The Constitutional endorses that a woman was legally forced to give birth in a hospital

The Constitutional Court has rejected the appeal of a woman forced by a court to give birth in a hospital when she wanted to do so at her home in Oviedo. The doctors had warned of the risk of death for the baby and a court finally ordered that she be taken to the Central University Hospital of Asturias. The Constitutional affirms that the judges who studied the case acted correctly to protect the health of the baby.

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The appellant is a resident of Oviedo who wanted to give birth at home and not in the hospital, against the recommendations of the head of Obstetrics at the Central University Hospital of Asturias. Finally, it was Court 1 of the city that ordered the transfer of the woman to the hospital center in a decision later endorsed by the second section of the Asturian Provincial Court. This resolution was the one that this woman finally took before the Constitutional Court, which last January decided to take the matter to full "given the relevance of the case."

Those responsible for the Health Service of the Principality took the case to court based on reports from the Obstetrics Service of the Hospital. The doctors explained that the desire of the woman and her partner that the delivery take place at her home with a midwife put the life of the fetus in “imminent and serious danger” due to the risk of fetal hypoxia and intrauterine death. The woman, who was 45 weeks pregnant, was taken to the hospital where she gave birth to her daughter by cesarean section.

The woman's defense took the case to the Constitutional Court seeking a ruling that determined that the judge in the case did not have the power to order the woman's hospital admission due to her decision to give birth at home. in statements to El Comerciothe lawyer Francisca Fernández explained that the objective of the lawsuit is not to defend the right to give birth at home but for the magistrates to establish "if a criminal judge could order a forced intervention in the bodily sphere of a woman, her forced entry into the Hospital attending only to the opinion of a single doctor and without asking the family.

The Constitutional Court recognizes that there is no specific legal precept for this type of matter but affirms that the judges who endorsed his hospital admission presented a "reasonable normative coverage that enabled judicial intervention." Ultimately, says the Constitutional, the decision was covered by the legal duty "to protect a good derived from the constitutional text itself," it says referring to "the health of the unborn." Skipping the hearing process, he adds, was justified by the urgency of the matter.

"The result of this examination is that the judicial bodies sufficiently motivated the suitability, necessity and proportionality of the measure, based on the concurrent circumstances and the different rights and legal goods that were weighed", settles the Constitutional Court to reject the woman resource.

The decision has not been unanimous within the full court of guarantees. There are three individual votes from the progressives Juan Antonio Xiol, Ramón Sáez and Inmaculada Montalbán because they understand that the court's decision was "a deprivation of liberty carried out without respecting the minimum requirements established by this Court." Other magistrates, such as Cándido Conde-Pumpido and María Luisa Balaguer, have announced concurring private votes.

In the case of Balaguer, the magistrate explains that she agrees with the decision but expresses her opinion contrary to the fact that "the partner of the then pregnant woman has any type of legitimacy to file this amparo appeal, and announces that she will make some considerations on the the need to have regulations that regulate situations such as the one addressed in this sentence”, says the court of guarantees. The appeal was filed jointly by the woman and her partner.

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