Happy Independence Day! How blessed we are to live in this free and great country!
I am also a homeschooling mom and this week’s lessons have included lessons about what it means to be a Patriot and famous patriots during the American Revolution. I suppose, one may even consider me a patriot when reading yesterday’s blog and now today’s. I taught my kids that a patriot is someone who loves their country very much and defends and protects it. I do love my country and I love our rights and freedoms as citizens of America. This Independence Day (and many other days throughout the year), I am hoping to cause you to think about one question: How free are pregnant and birthing moms in America?
In my blog yesterday, I discussed the language that care providers use with pregnant and birthing women, the (false) belief that providers have authority over their patients, and encouraged moms to exercise their right of informed consent and refusal and to truly understand what it means to be a consumer of maternity care. Today, I want to bring awareness to something I believe is a right that every woman should have, but many do not: The right to choose where and with whom she gives birth.
In Nebraska, where I was born and raised and lived most of my life until our recent move to Texas, it is a felony for a licensed care provider to attend a birth at home. It is not illegal for a woman to give birth at home, but the state has taken away her ability to have an educated, trained, licensed professional there to care for and support her while she does so. Nebraska is one of only two states that has such restrictions on home birth (Alabama is the other).In many other states, although it is legal for midwives to attend homebirths it is illegal for them to attend the birth of a woman planning a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) or a mom welcoming twins whether at home, in a birth center, or in a hospital.
Such restrictions are meant to keep moms and babies safe. But, they are infringing on women’s rights and there is no evidence that they are improving outcomes. I don’t care the intentions behind it, it is not OK to legislate and restrict where and with whom women are “allowed” to welcome their babies into the world. I want to encourage everyone to get involved with legislative efforts in your communities to increase access to out of hospital maternity care and birth. The medical community strongly opposes most efforts and they hold much of the money, therefore the power, so it will take a lot of families to stand up against it. Even if you are done having babies, or you have no interest in an out of hospital birth, I hope you recognize how important it is for this to be a safe, viable option for those that want it and will support it. When we all work together, we can do big things.
Amber Piller - Professional Birth Doula and owner of Agape Birth Services. Serving Northwest Houston including Jersey Village, Cypress, Tomball, Spring, and Katy Texas.