A performance piece about informed consent and obstetric violence.
In 2013, Kimberly Turbin was the victim of a brutal and unnecessary episiotomy that her doctor forced on her during the birth of her son. She told Dr. Alex Abassi and her nurse that she had twice been the victim of rape, and to be gentle with her and to keep her informed of exactly what they were doing at all times. Even though neither Kimberly nor her baby were under any medical distress, Dr. Abassi cut her vagina twelve times despite Kimberly’s begging and pleading with him not to.
The entire ordeal was caught on video by a family member.
Kimberly’s complaints to the hospital and her doctor were ignored. With the help of the non-profit Improving Birth, Kimberly sought legal counsel, and her doctor was charged with assault and battery. Mark Merin, a prominent lawyer who has been involved with many high-profile civil rights cases is representing Kimberly. A ruling in Kimberly’s favor would set historic precedence in the United States, given legal protection for women during childbirth is uncertain.
Five actors will read the transcript of the video aloud word for word. After the first read through, the female actress will read the role of the male doctor, and the male actor will read the role of Kimberly.
This piece was performed on Saturday, September 10, 2016 at Daley Plaza in Chicago
All photos by Nadia Oussenko
TRANSCRIPT OF KIMBERLY'S BIRTH
I asked for Kimberly's permission before I started this piece and she has been an enthusiastic supporter throughout the process.
Click the button below to donate money for Kimberly's legal fees