Resolution Against Home Birth Met with Hostility

July 16, 2008 02:41 PM
by Josh Katz
The American Medical Association has declared its support for legislation to potentially ban home births, igniting debate over safety and women’s rights.

30-Second Summary

The American Medical Association (AMA) said it would back legislation proposed by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists’ (ACOG). Resolution 205, as it is called, stresses the dangers associated with at-home births, which account for about 1 percent of U.S. births.

“Choosing to deliver a baby at home … is to place the process of giving birth over the goal of having a healthy baby,” the ACOG says.

Many now worry that the resolution could result in legislation making home births illegal, and they call it an affront to the autonomy of women. The American College of Nurse-Midwives also released a statement defending home births and citing a British Medical Journal study indicating that hospital and home births are equally as safe.

Hospitals have had safety problems of their own of late. For example, findingDulcinea reported on how the influx of inexperienced interns each summer makes July a particularly dangerous month for patients, and earlier this month, a survey indicated that many hospital workers’ lax hygiene has contributed to the spread of “superbugs” like MRSA.

Additionally, some worry how the AMA’s statement will affect insurance companies: Dr. Stuart Fischbein of California says it “will cause insurance carriers to refuse to support doctors who oversee midwives.”

Julie Deardorff of the “Julie’s Health Club” Chicago Tribune blog, fears that legislation could be detrimental to women’s rights. She also criticizes a hospital culture where so many women are receiving Cesarean sections and use labor-inducing drugs.

Headline Link: ‘Are Home Births Dangerous?’

Background: ‘The Business of Being Born’

Opinion & Analysis: Home versus hospital births

Related Topics: More C-sections worldwide; hospital dangers

Reference: Home birth


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