Monday, August 6, 2007

Letter to the Editor

This is a letter to the editor that I wrote regarding the midwifery situation in Missouri and my friends and I sent to several newspapers. It was published in at least two--the Rolla Daily News and the Salem News.

Why would a normal, healthy American woman want to travel to Singapore to have her baby? Because, according to the CIA, her baby is almost three times less likely to die in Singapore than in the U.S ( Yes, according to the Central Intelligence Agency of our own federal government (who doesn’t have a specific interest in pregnancy, birth, or midwifery), our country comes in number FORTY-THREE when it comes to infant mortality. This is in spite of the fact that Singapore:

· Doesn’t have better technology.

· Doesn’t spend as much per capita on pregnancy and childbirth.

· Doesn’t have better doctors or hospitals.

What Singapore and the other countries who rank in the top five (Sweden, Hong Kong, Japan & Iceland), do is:

  • Utilize more midwives.
  • Follow the midwifery model of care as standard practice.
  • Integrate midwives into the healthcare network.
  • Have more out-of-hospital births.
  • Have better birth outcomes for babies.

The recent lawsuit against the state of Missouri by the Missouri State Medical Association in regard to the midwifery legislation passed in May claims to advocate on behalf of women’s health and safety during childbirth and yet their determination to declare Missouri midwives criminals is in direct opposition to the recommendations of both the World Health Organization (WHO) and the American Public Health Association (APHA). The recommendations of these well respected organizations include midwives as the principal providers of care for pregnant women and increased access to out-of-hospital maternity care services.

Yes, we chose homebirth in order to have empowering and triumphant birth experiences. We also chose homebirth because we care about the health and safety of our babies. By choosing homebirth and midwifery care, we protected our babies from hospital acquired infections (the fourth largest killer in the United States, causing as many deaths as AIDS, breast cancer, and auto accidents combined. Centers for Disease Control, We also protected our babies and ourselves from a myriad of other routinely performed hospital interventions that are contraindicated by medical research to be safe or effective for mothers and babies.

Let’s face it, for the Missouri State Medical Association this is about politics and big business. Their expressed concern about our access to midwifery care is not about the safety of mothers and babies.

So, why don’t we just move to Singapore? Because we love the United States and the many freedoms it proudly holds strong. America is the home of the free and was built on the tenants of personal freedom. Families in Missouri should be free to choose midwives, to have their babies in their homes if they desire, and to have access to safe, respectful maternity care services. We love our country and our wonderful state and we believe that Missouri can do better for the wonderful mothers and beautiful babies who are born and live here.

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