It stuns logic that we, under any circumstances, could charge a woman with murder for refusing voluntarily to be cut open "from her breast bone to her pubic bone," as Melissa Rowland fearfully said. Now it's murder for a mentally ill (possibly drug-addicted) woman to fear for her own life and health while she waits for her babies to be born. I might imagine no more pitiful example of a mother than Rowland, but she deserves the right of informed consent to have her own body cut.

While the risk of death in childbirth is rare, women are more likely to die from a C-section than from natural childbirth (Journal Watch, Women's Health, July 2003). The Salt Lake Tribune describes "one defining national case" where doctors successfully sued to force a pregnant mother to have a C-section, resulting in the death of both the mother and her child. Does any more need be said?

David Pace

Salt Lake City