Pregnancy Awareness Month Radio with Ricki Lake

Natural Birthing Rights may be at Risk

This year on May 2nd at our 3rd annual Pregnancy Awareness Month™ kickoff event up at TreePeople ( ) in LA, CA, Ricki Lake (producer of The Business of Being Born and an adviser on our team) shared with me that just days before the midwives in New York City had lost their right to attend home births and Saint Vincent’s (a progressive hospital/birthing center) had shut it’s doors.

I was shocked and sad, tears welled up in my eyes. That New York City, one of the most progressive, hip and advanced cities in the world, would allow this to pass was astonishing and archaic. It suddenly felt that the work we do at Pregnancy Awareness Month™, to empower women as they move into pregnancy and birth seemed futile, at least temporarily.

Then a week later a friend and supporter of natural child birth in San Diego County, OBGYN Robert Biter, MD had his hospital rights suspended, literally from one day to the next with no public statement as to the reason or charges. A man nicknamed “Dr. Wonderful” and who happens to have the low C-section rate of 5-10% suddenly barred from his privileges to service his patients? I ask you, what the heck is going on here?

On Friday May 14th, I attended a rally for Dr. Biter, over 400 women, many who had given birth with him, many who had not, and many pregnant women who were suddenly left without the doctor they had chosen and entrusted, all stood outside of Scripps Memorial Hospital in Encinitas with signs that read: BRING BITER BACK and OUR BODIES~ OUR BABIES~ OUR BITER! It was, and continues to be, a call to action.

Some women such as Ricki Lake and myself, who had not birthed with Dr. Biter were there because we wanted to support a wonderful doctor who believes that a woman’s body has the wisdom and strength to birth the way nature intended. But we were all there because at the end of the day: EVERY WOMAN HAS THE RIGHT TO BIRTH HOW, WHERE AND WITH WHOM SHE DAMN WELL PLEASES! This is our birth right, it always has been and unless we stand up and let the powers that be know how we feel, city by city and state by state the medical industry (out of fear or greed or whatever their reasons are) will close birthing centers, suspend wonderful and competent doctors, outlaw midwives and we will lose that birth right, to birth the way nature intended.

So please…speak up and let the powers that be know how you feel.

You can also learn more about the ongoing lobbying that is occurring on Dr. Biter’s behalf at the website

Pregnancy Awareness Month co-founders, Anna Getty & Alisa Donner will be live on with Ricki Lake this Friday, May 21st at 11am PST. The trio will be discuss Dr. Biter and the state of midwifery in New York City.

Listen in live:

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  2. Jordyn Zimmerman

    We had a big loss in NC with the recent decision by the Midwifery Joint Committee to vote against licensure for CPMs. And las year we lost two midwives when a local OB clinic dissolved their midwifery program ( Enough is enough. Mommies and babies deserve better. Thanks for all you do! (sorry about the long comment, just wanted to get the whole story to you)

    CONTACT:* Russ Fawcett, (910) 471-5187, spigget@aol. com
    > *IMMEDIATE RELEASE:* Wednesday May 19, 2010


    RALEIGH, NC – The NC Midwifery Joint Committee (MJC) has given a clear
    message to Mothers who choose home birth; deeply-entrenched medical special
    interests matter more than your right to health and safety. The MJC voted
    against licensure for certified professional midwives (CPMs) even though the
    North Carolina General Assembly asked them to propose a licensing framework
    to regulate CPMs.

    “CPMs are the only professional healthcare providers who specialize in home
    birth,” said Russ Fawcett, Legislative Co-Chair of the NC Friends of
    Midwives. “Every year, more and more Mothers in North Carolina are choosing
    to have their babies at home. Despite overwhelming scientific evidence
    presented to the MJC showing the proven safety of homebirth when attended by a trained midwife, the physician members on the panel chose to vote against
    providing a means to ensure that safety.”

    The MJC has met over the last eight months to hear data and testimony from
    many stakeholder groups including midwives, physicians, epidemiologists and
    consumers. The panel authorized a graduate nursing student to perform a
    review of all available literature and data, resulting in a report that
    clearly showed the safety of home birth attended by a CPM.

    “It is unfortunate that the physicians on the MJC are consciously choosing
    to ignore the overwhelming scientific data in support of home birth and
    maintain their position that degrades safety for mothers,” added Fawcett.
    “If the opponents of CPM licensure have true concerns about safety, then
    they should be the biggest proponents of regulation. I wonder what is their
    plan? Absent that answer, consumers are left to wonder about the true
    motivations of doctors and other opponents of CPM licensure.”

    A Centers for Disease Control National Health Statistics reportreleased in March showed a five percent increase in demand for
    out-of-hospital midwife births in 2005. In North Carolina, homebirths
    increased by 32 percent from the 2003-2004 period to the 2005-2006 period
    analyzed. This new data increases the urgency for passing the current
    pending legislation in North Carolina to license and regulate Certified
    Professional Midwives (CPMs).

    “Now more than ever it is crucial that North Carolina’s home birthing
    families have access to trained midwives,” said Russ Fawcett, Legislative
    Chair for North Carolina Friends of Midwives . “Each
    year, more North Carolina families choose out-of-hospital birth for
    religious, cultural, philosophical or financial reasons. Home birth is happening whether or not North Carolina chooses to join Virginia, Tennessee,
    South Carolina and 23 other states in licensing CPMs. Why not do everything
    we can to regulate that practice and ensure safety?”

    Currently, there are no laws in North Carolina to regulate CPMs, who
    deliver babies in private homes and freestanding birth centers. Studies show
    that low-risk women who plan home births under the care of CPMs have
    outcomes equal to low-risk women who deliver in the hospital, but with far
    fewer costly and preventable interventions. A study commissioned by the
    Washington state legislature found that during the last five years alone,
    the state’s licensed midwives saved taxpayers and private insurers more than
    $10 million.

    North Carolina Friends of Midwives is a grassroots organization of midwife advocates dedicated to promoting, supporting, and protecting midwifery in North Carolina.

  3. Mande

    I wish I had time today to listen to your segment. Ricki Lake has inspired me to be more proactive in my choices when it comes to my rights as an individual. I loved her documentary and I always thought the idea of doing things “that natural” was a bit prehistoric and not very safe, but after seeing how safe it is and know that you have to get the right professional there with you, I’m more intune with different ideas of doing thing now. Her documentary really opened my eyes and I hope that all she does and rallies for comes out in a great positive!

  4. Tiffany

    I thought having a home birth would be scary and uncomfortable, even though I agreed with the idea of every woman having options and natural is probably best for the health of the baby. I never thought It was best for the woman to. After watching Ricki Lakes movie I was inspired. and When I got pregnant with my second child I found a midwife and had my home birth, and it was amazing! I felt that everything went more smoothly and everything was how it should be comparing it to my first Hospital birth. I will never choose a hospital birth!!!!
    Thank you so much.
    I Hope other Celebrities will speak out for natural child birth.

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