In a case that could prompt a new debate about women’s reproductive rights, the Salt Lake District Attorney’s Office charged a woman who allegedly refused a Caesarean section with first-degree murder after one of her twins was born dead, reports the Deseret Morning News. The other twin is in stable condition.
Melissa Ann Rowland, 28, demonstrated “depraved indifference to human life” by failing to pursue immediate medical treatment, said the charge. She was jailed on a $250,000 bond. Said Kent Morgan of the Salt Lake District Attorney’s Office: “She was given three or four opportunities to get a C-section to save that baby. She continued to say no because she didn’t want her cosmetic appearance to be disfigured.”
Law Prof. Marguerite Driessen of Brigham Young University expressed concern that “even in Utah, where the mother has the right to make these choices, that someone other than the mother will be second-guessing these decisions.”
Rowland denied the accusations in a radio interview; she said she has been jailed for two months on child endangerment charges.
Karrie Galloway, CEO of Planned Parenthood Association of Utah, said, “A parent who has a child who is in need of an organ transplant, let’s say a kidney, is not required to give a kidney to a living child. There is no repercussion for them. Where we feel we can make a knee-jerk reaction is mothers and the children they’re carrying. We as a society believe we can make decisions for them and that’s where the inconsistency comes in.”