For Immediate Release
Date: August 25, 2008
Contact: Nancy Massotto, Executive Director
Telephone: (877) HOL-MOMS
HOLISTIC MOMS PROMOTE "BIRTH RIGHTS" ON "LABOR DAY"
Parenting Group Says Womens' Rights to Natural Childbirth Are Rapidly Disappearing
(Caldwell, NJ) -
This Labor Day, as we honor the steadfast efforts of our country's workers, the Holistic Moms Network (HMN) – a national non-profit with 130 Chapters across the U.S. – will be advocating for some of the toughest labor faced by women: childbirth. Through a number of events – organized on or around Labor Day -HMN will focus attention on the critical issue of preserving a woman's right to choose how and where she gives birth - a right that is rapidly disappearing.
This past June, HMN issued a press release to call attention to the American Medical American Association's adoption of Resolution 205, which states that hospitals and hospital birthing centers are "the safest settings" for labor and delivery, despite strong evidence to the contrary. The Resolution is seen by HMN and birth choice advocates as an attempt to outlaw homebirth and eliminate low-intervention childbirth choices for women, thereby robbing them of a powerful birth experience and placing them and their newborns at higher risk of injury and death.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, vaginal births after Cesarean (VBAC) rates have fallen by 67% since 1996 and U.S. hospitals are increasingly denying women the right to have VBACs, effectively forcing them into unnecessary Cesarean surgery. This runs contrary to the government's own Healthy People 2010 initiative which seeks to increase the VBAC rate to 63% by 2010."Cesarean section is a major surgical procedure that increases the likelihood of many complications for mothers and babies compared to vaginal birth," says Dr. Nancy Massotto, HMN's Executive Director who birthed both of her sons at home. Risks to babies include surgical cuts, breathing problems, and difficulty breastfeeding. Risks to the mother include surgical injury, infection, and death from increased blood loss. Last year, the Associated Press reported that U.S. women are dying from childbirth at the highest rate in decades, with the jump in C-sections partly to blame.
The World Health Organization and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services agree that, for the safety of both mothers and babies, a country's C-section rate should not exceed 15%. Medical institutions are clearly not heeding this advice. New Jersey – home to HMN headquarters - has the highest C-section rate in the country – 38.9% in 2007. This is 7% above the national average of 31%. New Jersey Center for Health Statistics data show that Bayonne Medical Center's C-section rate was an astounding 62% in 2006 - up 15% from the prior year. In 2007, Paterson's Barnert Hospital's C-section rate was 53.9 but its VBAC rate was a mere 1.8%.
To inform women about this crisis and about their birth rights, HMN is organizing and participating in Labor Day events across the country.