The Guardian

Washington, March 13:

A mother was in jail on charges of murder yesterday after refusing to undergo a Caesarean delivery in a case that reignites the debate in the United States on the competing rights of foetuses and women.

In what was seen as a test of new state and federal legislation expanding the domain of human life, Melissa Ann Rowland, 28, was accused of exhibiting “depraved indifference to human life’’ for disregarding the advice of doctors to give birth to her twins by Caesarean section.

One of the twins, a boy, was stillborn. The other, a girl, survived and has been adopted. If she is convicted of causing her unborn son’s death, Rowland could face life in prison, press reports said.

It was not clear yesterday why she ignored repeated medical advice last winter that the twins were in danger.

The prosecution argues it was vanity, and that Rowland told a nurse she did not want a scar.

However, in an interview with a radio station from prison, Rowland, who denies the charges, was quoted as saying that she had no objections to the surgery, and that the twins were delivered by Caesarean.