Posts tagged feministing

State ownership of the means of reproduction. (#2)

(Via Miriam @ feministing 2008-06-18, via Feminist in Pink 2008-06-22.)

Here is the latest proposal from the American Medical Association, to have the government insist that every birth is properly institutionalized, so that they can make sure every birth leads to a fat and healthy hospital bill, with a proper Birth Guild-certified Expert looking over every midwife’s shoulder and between every expectant mother’s legs. And if the expectant mother doesn’t want that kind of a birth, well, she’d better learn to want it—or else.

  • Whereas, Twenty-one states currently license midwives to attend home births, all using the certified professional midwife (CPM) credential (CPM or lay midwives), not the certified midwives (CM) credential which both the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and American College of Nurse Midwives (ACNM) recognize; and

  • Whereas, There has been much attention in the media by celebrities having home deliveries, with recent Today Show headings such as Ricki Lake takes on baby birthing industry: Actress and former talk show host shares her at-home delivery in new film; and

  • Whereas, An apparently uncomplicated pregnancy or delivery can quickly become very complicated in the setting of maternal hemorrhage, shoulder dystocia, eclampsia or other obstetric emergencies, necessitating the need for rigorous standards, appropriate oversight of obstetric providers, and the availability of emergency care, for the health of both the mother and the baby during a delivery; therefore be it

  • RESOLVED, That our American Medical Association support the recent American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) statement that the safest setting for labor, delivery, and the immediate post-partum period is in the hospital, or a birthing center within a hospital complex, that meets standards jointly outlined by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and ACOG, or in a freestanding birthing center that meets the standards of the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care, The Joint Commission, or the American Association of Birth Centers (New HOD Policy); and be it further

  • RESOLVED, That our AMA develop model legislation in support of the concept that the safest setting for labor, delivery, and the immediate post-partum period is in the hospital, or a birthing center within a hospital complex, … (Directive to Take Action)

— American Medical Association, Resolution 205: Home Deliveries

Note especially the second Whereas; the AMA has, more or less explicitly, called for government force against home-birthing mothers because recent cultural trends suggest that women might be persuaded to choose otherwise if allowed to choose freely. The birth freedom group The Big Push for Midwives has this to say:

WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 16, 2008) — Just in time for Father’s Day, at its annual meeting last weekend, the American Medical Association (AMA) adopted a resolution to introduce legislation outlawing home birth, and potentially making criminals of the mothers who choose home birth with the help of Certified Professional Midwives (CPMs) for their families.

It’s unclear what penalties the AMA will seek to impose on women who choose to give birth at home, either for religious, cultural or financial reasons—or just because they didn’t make it to the hospital in time, said Susan Jenkins, Legal Counsel for The Big Push for Midwives 2008 campaign. What we do know, however, is that any state that enacts such a law will immediately find itself in court, since a law dictating where a woman must give birth would be a clear violation of fundamental rights to privacy and other freedoms currently protected by the U.S. Constitution.

Until the AMA proposed Resolution 205 on Home Deliveries, no state had considered legislation forcing women to deliver their babies in the hospital or limiting the choice of birth setting. Instead, states have regulated the types of midwives that may legally provide care. Currently, 22 states already license and regulate CPMs, who specialize in out-of-hospital maternity care and have received extensive training to qualify as experts in the types of risk assessment and preventive care necessary for safe and high-quality care for women who choose give birth at home. Certified Nurse Midwives (CNMs), who are trained primarily as hospital-based providers, are licensed in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

The resolution did not offer any science-based information for the AMA’s anti-midwife or anti-home birth position.

Maternity care is a multi-billion dollar industry in the United States, said Steff Hedenkamp, Communications Coordinator for The Big Push for Midwives. So it’s no surprise to see the AMA join the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists in its ongoing fight to corner the market and ensure that the only midwives able to practice legally are hospital-based midwives forced to practice under physician control. I will say, though, that I’m shocked to learn that the AMA is taking this turf battle to the next level by setting the stage for outlawing home birth itself—a direct attack on those families who choose home birth, who could be subject to criminal prosecution if the AMA has its way.

— Press release, The Big Push for Midwives (2008-06-16): Father Knows Best Meets Big Brother Is Watching: Physician Group Seeks to Outlaw Home Birth—Is Jail for Moms Next?

For what it’s worth, I suppose it’s true that if the emanations and penumbras of the Bill of Rights provide for a right of privacy from government interference in adult women’s decisions to use contraception or abort a first-trimester pregnancy, they probably also provide for a right of privacy from government interference in where a woman chooses to give birth. And if a state should pass any of the AMA’s contemptible model legislation and somebody takes up the issue in federal court, I hope that they’ll win.

But setting aside the politico-legal maneuvering for the moment, should anyone really even care what the Constitution says about it? If the Constitution does authorize this kind of tyrannical state intervention in women’s reproductive choices, then to hell with the Constitution. The important argument here is the moral one, about what simple justice demands. And taken from the standpoint of simple justice for women, it is absurd that I should even have to sit here and type out, in so many words, that a birth experience rightly belongs to the woman who labors on it—not to the AMA, not to a hospital, and not to the State.

Of course it does. Christ. To hell with any know-it-all blowhard busybody, with any association of know-it-all blowhard busybodies, or with any document that says otherwise.

See also:

Culture of Life

There are still plenty of shopping days left to buy the perfect Happy birthday, Jesus! gift for all the fetus-guerrilla-warfare enthusiasts (or the neo-surrealists) in your family:

(Via Jessica @ feministing 2007-12-05.)

It’s dead.

(Thanks, Vanessa at feministing [2005-10-07].)

In Indiana, state Senator Pat Miller has decided to withdraw a bill that would have required government parenting licenses for people who want to conceive through artificial means.

Senator Patricia Miller of Indianapolis says the issue has become more complex than she thought. So she is withdrawing it from consideration.

Actually, the issue is not complex at all. This is complex:

Sec. 5. (a) A petition to establish parentage may be filed by an intended parent.

(b) The intended parents must be married to each other, and both spouses must be parties to the action to establish parentage.

(c) An unmarried person may not be an intended parent.

Sec. 6. (a) A petition to establish parentage must be filed in triplicate.

(b) The original copy of a petition to establish parentage must be verified by the oath or affirmation of each petitioner.

Sec. 7. (a) A petition to establish parentage must be made under oath and specify the following:

(1) The:

(A) name, age, and place of residence of each petitioner; and

(B) place and date of marriage of the petitioners.

(2) The name and place or residence, if known, of the donor or donors.

(3) The name and address of the agency that performed the assessment under section 12 of this chapter.

(4) The name and address of the physician who performed the medical procedure that resulted in the pregnancy of the child who is subject to the parentage action.

(5) The type of assisted reproduction procedure that was used.

(6) Whether a petitioner has been convicted of:

(A) a felony; or

(B) a misdemeanor relating to the health and safety of children;

and, if so, the date and description of the conviction.

(7) Additional information consistent with the purpose and provisions of this chapter that is considered relevant to the proceedings.

(b) The following documents must be attached to the petition to establish parentage:

(1) The consent of the petitioners required under section 13 of this chapter to the medical procedure that resulted in the pregnancy for the child who is the subject to the parentage action.

(2) The consent of each donor, if known, to the use of the donation for the assisted reproduction medical procedure.

(3) The certificate of satisfactory completion of the assessment required under section 12 of this chapter.

(4) The certificate of the physician required under section 14 of this chapter. …

Sec. 11. … (b) A physician may not commence an assisted reproduction technology procedure that may result in a child being born until the intended parents of the child have received a certificate of satisfactory completion of the assessment required under section 12 of this chapter. …

Sec. 12. (a) Before intended parents may commence assisted reproduction, the intended parents shall obtain an assessment from a licensed child placing agency in the intended parents’ state of residence.

(b) The assessment must follow the normal practice for assessments in a domestic infant adoption procedure and must include the following information:

(1) The intended parents’ purpose for the assisted reproduction.

(2) The fertility history of the intended parents, including the pregnancy history and response to pregnancy losses of the woman.

(3) An acknowledgment by the intended parents that the child may not be the biological child of at least one (1) of the intended parents depending on the type of artificial reproduction procedure used.

(4) A list of the intended parents’ family and friend support system.

(5) A plan for sharing any known genetic information with the child.

(6) Personal information about each intended parent, including the following:

(A) Family of origin.

(B) Values.

(C) Relationships.

(D) Education.

(E) Employment and income.

(F) Hobbies and talents.

(G) Physical description, including the general health of the individual.

(H) Birth verification.

(I) Personality description, including the strengths and weaknesses of each intended parent.

(7) Description of any children residing in the intended parents’ home.

(8) A verification and evaluation of the intended parents’ marital relationship, including:

(A) the shared values and interests between the individuals;

(B) the manner in which conflict between the individuals is resolved; and

(C) a history of the intended parents’ relationship.

(9) Documentation of the dissolution of any prior marriage and an assessment of the impact of the prior marriage on the intended parents’ relationship.

(10) A description of the family lifestyle of the intended parents, include a description of individual participation in faith-based or church activities, hobbies, and other interests.

(11) The intended parents’ child rearing expectations and values.

(12) A description of the home and community, including verification of the safety and security of the home.

(13) Child care plans.

(14) Statement of the assets, liabilities, investments, and ability of the intended parents to manage finances, including the most recently filed tax forms.

(15) A review of the local police records, the state and violent offender directory, and a criminal history check as set forth in subsection (c).

(16) A letter of reference by a friend or family member.

(17) A written consent from each donor, if known, to use of the donation in the assisted reproduction medical procedure.

(18) The recommendation for participation in assisted reproduction.

… (f) After completing the assessment described in this section, and if the child placing agency approves the intended parents to commence the assisted reproduction procedure, the agency shall issue a certificate that the intended parents have satisfactorily completed the assessment and are ready to commence assisted reproduction.

(g) A certificate issued under subsection (f) is valid for two (2) years.

(h) A physician may rely upon a certificate issued under this section to commence assisted reproduction with an intended parent.

(i) A certificate issued under subsection (f) must be filed with the petition to establish parentage.

… Sec. 14.(a) After a viable pregnancy has been achieved by artificial reproduction, the physician who performed the artificial reproduction procedure shall issue a certificate to the intended parents stating:

(1) the child was conceived under the care of the physician;

(2) the type of artificial reproduction procedure that was used;

(3) whether the donor is known or anonymous; and

(4) whether the physician is aware of any compensation being paid to the donor.

(b) The certificate must be:

(1) on the physician’s letterhead stationary; and

(2) notarized.

(c) The certificate required under this section shall be filed with the petition to establish parentage.

(d) form by x agency?

Sec. 15. (a) If the court finds that:

(1) the petition to establish parentage satisfies the requirements of this chapter;

(2) the certificate from a licensed child placing agency required under section 12 of this chapter has been filed and meets the requirements of this chapter;

(3) the certificate by the physician required under section 14 of this chapter has been filed and meets the requirements of this chapter; and

(4) the consent required under section 13 of this chapter has been obtained; the court shall grant the petition to establish parentage and enter a decree establishing parentage without a hearing or further court action unless the court finds by clear and convincing evidence that granting the petition is not in the best interests of the child.

(b) The court may deny the petition to establish parentage if a petitioner has been convicted of a crime described in section 7(a)(5). …

Sec. 17. (a) If the court dismisses a petition to establish parentage, the court shall determine the person who should have custody of the child. …

Sec. 20. (a) An intended parent who knowingly or intentionally participates in an artificial reproduction procedure without establishing parentage under section 15 of this chapter commits unauthorized artificial reproduction, a Class B misdemeanor.

… but the issue is simple. Our bodies are not public property; reproductive totalitarianism is wrong; the State has no business imposing a ridiculous set of requirements like that on anybody. And movement conservatives’ idea of limited government and ordered freedom is a government that limits and your freedom to take orders from it.

Good thing they lost this one.