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Sunday, November 6, 2011

Midwives, Justice and the Corporatization of Birth




This statement is made in solidarity with Occupy movements around the world...

Birth Justice is a mother’s right to ensure the well being of herself and her baby; it intersects with all aspects of our lives – social, political, economic, spiritual and emotional. When mothers are empowered, a community is transformed. If we bring our babies into the world with justice, in the natural way, without anyone telling us how to do it, then it nurtures our innate power as mothers to create a free world for our children to play and learn and grow. Birth Justice includes access to holistic, humanistic and culturally centered prenatal, birth and postpartum care (the midwifery model of care), the right to choose when, where, how and with whom to birth as well as the right to breastfeeding support. The complete range of pregnancy, labor and birth options should be available to everyone as an integral part of reproductive justice. These are our rights as mothers.

What is a midwife? Midwife means “with woman.” Midwives are independent care providers for pregnant women. Midwives are the experts in low risk pregnancy and natural birth. They work to meet their communities' needs in homes, birth centers, clinics and hospital facilities. Many midwives accept Medicaid and insurance. The state of Florida has licensed midwives since 1931.

Midwives help women and communities understand the importance of education, health, nutrition, healing and autonomy over one’s own body. Mobile Midwife aims to raise the health of the community and bring the art of midwifery back into our communities by increasing women’s knowledge of their rights and their access to midwives.

Midwifery care has a rich herstory in communities of color, particularly in the Southern region of the US. Black midwives traditionally provided care for their communities during the harshest times in history: slavery, Jim-crow, and Civil Rights eras. They held up health and humanity in dehumanizing times. Midwives also did a lot of holistic health care in general and were an incredible resource in their communities.

Corporatization of Birth

Pregnancy and birth are big business in the United Stares. Currently, the c-section rate in Florida is skyrocketing because the current corporate healthcare system values profit over people and liability over lives. Many women who birth in hospitals are pressured, coerced or forced to have c-sections. Florida currently has one of the highest surgical birth rates in the country. In Miami-Dade county, more than half of babies are born by c-section.

This is not about dollars, this is about health. This is about lives, the lives of our sisters and our babies. African American women are almost four times as likely to die from pregnancy-related causes as white women. The infant mortality rate in Florida is on the rise when it should be declining. In Miami-Dade County, Black babies are more than twice as likely to die in the first year of life as white babies. These are human rights violations.

This is about our human right to be nurtured, cared for and supported through the natural processes of pregnancy, birth and motherhood. We will accept nothing less.

Mobile Midwife’s vision is to make midwifery care accessible and central to all, especially Black, Brown, immigrant, indigenous, queer, transgender, low-income and other marginalized communities. Through Mobile Midwife, we aim to expand Birth Justice with story telling, popular education, and community organizing to improve access to midwifery care.

Stop the corporatization of our bodies and our births!

Support your local midwives!

Access to quality healthcare is a human right!

Access to midwives is a human right!

Maternal and infant health are human rights!

Resources

For more info about Mobile Midwife: www.mobilemidwife.org

For more info about the corporatization of birth: www.thebusinessofbeingborn.com

For more info about Black midwives: www.ictcmidwives.org

Find a Florida midwife: http://184.168.34.108/ffom_dnn/MidwiferyinFlorida/FindaMidwife.aspx


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