It summarizes the state of midwifery in the United States from a non-midwife. It is a wonderful reference. They point out which states are like Utah, which require no licensing whatsoever in order to attend births. Thank you Safer Midwifery Michigan!
Here is a handy chart to show that anti-vaccine parents, encouraged by home birth midwives, have led to a historic increase in measles in the united states. It is no surprise that the Utah outbreak, which primarily affects unvaccinated people, has its origins in Orem, the home of the largest Utah out-of-hospital birth center.
If you are reading this and have not gotten an MMR vaccine for you children yet- please reconsider. Your decision affects people who cannot obtain vaccines for various reasons, and the public at large. Forbes magazine is even discussing the possibility of suing parents who pass vaccine preventable diseases onto other humans. Be careful.
I support the choice of mothers to give birth where and how ever they want.
However, that doesn’t mean I think every birth choice should be endorsed by the state, either. There is a victim in poorly made birth choices, and that victim is almost always a baby. Babies deserve legislative protection to make the birth providers that facilitate dangerous practices accountable for their actions. Reckless home birth midwives are the ones who profit from spreading the fiction that home birth, water birth, etc is as safe (or safer) than hospital birth. They are the ones with everything to gain and nothing to lose, and that is why legislation should be aimed at controlling their actions rather than the parents who were duped into hiring an incompetent provider. Indeed parents should be able to choose what happens to their bodies and when, but that does not mean it is moral to legally allow a profession to flourish to facilitate poorly made decisions.
Right now any charlatan can call themselves a midwife and boast any safety record they want- there is no way for you to know if they are lying. Even if your midwife is licensed, you would have to trust that any negligence on their part was actually reported to DOPL. There are protocols in place that demand reporting adverse events in hospital births, and there are no such safeguards in home birth or out of hospital births. Home birth midwives who lose babies that could have otherwise been saved are very good at convincing clients (and seemingly, themselves) that the death was not preventable. They don’t have the clinical training to actually know if that is true or not most of the time. It is worth noting that I have never, not once, seen a home birth midwife admit that a baby that died in their care could have lived had they been born in a hospital. This is true even when the baby dies because the time between home and hospital was too long for the baby to endure. They won’t admit wrong and I’ve certainly never seen a home birth midwife that stopped practicing after a preventable death, unless the court ordered them to stop (like with Valerie El Halta and Gloria LeMay).
If your midwife loses her license because she hurt people through negligence, guess what? She can just keep on practicing as an unlicensed midwife. She can change her name if needed, and keep doing what she wants to, with full support from the midwifery community. You would never know.
The lack of legislation in Utah will be a victim of its own popularity; eventually enough women and children will be injured by the system that it will need to be changed. My goal at Safer Midwifery Utah is to bring about change before any more tragedies happen. It should be harder to legally practice as a midwife than it is to legally drive a car, but right now that is not the case. Please reference the side bar for more information.
Originally posted on fox13now.com:
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In the early 1900s, nearly all Utah babies were born at home. By 1969, only 1 percent of mothers were doing home births as more went to hospitals to deliver their babies.
The trend is shifting again, experts say.
Lois Bloebaum from the Utah Department of Health and Heather Johnston, a midwife, were in studio Tuesday to discuss a study that showed the change in numbers.
Watch the video above to see the full interview.
Vickie Sorensen, a midwife charged with negligently killing a baby, is going to trial.
I have seen people die when I worked in health care. I saw the deep sadness that surrounded those cases, as well as the institutional review systems in place that were meant to analyze what could be done differently next time. Home birth midwifery seems to lack both of those things. Providers who are under review after a death rarely feel persecuted because they know the gravity of the situation and would rather be held responsible. This is what we see from midwives, time after time:
People familiar with the reported facts of the case would find it to be totally preposterous to dismiss these charges. Vickie instead feels entitled to a dismissal on the grounds of “common sense”.
None of this has stopped Vickie from delivering babies, by the way. That is because there is nothing in place to stop anyone from delivering babies in the state, even the serially negligent or incompetent. All they have to do is brand themselves a midwife, and legally they are one. It seems like if a midwife is being charged with reckless endangerment and manslaughter in relation to her practice, she should be monitored or sanctioned somehow until the justice system has determined innocence or guilt. This reminds me very much of the Josh Powell case, there was nothing in place to prevent him from visiting his children despite being the prime suspect in the murder of their mother. That lack of legislation cost lives, just like the lack of legislation of midwives in Utah has cost lives. No one involved with the Direct Entry Midwifery Practice Act is willing to be accountable for the lives lost. Not only do they not feel responsible, they don’t even feel sorry.
I am currently being threatened with legal action unless I hand over my blogs to a midwife’s attorney, they are demanding that I agree to never speak of them negatively again. They have never actually told me what was wrong on my website (as I am eager to correct any errors), or why they would need access to ex home birthers. They are threatened by someone pointing out the truth about direct entry midwifery in the state of Utah.
I will not be bullied into silence. I have the first amendment right to talk about my political beliefs and to lobby for changes to the law in my state. I’m willing to fight this as long as necessary to let parents in Utah know that there are more legal requirements for driving a car than calling yourself a midwife and delivering babies.
If anything goes down I will be contacting Ken White of Popehat, who has been extremely effective at finding pro-bono help for bloggers who have been sued to try and curtail freedom of speech. I’m prepared for whatever happens.
I read a great article written by Dr. Michael Flanagan, addressing Alabama’s proposed legalizing of direct entry midwifery. He makes several concise arguments about why lay midwives are not adequate birth attendants in emergency situations.
Complications of labor can include, but are not limited to, a baby getting stuck in the birth canal, tangling of the umbilical cord around the baby’s neck, bleeding, infection, or even unexpected immaturity of the newborn’s lungs. These dangers are possible even in the most state-of-the-art facility, but at least the infant and mother have the best possible chance of survival. I have personally participated in urgent and emergent care that required quick decisions by the physicians and nurses to save the life of the unborn child and mother. The same cannot be said for a birth that is planned for the home and attended by a lay midwife. Instead, you will have a well-meaning, but woefully undertrained and underprepared individual and a false sense of security for the parents. When a planned home birth takes a turn for the worse, the time spent in an ambulance ride to the ER can mean the difference between life and death.
Dr Flanagan is talking about births that just unexpectedly go wrong, and the problems associated with that. He cannot even begin to understand the negligence associated with unlicensed home birth practitioners, they take high risk pregnancies if there is no oversight preventing it. Home birth midwives in Utah, for instance, regularly attend breech births, vbacs, and twin births (or shockingly, a combination of the above risk factors). There have been fatal results. Dr Flanagan continues:
There will always be babies born spontaneously in elevators, taxi cabs and parking lots. Most of these deliveries will likely be fine, given the law of averages.
This is true, and this is exactly why midwives can claim their practices are safe. Midwives also deliver far fewer babies per year than a obstetrician or a nurse midwife working in a maternity unit, and so they can claim to have worked for many years without a death, or they can choose to see the deaths they have attended as unavoidable because of their ignorance of obstetric interventions. They scoff at the idea that they have attended so many non-lethal births out of sheer luck, but its the absolute truth. Midwives take credit for good outcomes and deny responsibility for bad outcomes- its an abhorrent model of patient care. Dr Flanagan continues:
However, if the State of Alabama passes a law legalizing lay midwifery, it sends a message to the public that this practice is safe. This idea could not be farther from the truth.
I cannot speak for other states that have unfortunately legalized this dangerous practice. Perhaps no one spoke up against it.
Plenty of people speak up against it. Several physicians have spoken to me about the danger of home birth midwifery, the disasters they encounter at their work because of incompetence. A legislator in Utah told me in confidence that they believe most of the legislators in our state would rather not have home birth midwifery allowed legally, but the midwives are very organized and have friends in high places. They are willing to pour as much money as needed into their cause to make it happen- after all, if the practice is outlawed, they are out of a job (or risk prison). They have much more to lose than the average citizen (who will not choose home birth), so they understandably put more effort towards keeping their job legal. Midwives have a weird habit of teaching classes on activism as part of required courses in their midwifery school. They know they desperately need unity to keep the sham going because home birth midwifery cannot stand on its own merits.
If anyone from Alabama is reading this- please, please contact your representative and tell them that you don’t want the state to endorse this practice. If citizens of Alabama fail to stop this action you will be in the same position as Utah’s citizens- watching helplessly as tragedy after tragedy unfolds before our eyes, fighting against a status quo of legal unlicensed midwives practicing without any oversight or required training. Every community values its children, and this is a very serious threat to their well being.