Yesterday I was at the premiere of the wonderful and much-needed new documentary Freedom for Birth. The film is about the abuse of human rights inflicted on childbearing women around the world. It featured interviews from a number of high-profile professionals in the birth field (Ina May Gaskin, Michael Odent, Sheila Kitzinger–who, might I add, is old and adorable). It revolves around the disturbing story of midwife/obstetrician Agnes Gereb, who was arrested in Hungary and jailed for years without any evidence for the accusations against her.
Here in Maryland, there is a CPM on trial for practicing without a license (CPMs can’t practice here, though we’re working on it). They are trying to convict her of practicing medicine without a license, which is ludicrous because midwifery is not medicine (they don’t deal with illness) and it is legally considered an advanced form of nursing here. Yes, it is a witch hunt.
Just reading this old article about the NJ case makes me feel like digging my eyeballs out with a spoon. Did this really happen? Creepily, yes, in 2006 and not far from where I live. I could die. The more I read about hospital birth, the more determined I am to stay home.
After the Agnes Gereb disaster, the European Human Rights Court came out with an addition to their laws affirming that women had the right to birth their babies however they wanted no matter what the situation. (Ternovsky vs. Hungary) This of course includes breech presentation!
We need this in the United States so badly. Enough fear-mongering on the part of the obstetric institution. Thank God for hospitals and c-sections and yes, for obstetricians, for sometimes we do need them. But enough! Enough already of the punishment and threats and falsifying. Enough persecution and insensitive treatment of two people at such a time. Let women birth their babies how, where, and with whom they may, according to the dictates of their own conscience.
JOIN THE REVOLUTION!