freedom of choice for birthing mothers

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.

midwives don’t mind breaking the law- and Holly Richardson knows that

I was alerted to a NARM article featuring a prominent Utah Midwife (Suzanne Smith, LDEM) around the time the Direct Entry Midwifery Act went through (the article is from 2004, the law went through in 2005). It has some interesting insight into what prominent members of Utah’s midwifery community thinks about the law (in a general sense).

One thing is abundantly clear- home birth midwives will practice regardless of if they are legally allowed to do so. They have no problem with breaking the law, they just hope to make the law less pesky for their businesses:

“I remember the day I first discovered just how illegal I was. My heart sank. I panicked. I was sick, and scared. I went to work on solving the problem through legislation”

She did not consider quitting until her profession was legal, despite having worked as a computer programmer for years before then and having many more opportunities for employment than an unskilled laborer or non-college graduate would. I am also astounded by the sheer stupidity of establishing a midwifery practice before looking into if it was actually legal to operate the business to begin with. It seems like one’s attraction to the profession of non-nurse midwifery might be inversely related to IQ, if this blog is any indication.

Here is another choice quote on why she wanted the Direct Entry Midwifery Act to pass (besides keeping her out of prison):

“For me, the only reason to have regulation is to make it legal to use medications. If I didn’t need that, I would prefer legality without regulation. I’m really happy that under our bill, midwives in our state will be able to choose that.

Read that again- the ONLY reason to have regulation is so she can use medications. The ONLY reason. Federal law prohibits the use of medications by unlicensed medical workers. The regulation in Utah exists for ease of practice for midwives! Not for the safety of mothers or babies or to hold negligent midwives accountable- these are the reasons normal people believe in regulating birth attendants. Midwives think that there should not be any rules those who attend births. Contrast this with the lies Holly Richardson (republican candidate for the state house of representatives in Pleasant Grove) left on my blog- telling me that I don’t understand their bill, and that there are “consequences- including criminal” for midwives acting outside their scope. 

Don’t be mistaken either- Holly Richardson was directly involved with Suzanne Smith and the push to pass a bill that does not hold midwives accountable, even when they are negligent. Here is a quote about it in the article:

“My partner Holly Richard is a gift and a joy. Without midwifery, we’d never even have met.”

Are they still partners now that this deadly bill has cost a baby their life? Its hard to say. No one in the midwifery community thinks that the law needs to change- or at least no one has stepped forward yet to say that they believe the state of midwifery in Utah is dangerous.

Does this also mean Holly Richardson illegally practiced as a midwife, since this article was before midwifery was made legal in 2005? According to this article, yes (since KSL lists her as a midwife “of 14 years” as of 2012). She got her bachelors degree in midwifery before the practice act was introduced. She also trained other midwives at the Midwives College of Utah before the profession was legal, so at a minimum she assisted other women in illegally practicing as midwives. Why is this woman qualified to determine legislation when she has a demonstrated, repeated disrespect for the law in the first place? 

 

Tell Holly Richardson you think Utahan babies and mothers deserve better. They deserve a skilled birth attendant that will be accountable if they make a mistake. Tell her you don’t think its right to let unlicensed midwives practice dangerously with the approval of the state.