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

      Nelson, Anna; orcid: 0000-0003-3686-9333; email: anna.nelson@postgrad.manchester.ac.uk (Springer Netherlands, 2021-04-08)
      Abstract: 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.