“Birth Freedom …

“Birth Freedom is about securing the Constitutional Rights we already have.

The Right to Life:
The maternal mortality rate in the US has DOUBLED in the past 20 years (CDC).
No VALID study has ever shown hospital birth to be safer than homebirth.
The US is currently at #47 in the world for maternal mortality and #50 for infant mortality (CIA Factbook).
Because women have the right to life, they may not be compelled to birth in a setting which may decrease her chances of life for her and her baby.
The Right to Liberty:
The Cesarean Rate in Alabama is 35.5%, the 6th highest in the nation, and many of those surgeries are unnecessary.
The VBAC rate (number of women birthing normally after a cesarean) is only 3.5 out of 100. This means that 96.5% of the women birthing in the hospital after a prior c-section will undergo major surgery, even though the data shows that VBAC is safer than repeat cesarean.
The net result, without access to midwives, is that these 96.5% of women will be compelled, often against her wishes, to endure major surgery, increasing the risk to her life and her baby’s health.
In no way is it ever justified for the state to mandate major surgery for any of its citizens.
The Right to Be Secure in Their Person
Birth is a natural function of a woman’s biology, and will happen even if no one else is there. Women have the right to exercise their biology without unwanted intrusion. SHE chooses who may attend her and where she births.

Birth Freedom Bill Proposal:

Women have the right to choose where and with whom they birth. Midwifery, by virtue of that right, is legal. No physician or other medical professional shall be held liable for complications arising from a mother’s choice of homebirth or midwife. ”

~Terri LaPoint

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The acrimony in…

The acrimony in the birth conversation comes from a set of lies….I am not sure which is the chicken and which is the egg…so I will just call them lie A. and lie B. Lie A: Pregnancy is an illness and birth is a medical emergency Lie B: Someone other than the mother is in charge

A leads to B, B allows A…..either way, it is at the very core of every argument about ultrasound, testing, place of birth, birth attendants, licensure..all are a product of Lie A and B….. ~Carla Hartley

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Drawing the Lines : Midwifery Politics in Arizona and Making the Case for Radical Action

June 11, 2013 By 3 Comments

“Liberal feminists are asking for their share of the pie, a piece as big as anyone else’s. However, radical feminists are asking for a different pie altogether. Liberal activism (i.e. “We’re just like you!” activism) tends to be a conversation about assimilation and tolerance, and about being given a place at the table. Radical activism sees the existing system as broken and unsalvageable, and attempts to subvert, if not destroy, the system all together” – Leslie Kinzel

In my short time in the birth world I have seen second hand the way in which the state targets and attempts to eradicate midwives that are truly serving women rather than serving the state.  This is all very clear and obvious to me, and anyone else that looks critically at the history of midwives and the ongoing assimilation and watering down of “midwifery” by government regulation in collusion with egomaniacal OBGYN’s and their lobbyists.  It is the same plot as many recent Hollywood movies, except no one in our culture yet realizes that the traditional midwives, the unassisted birthers, the birth keepers are the ones to root for if we want the world to wake up.

But even worse, as we are now seeing in Arizona, “midwives” themselves are once again colluding with the oppressors, and digging true midwifery’s own grave.  If you aren’t up to date on this, see here, and here for some basic background.  The problem is that even people critical of the proposed changes, that seemingly have good intentions, don’t understand the larger political context, possibilities or the radical perspective of the events transpiring since so few are speaking out, and those that are, are being bullied and silenced for not staying in lock step with the mainstream, work-within-the-system, garbage.  So here is the Arizona situation as I see it:

The push to reopen the Arizona rules and regulations was an effort on behalf of consumers (guided by midwives) to allow midwives to attend VBAC births at home since AZ is one of the few backward ass states that excludes that from the scope of practice.  I believe this was largely a response to the aforementioned state targeting of a midwife for attending a VBAC, although no midwives or consumers spoke out in support, or even publicly made the connection between the rules opening and the situation, likely for fear of connecting themselves.

The group involved in reopening the rules and regulations mistakenly believed that going through the proper channels would win the trust of the Arizona Department of Health and help them achieve a wider and more autonomous scope of practice, which would make all consumers and midwives in AZ happier.  They were wrong on both counts.  The discussion of introducing space for voluntary licensure was poo-pooed over and over again, and those suggesting this were told that it was “too late” for that discussion.  All of the events, gatherings, public meetings, etc have taken place in Phoenix, the metro area of Arizona, making it very difficult for people in other parts of the state to participate except in token ways like online surveys and letter writing.  This led to a highly homogenous and mainstream front group that shaped the course and direction of all major decisions and interactions with the health department.  There have been many dissenting voices all along, but as with any “critical mass” movement they have been drowned out in favor of piecemeal “progress”.

Going through the prim and proper channels nearly always waters down the original intent of a group, and this particular group was already pretty watered down and assimilated to begin with.  In a predictable twist of fate, what they are now looking at as the end of the revision process draws near, is a document which even they actually think is WORSE than what they started with.  The board overseeing the changes has taken this opportunity to actually restrict and ban things that medwives care about like pitocin, when they were actually asking for cytotec to be added to the list of medications they could legally carry (which some already do anyways of course).  The board has also narrowed the scope further on who is low risk, what amount of informed choice is “allowed” before mandatory transfer of care and have added an insane piece that states midwives have to call their local labor and delivery ward every time a client goes into labor, so that they can be prepared in the case of an emergency.  And while VBACs and twins are now “allowed”, the restrictions placed on them are almost comical in that no one will actually fit in the parameters set.  Consumers and midwives in Arizona are freaking out, and wondering if they should just scrap the whole thing, and go back to how things were.  And as if that was the plan all along, Will Humble, the director of the department, has put that forward as an actual option.

I think Jeannine Parvati Baker explained it best –

“Too many Midwives
have identified with the oppressor,
learned to speak the conquerers language,
and otherwise been vanquished to emerge as
obstetrically-trained “Medwives”.

In other words,
many Midwives have given up being
guardians and keepers of natural birth at home,
in order to survive as professionals.”

Because this push was never radical, and never challenged the system at the core, they have ended up with this scenario in which all of their energy, money, time, has just been used to fuel the restriction of their medwives even further.  So this is the real lesson, that I hope some people can hear, and understand, and see in the real life context of the Arizona situation.  If we want REAL CHANGE and REAL AUTONOMY over our bodies, our births and our babies, we need to say NO MORE to state control of midwifery!  We have to take back what is rightfully ours instead of asking permission, as mothers, as birth givers, and as those who other women ask to join them in birth.  The only piece of legislation we could possibly need is one that says women have the inherent right to birth wherever and with whomever they choose, and that those that they choose to support them do so legally by virtue of being asked.

After all, many of the midwives pushing for reform are the same ones who were going outside of the rules and regulations anyways.  So why do we even have a scope of practice, or rules and regulations?  Why bother?!  Unlicensed midwives don’t follow them, and licensed midwives don’t follow them, so what on earth are they there for?  Rules and regulations don’t help moms. They don’t make the Western medical model respect midwives and homebirthers any more.  They don’t make anyone safer. If you think they do, then show me the study, because there isn’t one.  These ideas about licensing and safety are all based in cultural mythology about technology, professionalism, women’s abilities, and the extent of our freedom.

We need to become more comfortable with ambiguity, and different needs and opinions, rather than asking to be further standardized and mechanized.  We need to expand our imaginations, and ask much harder questions than we have been asking.  What are these rules there for?  Who do they serve?  Why are drugs like pitocin only available through a doctor to begin with?  Shouldn’t we, as informed competent adults, be able to purchase medication we need or want without the permission of a doctor?  Are women smart enough to pick who is invited to her birth, regardless of their credentials and licensing?  What about dangerous or untrustworthy licensed midwives since we have all heard or experienced these stories?   What is the role of policing within those who work with pregnant women and babies?  Because that is really what licensing is – the sanctioned policing of midwives and birthing families, and the subsequent branding of those midwives that the state deems “acceptable”.   What creative systems of accountability can we come up with?  Are we up to the task?

I ask these questions not because I have all the answers about how this system looks, but because I know that we can do better, that we are going to have to do better.

So what do you think?  Do you want a bigger piece of the pie?  Or should we bake our own effing cake?

Reposted from http://www.bloglovin.com/frame?post=1139779447&group=0&frame_type=b&blog=6817831&link=aHR0cDovL3d3dy5pbmRpZWJpcnRoLmNvbS9kcmF3aW5nLXRoZS1saW5lcy1taWR3aWZlcnktcG9saXRpY3MtaW4tYXJpem9uYS1hbmQtbWFraW5nLXRoZS1jYXNlLWZvci1yYWRpY2FsLWFjdGlvbi8&frame=1&click=0&user=0
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Sisters in Chains: Supporting Persecuted Midwives, Doctors, and Families

All women have a fundamental human right to birth where and with whom they choose. This right is as elemental as the right to decide to have sex. Women own their own bodies.

When any person or entity places sanctions which prohibit or discourage the assistance of an invited guest at the mother’s birth, that person or entity is violating the mother’s human right. Many people may make suggestions or offer their input into the circumstances of a pregnancy or birth, but ultimately the final say and decision making belongs to the mother alone.

Sisters in Chains is a group that exists to show that such sanctions are not only occurring around the world, but are increasing at an alarming rate. Whether this growing trend is due to fear of competition, financial greed or simply ignorance, we do not know. Perhaps it is a combination of all three.

Do you believe in a woman’s rights to her own body and choices? Then please consider supporting some of our sisters: doctors, midwives and mothers united.



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Dear sweet mothers…..women who know more than I did when I started having babies, I wish someone had loved me enough to tell me the truth…..I needed no one’s permission to use my vagina and my brain and my heart, my hormones, my limbic system…..and together they all knew how to get the baby in, and let the baby out.

Carla Hartley

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Why Are Midwives Themselves Pushing For Licensure?

Why Are Midwives Themselves Pushing For Licensure?

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