I'm coming late to the party, but I've definitely arrived. You may have heard about this already, but if not, a huge wave just rippled through the birthing world with the AMA's (American Medical Association) recent resolution to support ACOG and attempt to outlaw homebirth:
Whereas, Twenty-one states currently license midwives to attend home births, all using the certified professional midwife (CPM) credential (CPM or “lay” midwives), not the certified midwives (CM) credential which both the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and American College of Nurse Midwives (ACNM) recognize ; and
Whereas, There has been much attention in the media by celebrities having home deliveries, with recent Today Show headings such as “Ricki Lake takes on baby birthing industry: Actress and former talk show host shares her at-home delivery in new film” ; and
Whereas, An apparently uncomplicated pregnancy or delivery can quickly become very complicated in the setting of maternal hemorrhage, shoulder dystocia, eclampsia or other obstetric emergencies, necessitating the need for rigorous standards, appropriate oversight of obstetric providers, and the availability of emergency care, for the health of both the mother and the baby during a delivery; therefore be it
RESOLVED, That our American Medical Association support the recent American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) statement 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, that meets standards jointly outlined by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and ACOG, or in a freestanding birthing center that meets the standards of the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care, The Joint Commission, or the American Association of Birth Centers” (New HOD Policy); and be it further
RESOLVED, That our AMA develop model legislation in support of 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, that meets standards jointly outlined by the AAP and ACOG, or in a freestanding birthing center that meets the standards of the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care, The Joint Commission, or the American Association of Birth Centers.” (Directive to Take Action)
Oh yes they did!
While this may seem a ludicrous and asinine attempt (which it indeed is), it was the best move they could have made (for us).
Effectively, ACOG and the AMA just took the issue of homebirth out of the medical realm and shoved it right into a civil rights issue. Namely, the question they've raised is:
Not according to the AMA. Their resolution clearly insinuates that women should not be able to have a choice when it comes to giving birth. Or, more correctly, only a choice pre-approved by the AMA.
This is actually such a positive move for homebirth - their misguided attempts have now thrust this issue in front of many women's rights groups which will now stand up and take notice of the issue. While homebirth may not have been on their agenda, a woman's right to choose anything and everything to do with her own health, safety and bodily integrity certainly is.
And the AMA's resolution is an attack of all those rights. Instead, they'd rather pat us on the head like unruly children and say "there, there, father knows best, he'll take care of you".
Now, homebirth is not for everyone. But the choice, the choice to homebirth, should be available to anyone. Period.
Where does the AMA and ACOG's reign stop if not here? What rights are you willing to relinquish next? The right to see the doctor of your choosing, or only one who belongs to the AMA? The right to decide where and when to see a doctor, or mandatory appointments and procedures, "for your own good"?
If you truly don't see the hidden message here and the slippery slope it is, please open your eyes to the truth. IF our best interest were truly at heart, then the AMA would be committed to supporting the research and banishing the non-evidenced based procedures which reign supreme in obstetric care, including episiotomy, lithotomy position, unchecked labor augmentation, contraindicated drugs for induction, to name a brief few.
The AMA and ACOG have inspired me to make my own resolution:
Whereas, The decree from the AMA and ACOG is an attempt by our patriarchal society to dictate women's actions, rather than acknowledging their capability to make their own healthcare decisions, especially with respect to bodily integrity; and
Whereas, This position is based on feelings, fear, and finances, not facts. There is no scientific evidence to support the AMA and ACOG's stance against homebirth and a wealth of evidence to support that a midwifery model of care is safer and more cost effective than the "active management" currently utilized by physicians in hospitals. Furthermore, all industrialized nations which support a midwifery model of care, including the UK, have better birth outcomes than the US, including lower rates of intervention, infant mortality and are more cost effective than our broken system. In fact, these nations are choosing to expand women's access to homebirth; and
Whereas, As the women who are giving birth, it is our body and our right to choose where to give birth, not to have that choice dictated to us "for our own good"; therefore be it
RESOLVED, That Catherine Beier supports the evidence-based concept that the safest setting for labor, delivery, and the immediate post-partum period is in the home for low-risk women with a skilled birth attendant present; and be it further
RESOLVED, That Catherine Beier is committed to upholding a woman's right and autonomy to make her own healthcare decisions, whatever they may be; and be it further
RESOLVED, That Catherine Beier, her daughters, and her daughter's daughters will give birth in the home so long as they be low-risk, be it legal or otherwise. (Directive to Take Action)
If you want to retain your right to make decisions about your own healthcare and bodily integrity, then show your support of women's rights by signing the Keep Homebirth Legal petition.
My signature is #291. What number is yours?