Vaginal Examinations During Childbirth: Consent, Coercion and COVID-19

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In this paper I assess the labour ward admission policies introduced by some National Health Service (NHS) trusts during the COVID-19 pandemic, arguing that these intersected with other policies in a manner which may have coerced birthing people into consenting to vaginal examinations they might have otherwise refused. In order to fully understand the potential severity of these policies, I situate this critique in the historical and contemporary context of the problematic relationship between consent and vaginal examinations. Identifying the legal wrongs associated with performing coerced vaginal examinations, I highlight that the law is inadequately equipped to provide appropriate redress. Further, I illustrate that the issue explored in this paper reflects broader problems which exist with regard to the focus of, and the (under)investment in, the maternity services.




Nelson, A. (2021, April 1). Vaginal Examinations During Childbirth: Consent, Coercion and COVID-19. Feminist Legal Studies. Springer Science and Business Media B.V.

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