom's attitude, and ordered two psychiatric exams. The authorities ultimately seized the baby and put it in foster care. The parents' rights were terminated.
The court grappled with the issue of whether the mom could be charged with abusing or neglecting the unborn fetus, because she had an absolute constitutional right to kill the fetus under the current abortion law.
There is no allegation that [the baby] was actually harmed by her parents. Rather, the judge's finding was based solely on the imminent danger of harm presented by [the mom's] actions and mental condition. The unique problem here is that much of [the mom's] erratic behavior occurred before [the baby's] birth, while [the mom] was still pregnant.So the judges disagreed about whether refusing the C-section was child abuse and neglect.
Since the erratic behavior consisted mostly of refusing the C-section, the judges justified their decision on the mom's uncooperative behavior with authorities after the birth. For example, this was alleged:
Caseworker Heather Frommer immediately went to the hospital, interviewed staff and spoke to [the mom and dad]. [They] denied that [the mom] had ever received psychiatric treatment, had ever refused to consent to a c-section or had ever been evaluated by a hospital psychiatrist.Of course there was no tape recording or any objective evidence that the parents lied to anyone. Nor is there any law requiring a citizen to reveal psychiatric treatment to a CPS caseworker.
Here is another example of the parents' uncooperativeness:
The judge expressed his frustration, observing that he "wanted desperately to reunify this family," but the parents were "snatching defeat from the jaws of victory." He also expressed concern that no psychiatrists would undertake the evaluation if they thought they would be sued, to which [the mom] responded, "[t]hat's your problem." When [the mom] was asked if she would waive her right to sue psychiatrists, she replied, "[n]o way." As a result, the judge ordered that a psychiatrist be appointed who would have the same immunity as the court.It seems to me that the mom was entirely within her legal rights to reserve her right to sue. Nor does it appear that this imposed any hardship on the court, because the court has the power to immunize the psychiatrist.
The case against the dad is even stranger. He is not accused of erratic behavior, and he had no power to force the mom to consent to a C-section. So instead this contrived argument is given by the court:
Dr. Shnaidman stated that [the dad] was cognitively intact, but that he also suffers from psychosis. She described his diagnosis as "folie à deux," a rare condition in which one person subscribes to the psychoses and paranoid delusions of another. She explained that [the mom and dad] function in a very paranoid and secretive way, with each person's paranoia supporting the other's.It is not paranoia if the authorities are really out to get them.
The bottom like is that the parents have lost their kid because the authorities did not like their attitude, even tho no one ever showed that they did anything harmful.