Saturday, June 21, 2008

Hubris: A Master Class

The American Medical Association (AMA) recently issued a resolution that clearly shows their intent to legislate women out of home birth. The resolution reads, in part,

"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)"

and can be found here (click on Resolution 205)

Earlier this year, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) issued a "Statement on Home Births" that reads, in part,

"The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) reiterates its long-standing opposition to home births. While childbirth is a normal physiologic process that most women experience without problems, monitoring of both the woman and the fetus during labor and delivery in a hospital or accredited birthing center is essential because complications can arise with little or no warning even among women with low-risk pregnancies.
ACOG acknowledges a woman's right to make informed decisions regarding her delivery and to have a choice in choosing her health care provider, but ACOG does not support programs that advocate for, or individuals who provide, home births. Nor does ACOG support the provision of care by midwives who are not certified by the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM) or the American Midwifery Certification Board (AMCB). "

I can (theoretically) understand obstetric and other medical organizations not being fully supportive of home birth. Could you imagine the blow to hospital revenue if even 50% of low-risk women chose home birth with a midwife as opposed to hospital birth with an OB?

What is absolutely outrageous to me is the hubris of these organizations! In their statement, ACOG says that they "acknowledge a woman's right to make informed decisions regarding her delivery and to have a choice in choosing her health care provider". Apparently, though, part of our "right to make informed decisions" does *not* include the right to choose home birth with a midwife.

BRAVO, AMA and ACOG for so condescendingly joining "Big Brother" and "Father Knows Best" !

I've heard so many women say, "they'll never do that" or "that will never happen" (passing legislation making home birth illegal). Don't you see, though, that it IS happening? These powerful organizations are joining forces and if they try hard enough, and women continue to sit on their "they'll never do it" duffs, it's GOING to happen.

I don't agree with "hospital birth for the masses", but I believe in the right to choose. Even if you don't think home birth is right for you, don't you agree that each mother should be free to choose for herself?

Two things I would ask that you consider doing are:

1. Contact your representative

2. Write to ACOG Government Relations at
Government Relations Staff
Mailing Address:
PO Box 96920
Washington, DC 20090-6920