Episiotomies and the ethics of consent during labour and birth: thinking beyond the existing consent framework

Anna Nelson, Beverley Clough

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review

Abstract

We agree with van der Pijl et al that the question of how to ensure consent is obtained for procedures which occur during labour and childbirth is vitally important, and worthy of greater attention. However, we argue that the modified opt-out approach to consent outlined in their paper may not do enough to protect the choice and agency of birthing people. Moreover, while their approach reflects a pragmatic attempt to facilitate legal clarity and certainty in this context, this is not necessarily responsive to the messy realities of decision-making during labour (and beyond). We outline some of our concerns with their proposals and demonstrate how these illuminate some broader, longstanding tensions around consent and medical law.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)622-623
Number of pages2
JournalJournal of Medical Ethics
Volume49
Issue number9
Early online date22 Jun 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2023

Keywords

  • childbirth
  • consent
  • medical law
  • Informed Consent
  • Women's rights
  • Obstetrics

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