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IMPORTANT INFORMATION -- About AMA
& ACOG, Safety, and Rights
To communicate effectively about the
AMA, ACOG and home birth, it is helpful to know basic facts and ideas about the
medical associations themselves, and the concepts of “safety” and “rights”.
To read the actual AMA Resolution and
ACOG position statement, as well as ACOG’s assessment of CPM licensing
legislation, go to the Resources page and scroll down to “Statements from ACOG
and AMA”. These will give you a clearer idea of where these national
organizations are coming from, and what their state counterparts will be
telling your legislators and others.
ABOUT ACOG & the AMA -- What You Need to Know
Read facts about these organizations
and quotes from their documents. These clearly show that the organizations are
essentially trade unions and not accountable to the public. Click here to read more.
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ABOUT "SAFETY" IN CHILDBIRTH
ACOG & the AMA base their
arguments against home birth on the unfounded assumption that it is not safe
and base that on whether women can receive an emergency cesarean quickly enough
at home. The research does not support
their fears and this argument discounts all the many other things that are not
considered when examining "safety" in maternity care.
It's worth noting here that many states have
licensed direct-entry midwives and CPMs attending home births for years and
none have ever reversed that legislation or used concerns about
"safety" to prohibit home birth in and of itself.
In “Safety” in Childbirth – What Does This
Mean? What is “Safe” Enough? we explore many aspects of safety that are left
out of those arguments.
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ABOUT RIGHTS -- "What Are Our Rights?" Interview with attorney Susan Jenkins
Do we have a "right" to give
birth at home? What are our rights? What rights would hold up in court? What
rights have been challenged?
Recent history has shown that arguing
that we have a “right” to choose where and with whom to give birth is NOT an effective
point with legislators or medical people, who interpret this as selfishness –
the mother cares more about her “experience” than the health and safety of her
However, it is worthwhile to
understand “rights” in maternity care, and the work that remains to establish
firm and clear rights for mothers in childbirth. Read more in the article,"What Are Our Rights."
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RELEVANT HUMAN RIGHTS DECLARATIONS
These are some of the more relevant sections
of the two Universal Declarations on Human Rights that most closely relate to
this issue: the overall declaration and
the one on Bioethics. We have also
provided links to the originals, so you can see them in context.
Universal Declaration of Human Rights
- Everyone has the right to life,
liberty and security of person. (Artilce 3)
- No one shall be subjected to torture
or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. (Article 5)
- No one shall be subjected to arbitrary
interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks
upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the
law against such interference or attacks.
Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights
- Article 3 – Human dignity and human
- Human dignity, human rights and
fundamental freedoms are to be fully respected.
- The interests and welfare of the
individual should have priority over the sole interest of science or society.
- Article 4 – Benefit and harm
- In applying and advancing scientific
knowledge, medical practice and associated technologies, direct and indirect
benefits to patients, research participants and other affected individuals
should be maximized and any possible harm to such individuals should be
- Article 5 – Autonomy and individual
- The autonomy of persons to make
decisions, while taking responsibility for those decisions and respecting the
autonomy of others, is to be respected. For persons who are not capable of
exercising autonomy, special measures are to be taken to protect their rights
- Article 6 – Consent
- Any preventive, diagnostic and
therapeutic medical intervention is only to be carried out with the prior, free
and informed consent of the person concerned, based on adequate information.
The consent should, where appropriate, be express and may be withdrawn by the
person concerned at any time and for any reason without disadvantage or
Article 18 – Decision-making and
addressing bioethical issues
- Professionalism, honesty, integrity
and transparency in decision-making should be promoted, in particular
declarations of all conflicts of interest and appropriate sharing of knowledge.
Every endeavour should be made to use the best available scientific knowledge
and methodology in addressing and periodically reviewing bioethical issues.
- Persons and professionals concerned
and society as a whole should be engaged in dialogue on a regular basis.
- Opportunities for informed
pluralistic public debate, seeking the expression of all relevant opinions,
should be promoted.
- Article 20 – Risk assessment and
- Appropriate assessment and adequate
management of risk related to medicine, life sciences and associated
technologies should be promoted.
Article 27 – Limitations on the
application of the principles
- If the application of the principles
of this Declaration is to be limited, it should be by law, including laws in
the interests of public safety, for the investigation, detection and
prosecution of criminal offences, for the protection of public health or for
the protection of the rights and freedoms of others. Any such law needs to be
consistent with international human rights law.
Article 28 – Denial of acts contrary
to human rights, fundamental freedoms and human dignity
- Nothing in this Declaration may be
interpreted as implying for any State, group or person any claim to engage in
any activity or to perform any act contrary to human rights, fundamental
freedoms and human dignity.