Even more disgraceful - the Appeal Court says it was "most unfortunate" - was the way doctors obtained an order to deliver the baby by Caesarean section. The judge who made the order was told that M S was in labour, which was not true, and was not told that M S had not been assessed as mentally incompetent.
For some reason, attention in this case has focused on the actions of a social worker, who was - rightly - praised by the judges for her intervention in the case. No one with any knowledge of the case would argue that M S should have been left to her own devices: clearly she needed help. What she got, though, was Catch-22: her refusal to accept medical advice automatically defined her as mad. The real focus of attention should be the medical profession, the arrogance of some of whose members has been illustrated by a series of recent court cases. Women have been bullied and coerced into Caesareans and hysterectomies to an extent which is an affront to the liberal values of a civilised society. When The Independent reported the start of this case a year ago, we received a letter from a woman who had fled the country in order to be sure that she would be allowed to give birth naturally. Yesterday's judgment is a big step towards making this a country where women need not be afraid to assert their rights over their own bodies.Reuse content