Woman is forced to have Hysterectomy

Katherine - posted on 03/08/2011 ( 10 moms have responded )




Under legal standards for informed consent, an adult who is mentally competent generally has a constitutional right to refuse medical treatment, even treatment that would be life-saving.

But after being told by a psychiatrist and a doctor that an unidentified woman's "religious delusions" interfered with her ability to understand the risks of refusing lifesaving cancer treatment, a Montana judge last week ordered that she undergo a hysterectomy two days later, according to the Associated Press and the Missoulian.

The next day, the public defender's office filed an emergency appeal of the Missoula County District Court order, arguing that "tomorrow’s impending involuntary removal of L.K.’s reproductive organs both establishes that the district court is proceeding under a mistake of law and is causing a gross injustice [that] involves constitutional dignity and religious freedom issues of statewide importance.”

The state supreme court then immediately stayed the court order requiring the hysterectomy and provided for the emergency appeal to proceed.

“Normally, we don’t force treatment on adults. Competent adults can refuse even lifesaving treatments on religious terms,” Arthur Caplan of the University of Pennsylvania's Center for Bioethics tells the Missoulian. “The challenge is to establish that they truly are incompetent and that they really do comprehend the risk posed to their life.”

This woman has cancer, terminal if she doesn't have this procedure. But the kicker? The judge is FORCING her to have one. She has strong religious beliefs and he is forcing her??? WTF?


Nikki - posted on 03/08/2011




OK, religious stuff aside.

If a man had teeminal testicular cancer, and was told a removal of those organs would save his life and refused, would a judge force him to have his balls cut off.


This is a gross violation of her body, and I think it is assinine.

As a 26 yo who swore that I would never have a hysterectomy because of what my mother went through with hers, this really hits home for me, because I recently found out that I have a condition that will more than likely lead to having to make that decision in the next few years, if not sooner.

You are taking away something that fundamentally defines gender and purpose. That is to say, having the ability to carry a child defines most women with who they are. To not have that option anymore, the idea even does something to a person, much less waking up with that reality whenyou didn't choose it for yourself. This is just WRONG on soo many levels.


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Kate CP - posted on 03/08/2011




Is this the same jack-ass judge that didn't sentence jail time to that rapist because "sex was in the air"?

What's with all the chauvinist, asshole judges these days??

Becky - posted on 03/08/2011




If she is mentally competent to understand that without treatment, she will die and she wishes to refuse treatment anyway, for whatever reason, be it religious or something else, then she should have that right. It's her body! Like Amy said, it's unlikely that removing her uterus will be a 100% guarantee that her cancer will be cured and will not spread or return. Plenty of people choose to live out what is left of their lives in relative peace and comfort and enjoy their time with their families instead of going through invasive, horrible cancer treatments and spending their last days in the hospital. Why should she not have that right just because it's based on her religion?

[deleted account]

She wants to die of cancer and have no treatment for it then let her. As long as she doesn't live off of taxpayers in any way I say let her kill herself for whatever reason she wants to use.

Iridescent - posted on 03/08/2011




I can't see how that's even gotten this far. You don't even have to be an adult to have a right over your own body. A 14 year old child can refuse medical treatment, provided they have been "informed of the consequences" even when their parent wants them to have the procedure done. The age varies, and it's based more on development and ability to understand, but even a child's wishes need to be considered. Does this woman have a 100% chance of living a quality, happy, long life with the treatment? Because if she values quality more than quantity, it has to be considered. I highly doubt they can promise 100% this is true. She has every right to refuse. Dementia patients are allowed to refuse to take their life-saving medications on a daily basis, and allowed to refuse to eat, and usually they starve to death - why doesn't this group of lawyers and judge go check that out? And the group with dementia, as a whole, is unable to understand how their refusal effects them.

Tara - posted on 03/08/2011




LMAO @ Nikki, I also wonder if this woman had breast cancer and refused a mastectomy based on religious beliefs would she be forced to lose a boob, or both boobs maybe?

Tara - posted on 03/08/2011




But I thought I read it as the order to force the hysterectomy has been stayed allowing for the emergency appeal to proceed. So she's not on the operating table yet.
But if she is in her right mind, albeit a possible religious extremist (in my opinion not in her right mind but not crazy either) than she can refuse treatment the same way a Jehovah's witness can refuse a blood transfusion that if not received they will die. It's nutty, but it's their right under freedom of religion, no?
Go ahead, force her to have treatment, save her life, but at what cost to the future of all adults? Where do they draw the line between crazy and committed to their faith?

Bonnie - posted on 03/08/2011




I think it should be up to the person and if they refuse, they refuse. Just like when someone has wishes that they don't want to be kept on life support. You have to go by their wishes. This is pretty much the same thing IMO except in this case it is for religious purposes.

Sharon - posted on 03/08/2011




LMFAO!!! Nikki is SOOOO right!!!! If a man had testicular cancer or cancer in his penis - NO JUDGE in this world would order those parts cut off! LMFAO - thats FUNNY!!!

Sharon - posted on 03/08/2011




WTH? Here in Arizona they are refusing to treat terminal people with a will to live but a lack of funds. They have qualified for medicaid previously but they're refusing treatment now. I may have to move.

But up THERE? They're forcing people to have life saving treatments?

Who is pushing this? Her husband? Her parents? I can't see the state undertaking this "just because"

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