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China: Around The Nation

Pregnant Chinese woman ‘commits suicide’ after family refuse to allow her to have a caesarean section

Fatal fall prompts renewed call for women to be given more rights after relatives overrule her wishes and ignore advice from medical staff

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 05 September, 2017, 1:58pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 05 September, 2017, 2:41pm

A heavily pregnant woman is reported to have committed suicide after her family repeatedly refused to let her have a caesarean section.

The 26-year-old woman, surnamed Ma, was admitted to the maternity ward of Yulin No 1 Hospital in Shaanxi Province, northern China, last Wednesday, China Business News reported in Tuesday.

The report shocked and angered many online commentators who called for women to be given greater reproductive rights.

“Initial diagnosis found that Ma was over 41 weeks pregnant with her first child,” said a statement issued by the hospital.

“The large fetal head circumference meant that vaginal delivery would have been very risky.”

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Doctors had suggested that delivery by caesarean section would be safer for Ma following the examination, but her family insisted on a natural birth.

Under Chinese law family members have to give permission before medical staff carry out surgery.

Hospital records state that at 5.50pm last Thursday, staff told the family of the requirements for a caesarean delivery.

The family, whose precise relationship to the woman was not disclosed, understood and refused surgery, preferring to continue monitoring the situation.

“The pregnant woman twice walked out of the ward to tell her family that she wanted a caesarean because she could no longer bear the pain, but the family continued to insist on a natural delivery,” according to the records.

It was not explained why they denied her request.

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Staff managed to persuade her to return to the ward and again tried to convince the family to let her have a C-section, but they still refused.

Ma fell from a fifth floor window in the hospital’s maternity ward about 8pm. Doctors could not save her life.

The fetus was also killed.

Police told reporters that after investigating the incident, they believed it was a suicide.

The China Business News report attracted more than 18,000 comments on Weibo.

Many people voiced their shock and anger over the tragedy, and called for greater reproductive rights for women.

“Besides from the pregnant woman, nobody else should have had a say,” said a top-rated comment with more than 18,000 likes.

“A married woman isn’t a tool for producing babies, how can people still be so ignorant these days!” said another user.