Saturday, March 2, 2013

The fragile state of freedom in South Carolina: Time to act!

Have you heard about this bill attacking our right to birth outside a hospital?

Just a couple of weeks ago, several South Carolina lawmakers tried to take away our right to homeschool our children as we see fit.  After they experienced the backlash from angry homeschoolers who are perhaps more numerous than envisioned, three sponsors have removed their names from the bill and the only one left is backpedaling furiously.  

Yesterday we learned that other lawmakers in our state are trying to take away our right to birth outside of a hospital.  While the bill does not specifically outlaw homebirth, it places ridiculous, unfeasible regulations upon it which would, in effect, eradicate the choice entirely.  For instance, it would require homebirth midwives to find a supervising obstetrician or certified nurse midwife to attend each birth with them.  This would not work.  Let’s assume for a moment that a midwife was able to find a currently practicing, local supervisor who didn’t despise midwives and was willing to help her out.  What happens when this supervising practitioner is on call for his own patients and for the midwife’s and two of them deliver at the same time?  Also, how are we supposed to pay for this superfluous OB?  It has been a struggle for our family to afford homebirth as it is since our SC State plan gets away with denying coverage for it altogether!

The obvious goal of this bill is to force women into doing not what benefits mother and baby, but what benefits the state and/or large, powerful, greedy organizations.  It would be incredibly na├»ve to think that money is not involved here.  Homebirth midwifery is not a very lucrative business.  Hospital birth most definitely is.  There are entire wards devoted to it, they are consistently full, and generous five-figure sums are made off of each mother and child.  This bill has been written to benefit someone, and it's certainly not mothers and babies!  Our legislators need to do the honest thing and withdraw support from it.

This is a human rights issue that should concern everyone.  Do you value your personal freedom at all?  If you do, then please join us in rallying against this.  We cannot let our state’s lawmakers get away with stripping us of our liberties.  Perhaps you don’t personally care about homebirth or homeschooling.  You might not plan to have kids, or you might want to birth in the hospital and send your kids to school.  But this still affects you.  This fight might not hit home for you, but the next one might.  We need to ensure that any lawmaker who intends to take our freedom away rather than protect it is voted out of office.  They only think they can get away with this nonsense because the group they are hurting is the minority.  They know most people want to send their kids to school, and most people want to give birth in a hospital.  They think that if they remove all the other choices, most people won’t feel victimized because they were going to take the mainstream path anyway.  But here’s the thing:  FREEDOM TO CHOOSE FROM ONLY ONE OPTION IS NOT FREEDOM.  This is YOUR freedom these legislators are trying to strip away.  It is time to tell them that this will not stand in South Carolina.  Call, email, or write a letter to your representative today!

Not sure where to start?  

1.  Contact the following four sponsors.  Also contact the committee in which the bill is being discussed.  On each profile page there is a link to send a message to the rep.  You could also call or write a letter.

J. Anne Parks
Phyllis Henderson

Here's an example of what you might say, which can be personalized* to your own experience and feelings:


I strongly OPPOSE Bill 3731 which will impose restrictions on midwives that will prevent them from practicing freely in the state of SC.  This legislation would take away the rights of childbearing women and set South Carolina back decades in the fight for equality and choice.   Midwifery care is a safe, reasonable option for healthy, low risk mothers.  This is about freedom, which you must realize is especially treasured by the people of South Carolina.  Please withdraw your support for Bill 3731.

2.  Find the state rep for your area and let them know we need their support and want them to vote NO if the bill makes it out of committee.

3.  Finally, repost this information all over Facebook, Twitter, and any other social media sites, or email it to your friends.

Thank you for your help!  Hopefully we can kill this bill in committee and send the message that we expect our lawmakers to work for us--the people--and our freedom!

*Here is my letter, if you'd like to read it:

I strongly OPPOSE Bill 3731 which will impose restrictions on midwives that will prevent them from practicing freely in the state of SC.  While it doesn’t specifically outlaw homebirth, this legislation would enact regulations that are unfeasible, unaffordable, and unreasonable.  It would take away the rights of childbearing women and set South Carolina back decades in the fight for equality and choice.   Midwifery care is a safe, reasonable option for healthy, low risk mothers.  For the birth of my first child, I trusted a hospital to deliver my baby.  I regret it to this day.  Our baby was healthy and safe, but some of my choices were ignored and we were disrespected in several ways.  It was stressful and made for a difficult beginning of motherhood, to say the least.  Our daughter required frequent visits to the doctor to keep an eye on her jaundice and slow weight gain.  Later, I went on to have two peaceful, beautiful homebirths with a responsible, well-educated licensed midwife.  Had my babies or I EVER been in any danger, we would have transferred to the hospital immediately.  I trust my midwife’s keen eye and careful judgment.  After having my babies at home, I experienced greater breastfeeding success, quicker postpartum healing, more confidence in myself as a parent, and greater satisfaction in general.  During our homebirth babies’ first checkups, we received comments on how alert and healthy they seemed and how well they were gaining weight.  I realize most women want to give birth in the hospital, and I think every woman should give birth wherever she feels safe.  I do NOT deserve to be forced into a birth setting that makes me uncomfortable.  My midwife does NOT deserve to lose her livelihood and life’s work.  This is about FREEDOM, which you must realize is treasured by the people of South Carolina.  We expect our legislators to protect it for us.  Please withdraw your support for Bill 3731.