Many of you know about what is going on here in Northern Arizona with me, but I wanted to explain as fully as I am able to. To put it simply–the state is investigating my practice because I supported a VBAC mama. It has gone beyond investigating the issue that began this (VBAC) and has snowballed into my right to serve my clients without harassment and unwarranted investigation.
The issue is not/was not the outcome of the VBAC birth, but simply that I was involved with this mama. The doctor that reported me is on a mission to eliminate me from practicing as a midwife; thereby eliminating midwife-supported homebirths here and making sure he doesn’t have to “deal” with me or any homebirth transports.
Unfortunately, my licensing department seems to be anything but on my side, and I am at risk of losing my ability to practice legally without a lawyer to help me. The State office is completely out of line, harassing me and my clients, requesting charts now for clients past and present, telling me that I am “under investigation” and that they have the right to ask me for anything at any time. I am refusing to back down, and I will not voluntarily disclose any information to them. It is not a question that I have maintained good and safe practice, but the doctors here continue to report me regularly (twice more since the VBAC, without any real grounds for complaints) and build their case for not having homebirth be an option for women here.
A side note is that this is NOT about me, fully–the mamas and midwives in Arizona need to rally, we need to make a huge issue out of the fact that women with a c-section scar are not entitled to midwifery care if they so choose. This is BEHIND THE TIMES and against all the latest research. If VBACs are not safe at home, then why are Naturopathic Doctors permitted to attend them at home in Arizona? This is an outrage, a way to limit women’s choices by eliminating potential caregivers.
Furthermore, do you (homebirth clients especially) support that the State thinks they are entitled to your records,your birth story, your labwork, your everything for no good reason? This is a breach of privacy and invasion in all of our lives. Do you support a state whose midwifery licensing department harasses midwives and uses letters written in her favor to further a witch hunt by requesting information on you, the letter writer?
The State of Arizona needs to know that we will NOT STAND FOR THIS. It is YOUR right, the parent’s, to birth however you choose and with whomever present. The State has no right (unless you say they do) to your personal information because they have embarked on a doctor-initiated witch hunt.
If you do a minimal amount of research, you will see that this is a nationwide issue. Midwives everywhere are facing the same set of circumstances. The more public and popular homebirth becomes (and it is on the rise), the more threatened the medical establishment is. Being as fear based as they are, it is (according to them) not a matter of choice. We MUST change that.
(The Andaluz Waterbirth Center in OR dealt with a similar issue. The group of midwives there was continually reported and harassed by local doctors in an attempt to tarnish their name, and also to force them to incur legal fees to defend the false complaints against them. An old, tiring issue but alive and well: http://geoffrie.wordpress.com/2010/07/23/andaluz-waterbirth-center-files-class-action-lawsuit-against-ohsu-ohla)
There is no victim here, however. I will stand strong to do what I do, and I am blessed to be here, right now. No matter what comes of this personally, I will know that I took a stand for mamas and babies. This is not only about me as a midwife, but about any midwife’s ability to serve her clients in good faith and without fear.
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I more than appreciate your help and support, and love you all very, very much.