The Cost of Being Born at Home

Check out my latest article at RH Reality Check, The Cost of Being Born at Home:

Yesterday in New York City, Julie Finefrock appeared before the health fund subcommittee of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) as part of her appeal of their denial of her homebirth coverage. Ms. Finefrock, who is six months pregnant, is married to an SEIU employee. Their insurance plan excludes homebirth coverage, despite New York State regulations that require that private insurance cover out-of-hospital birth with a licensed practitioner. Ms. Finefrock’s situation is just one example of a larger fight to increase access to homebirth nationally, and it’s a fight that has ramped up due to new media attention to the issue.

One mother laboring with her midwife on the roof of her Cobble Hill penthouse, gorgeous Manhattan skyline in the background. Another holding her newborn on her living room couch, exposed brick and high ceilings behind her. These are just two of the scenes from the November New York Times article and slideshow about the growing interest among New York City women in birthing at home. These images paint a very specific picture of homebirth–all the women were pictured in spacious, nicely decorated apartments and, with the exception of one African-American woman, all were white. Watch the popular Ricki Lake documentary The Business of Being Born, released last year, and you get a similar story: Lake and her interviewees were all financially well off and could afford to choose to birth at home. Neither the Times article nor Lake’s film touched on one thing that all these women seemed to have in common–money.

Read the rest here. Thanks to everyone who emailed me their thoughts and commentary. I really appreciate it!

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