At midnight tonight, half of NYC’s homebirth midwives will be illegal

St. Vincent’s is closing. It’s a bad situation for many involved, the women who gave birth there, the other patients who received care there. No attempts at saving the hospital have worked.

Another result of the closure is that the NYC home birth midwives no longer have a back-up hospital or WPA (written practice agreement). They need this WPA, signed by a doctor, in order to practice in NY, even though those doctors have little to no involvement in their practice. St. Vincent’s was one of the only supportive hospitals in the city.

About half of the homebirth midwives in NYC have found other people to back them up–but the other half are stuck. At midnight tonight, they can no longer practice legally, despite the fact that they are licensed practitioners.

It’s a mess, and the NY government is not considering this an emergency because their patients can “just give birth in a hospital.”

We all know why this is unacceptable.

You can help. Take action today to put pressure on the NY State Department of Health:

YOU MUST ACT NOW to save the home birth option for New York Women:
  • 311
  • Wendy Saunders, Executive Deputy Commissioner for the NY State Department of Health, appointed by Governor Paterson. 518-474-8390
  • Larry Mokhiber, the Secretary of the Board of Midwifery (518-474-3817, extension 130)
And say….

With the closing of St. Vincent’s Hospital, half of the licensed, highly trained home birth midwives serving NYC have lost their Written Practice Agreement (WPA).   St Vincent’s was the only Hospital in the city supportive of a woman’s right to choose a home birth and willing to sign a WPA.  In the weeks since it’s announced closure, these midwives have reached out to hospitals and obstetricians all across the city looking for support, with no success.  Please help us to save the homebirth option in New York.


4 thoughts on “At midnight tonight, half of NYC’s homebirth midwives will be illegal

  1. Kate April 30, 2010 / 10:05 am

    Thanks, Miriam. What a mess! It is unbelievable to me that our birthing options are becoming limited so fast. The Ithica community faces a similar situation as of July 1st. The loss of access to homebirth in both NY rural and urban communities is hard to believe. It’s not just about homebirth vs. hospital birth, it’s about limiting women’s access to the full range of birth options, about diminishing the opportunity for a mother to fully be able to decide what the best birth setting is for her and her baby.

  2. Kelly Ann April 4, 2011 / 1:35 pm

    I knew 2 women whose babies died in birth during home births. To me, with birthing rooms as awesome as they are, women are taking crazy risks to have a baby at home. So many women and babies die in childbirth, especially developing nations. It’s absolutely not the safe thing people make it out to be. And while I agree having your baby in a traditional hospital setting is not great, birthing centers are a great alternative. You can take a midwife or dula (sp?) to a birthing center. And while I don’t like the idea of limiting women’s choices, I don’t think home births are a great alternative either.

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