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Navelgazing Midwife on the AMA Home Birth Resolution

June 22, 2008

While I may disagree with her on some of the finer points, Navelgazing Midwife has a reaction to the AMA resolution (and ACOG position) to “support state legislation that… acknowled[es] the concept that the safest setting for labor, delivery and the immediate post-partum period is in the hospital, or a birthing center within a hospital complex,” which we assume means support for legislation that would make it more difficult for women to legally obtain home birth assistance. I think her piece is well worth a read. [Note: If you’re at work and don’t want naked boobies on your screen, wait until later to click on that link.]

In my initial post on the topic, I stated that the resolution “doesn’t do anything to address the reasons why some women choose home birth in the first place” – Navelgazing Midwife discusses precisely this point, asking physicians to “accept that as long as the System remains the way it is, women will continue having home and unassisted births.”

This is an important point, I think. Again, I find it highly unlikely that women themselves would be criminalized for choosing to give birth outside of hospitals or birth centers. Assuming AMA isn’t going to support legislation to incentivize hospital/center birth or encourage it in the more positive sense, that leaves criminalizing providers for attending home births. Much like abortion, women will continue to make this choice for various and personal reasons – the question remains whether they will be able to make it with accountable providers or in an unaccountable underground.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. June 23, 2008 6:25 am

    I haven’t read Navelgazing Midwife’s post on this but I did want to comment on your thought that you don’t think that women themselves would be criminilized for having a home birth. I do agree that home birth providers would most certainly be persecuted, but I can imagine that in areas that have strong MD influence against homebirth that it is very possible the mothers could be charged with endangering a child. Remember mothers who are addicts are arrested for child abuse in some states…I don’t see home birth mothers being much different in the eyes of such groups. Their whole argument is that homebirth puts the child’s and mother’s life at great risk.

    Frankly, the whole thing pisses me off for so many reasons that I have yet been able to make any intelligent posts about it myself.

  2. June 23, 2008 6:35 am

    Labor Nurse, you have a point. I was thinking of recent discussions about abortion in which opponents have said doctors should be criminalized, but wouldn’t go so far as to say the women themselves should go to jail. I’m no supporter of the jail approach to pregnant drug addicts (or the “drug war” in general), and unfortunately for women I think those who do support that approach are working from some assumptions about race, class, drugs, and childbearing that they may not find applicable in their stereotypes to all pregnant women. Then again, police in West Virginia did investigate what turned out to be a miscarriage.

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