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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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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 baby. 


    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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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.  (Article 12)


Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights

  • Article 3 – Human dignity and human rights
    • 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 minimized.

  • Article 5 – Autonomy and individual responsibility
    • 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 and interests.

  • 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 prejudice.

  •  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 management
    • 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.