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Thread: Abortion is Legal but Not Being Born at Home! New York Law Attacks Midwives

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    Abortion is Legal but Not Being Born at Home! New York Law Attacks Midwives

    New York midwives lose right to deliver babies at home

    Closure of hospital leaves practitioners without backing or insurance, driving home births underground

    Ed Pilkington in New York guardian.co.uk, Friday 14 May 2010 18.51 BST

    As residents of the world's consumer capital, New Yorkers can have anything delivered to their door at any time. They can have their hair cut in the living room, have champagne and caviar rushed to them on a whim, enjoy a shiatsu massage in their own bed or invite a clairvoyant to predict their future from Tarot cards laid out on the kitchen table.

    But there is one thing that is currently unavailable for delivery to those who live in this most can-do of metropolises. Women can not legally give birth at home in the presence of a trained and experienced midwife.

    This city of more than 8 million people, with its reputation for being at the cutting-edge of modern urban living, now lacks a single midwife legally permitted to help women have a baby in their own homes. "It's pretty shocking that in a city where you can get anything any hour of the day a person cannot give birth at home with a trained practitioner," said Elan McAllister, president of the New York-based Choices in Childbirth.

    The collapse of New York's legal home birth midwifery services has come as a result of the closure two weeks ago of one of the most progressive hospitals in the city, St Vincent's in Manhattan. When the bankrupt hospital shut its doors on 30 April the midwives suddenly found themselves without any backing or support.

    There are 13 midwives who practise home births in New York, and under a system introduced in 1992 they are all obliged under state law to be approved by a hospital or obstetrician, on top of their professional training.

    St Vincent's was prepared to underwrite their services, but most other doctors and institutions are not, and they now find themselves without the paperwork they need to work lawfully.

    Miriam Schwarzschild, one of the 13, is now in the invidious position of either abandoning her clients or operating illegally. "Apparently by taking a woman's blood pressure I am committing an illegal act," she said. She has no doubts about what she will do: she will stand by the six to eight women she helps in labour every month, law be damned. She said she intends to "fly under the radar", but is anxious about what would happen should she be reported to the state authorities. "At any time a nurse or doctor could report me, and once that happens they could go after my licence and shut me down."

    Jitters are spreading among the tiny community of home birth midwives. The rumour has circulated that one of them has already been shopped to the authorities by an obstetrician at a hospital where she transferred one of her clients in need of medical attention.

    The crisis of home birth in New York city is an extreme example of a pattern found across America. Fewer than 1% of babies are born at home in the US, and in New York that figure is as low as 0.48% — about 600 babies every year out of 125,000. That compares with a rate of about 30% in the Netherlands.

    In much of Europe, midwives play the lead role in assisting most low-risk and healthy women to give birth, handing over to a specialist doctor or surgeon only when conditions demand. In the US, that relationship is reversed.

    Obstetricians, who are trained to focus on interventionist methods and often have never even witnessed a natural birth, are in charge of about 92% of all cases. As a body, they are fiercely resistant both to midwives – who under the private medical system in America are their competitors – and to women choosing to remain at home.

    In 2008 the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists put out a statement effectively instructing its members to have nothing to do with the "trendy" fashion towards home births. Yet despite Acog's stance, and despite the fact that the US spends more money on pregnancy and childbirth-related hospital costs than any other type of hospital care ($86bn a year), the country has the unfortunate distinction of having one of the highest rates of maternal mortality in the industrialised world. Its rate stands at 16.7 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births, compared with 7.6% in the Netherlands and 3.9% in Italy. Britain's rate is 8.2%.

    On top of that, about one in three pregnancies in the US end in a caesarean section — a product, critics say, of the highly interventionist approach that includes frequent induced labours and epidurals. Amnesty International recently dubbed the US record on childbirth as a whole a "human rights crisis".

    Knowledge of these statistics, and of what is now happening to New York midwives, makes Julie Jacobowitz-Kelly see red. She is one of Schwarzschild's clients and is preparing to give birth to her first child, a boy she and her partner have already named Benjamin, whose due date fell today.

    She said the current illegal status of the home birth midwives was "a travesty, it's absolutely ridiculous. It angers me that experienced midwives like Miriam are in jeopardy."

    That is a view shared by some senior New York politicians, including Scott Stringer, Manhattan borough president. "There are 600 women who are going to give birth in the next year who want midwives with them at home, and to take away their rights and choices is so backwards it's embarrassing," he said.

    Midwifery organisations are scrambling to persuade other hospitals to take over St Vincent's role by signing the so-called "written practice agreements" the midwives need to be legal. So far 75 hospitals have been approached; not one has replied.

    Meanwhile, a bill is sitting before the New York state assembly that would scrap the system of practice agreements and allow the midwives to offer their services free of the control of obstetricians. But the bill may not be put to a vote at all this year.

    "At the end of the day, hospitals are for sick people, and I'm not sick," said Jacobowitz-Kelly. "I'm going through one of the most natural processes women can go through, so why do it anywhere other than the most natural setting — my home."
    Makes me wonder if they delivered the babies while riding public forms of transit if that might be some loop-hole in the law?

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    Am a re-posting this comment from another message board in regards to the law in the article above because it provides a testimonial about the law in effect:

    IKSDoomsday Says:

    May 15th, 2010 at 2:42 pm
    I have a wonderful story about having a baby at home…in NAZI RUN NEW YORK. My wife and myself wanted to deliver our child at home as this was going to be our 5th child. We planned the entire operation. Bought a new pool for her to birth in and set aside all the tools needed in order to bring our boy in to the world in the most natural way. On 5/5/2009 my wife entered full labor and within 3 hours we delivered a very healthy 8lb baby boy in a warm water pool. It was my job to hold both the video camera and digital lol. My other children were allowed to witness the event as well. All was fine no mid-wife (however I do have medical training) was involved. My boy pinked right up and was in good spirits. Since there was no drugs involved my wife was up and moving around withing minutes…already trying to clean up…lol. Anyway everything went great and we worked together as a family to deliver our new child. He was healthy and we were all happy. That is until my own mother called CPS to let them know that we did the above explained. CPS came to my home within days. The CPS worker explained that we were required to go to the hospital at once or we would be put under investigation for neglect/abuse of our newborn. My wife and myself both stood our ground and said no where is there a law that a baby must be seen by a doctor as he was in perfect health. She continued to tell us that it was required that he receive a heal prick so that his blood type (and dna) could be placed in records and to check for any STD’S we explained that we are together in a loving relationship and we do not carry any STD’S so we should not be forced. I recieved a letter days later saying that we were under investigation for abuse/neglect and that if we did not take our child to the hospital my child may be placed under supervision of the state. We were forced so we did take our boy to the hospital where they confirmed that he was in perfect health.
    CPS was not satisfied so the case worker (NAZI) then began to harass my family again about a birth certificate (has to be done by 1 year old I agree with it was not fighting it) However since we were dumb according to CPS and had our child at home we would be required to take a DNA test to prove that it was our child ($500.00) I explained that we only have to have the certifcate by 1 year old….however CPS stated that since we were under investigation if we did not get it done right away they would once again have to take measures to ”protect” my child. Well we were planning a move so we made it….out of the state of NAZI YORK and left the CPS worker in the dust. My boy recently turned 1 year old and has his birth certificate and we did it in our own time…he is not immunized and we do not plan on it. There is so much more to this story but I do not have time to write it all…all I would like to point out is the fact that both the Federal and State gov is treating us like we are cattle…we must birth in our pens or face the CPS Nazi….we need to fight this system…………………….Be careful in Syracuse NY….they are out to get home birth mothers and fathers.

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    The collapse of New York's legal home birth midwifery services has come as a result of the closure two weeks ago of one of the most progressive hospitals in the city, St Vincent's in Manhattan. When the bankrupt hospital shut its doors on 30 April the midwives suddenly found themselves without any backing or support.
    The reason St. Vincent's closed was because of the costs of providing care to uninsured immigrants, many illegal.

    The crisis of home birth in New York city is an extreme example of a pattern found across America. Fewer than 1% of babies are born at home in the US, and in New York that figure is as low as 0.48% — about 600 babies every year out of 125,000. That compares with a rate of about 30% in the Netherlands.
    It wasn't that long ago that home births were normal in the US. Both of my parents were born at home. In my father's case there was no local hospital (rural county) but my mother was born in a city of 40,000. WWII seems to have been a tipping point towards giving birth in a hospital, to the point that not wanting to give birth in a hospital is considered a form of child abuse, an irony since aborting the same child would be considered a constitutional, right.

    As it currently is, when women do give birth in a hospital they and the child are normally discharged within 24-hours if there are no complications. I think it is the HMOs & the insurance companies underwriting the liability insurance that dictate the policy of hospital births.

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    Æmeric wrote:
    I think it is the HMOs & the insurance companies underwriting the liability insurance that dictate the policy of hospital births.
    Æmeric,
    Underwriters write both midwiferies and hospitals (I wonder which has higher malpractice premiums and legal occurances?). My insurance company, the second largest of it's kind, doesn't care where a child is are born. It pays midwives as well as doctors so long as I pay my 20% co-pay. Our Alaska state assistance program, Denali Kid Care, pays midwives and doctors and sometimes both for the same birth if there are complications. So I must respectfully disagree with that small part of your post.

    It is my suspicion that this has more to do with the worry that some kid might "slip thru the cracks" and not be branded with a social security number and birth certificate. Cradle to the grave control must be their aim, imo.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zimobog View Post
    It is my suspicion that this has more to do with the worry that some kid might "slip thru the cracks" and not be branded with a social security number and birth certificate. Cradle to the grave control must be their aim, imo.
    Could be. Issuing social security numbers to infants started about 25-years ago. I didn't get a social security number until I entered the labor market at 16. Now you basically need to get one for everyone, regardless of age, to claim them as a dependent on tax forms.

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    IMO we need to work (slowly of course, as it isn't completely practical) toward becoming self-reliant enough that it is no longer necessary for any child to have a social security card, health insurance, or hospitals for that matter. Our ancestors were able to make it through thousands of years without any of these. Maybe hospitals are needed for those with serious health problems, but this system of cataloging dna records, finger prints, blood types, birth certificates and social security cards is becoming too fascistic for my tastes. If they can legislate how to naturally birth a child, what's next?

    Also, on the abortion front, it really is sickening that you can kill a child as a constitutional right, but bringing one to life is becoming illegal.

    We must rise against this tyranny and all such tyrannies as soon as we catch wind of them.

    Hail Odin and cheers.

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