Abbassi checked on Turbin’s progress over the course of the evening, and shortly after midnight, it looked like she was ready to deliver. She was on her back in the hospital bed, immobilized by an epidural and pushing, when Abbassi said, “I am going to do an episiotomy now.”
Turbin objected: “What? Why? We haven’t even tried!” More than once, she said, “No, don’t cut me.” Surgical scissors in hand, Abbassi explained that the baby’s head was too big and that her “butthole” might “rip” otherwise. Turbin implored him, once again, not to cut her. He said, “I am the expert here… Why can’t I do it? You can go home and do it. You go to Kentucky.” Then, despite her refusals, he cut her perineum 12 times.
The entire episode was caught on video by her mother, standing off to the side in the hospital room.
“I didn’t know he did that until I saw my video,” says Turbin. “Nobody could tell me why and that’s what bothered me. I was so mad he forced me to do something I didn’t want to do.”
After two years looking for a lawyer who would take her case, Turbin filed a complaint for assault and battery against Abbassi. Her supporters describe it as a potential turning point for the rights of women during childbirth.
“I felt betrayed because something unnecessary was done to my body that I didn’t ask for,” Angela said. “It was a harmful decision made without my consent. That’s not what you should get when you are in the hospital to have a baby.”