Home births illegal in New York

As residents of the world’s consumer capital, New Yorkers can have anything delivered to their door at any time. They can have their hair cut in the living room, have champagne and caviar rushed to them on a whim, enjoy a shiatsu massage in their own bed or invite a clairvoyant to predict their future from Tarot cards laid out on the kitchen table.

But there is one thing that is currently unavailable for delivery to those who live in this most can-do of metropolises. Women can not legally give birth at home in the presence of a trained and experienced midwife.

For more, see here.

10 thoughts on “Home births illegal in New York

  1. I am completely and utterly flabbergasted.
    In the Netherlands, only when complications are expected a delivery will be planned in hospital. In some cases, women are transported to hospital during delivery, when things are not going so well.
    The default however is, I thought obviously, home birth.

  2. as well it should be. but it’s not at all surprising that private medical care would push hospital births. the article mentions the doctors being ‘in competition’ w the midwives because of this. but what it doesn’t mention is that hospitals charge health insurers big money for hospital beds, (unnecessary) obstetrical procedures, hospital gowns and food and fetal heart monitoring and etc etc etc. you can’t sell all the little extras to a woman in her own home w her own bed, eh?

  3. sorry, i’m going to babble: it’s a sad situation in america, because there’s no set national course for midwifery, nor is there any national legal certification for midwives. in many states, anyone at all can call themselves a midwife and practice home birth. so, you end up with these appallingly bad safely stats for home births in america, because totally unqualified people are attending them in so many cases. so, the medical establishment can very easily say ‘well, look at the statistics. home birth simply isn’t safe.’

  4. I’m wondering if the title of this post isn’t a bit misleading. I think what is illegal is for midwives to practice without a supporting hospital, and the hospital doing the supporting closed last month.

    I don’t think that means birthing at home is illegal. I mean, in a stretch (as it were) taxi drivers in NYC have assisted at a birth.

  5. in britain, it’s illegal to purposely have an unassisted birth. (‘unassisted’= no certified health professional present.) cab driver scenario would obviously not count as on-purpose, so it wouldn’t be a problem–unless they could prove that you intentionally gave birth in a cab. ny might have a similar law?

    even if that’s not it, i don’t suppose the headline is too terribly misleading: it is the case that, at present, if you have a home birth in ny that’s attended by a health professional, you’ll be breaking the law. i don’t suppose being allowed to squeeze it out by your lonesome would count, for most people, as being allowed to have a home birth.

  6. As far as a fairly quite whip around the web suggests, it isn’t illegal to have an unassisted home birth. Further, I think the illegality attaches only to the unaffiliated midwife, not to the mother.

    Given the cost of any medical care and the state of poverty in some areas, I suspect there are a number of home births with simply relatives assisting.

    This might be worth following up on, though I don’t myself have the time. But if unassisted birth is really risky enough for some countries to ban it, you’d think the pro-life people would just on this issue too – that is, if you didn’t know that their main issue appears to be controlling women’s sexuality, not preserving infants’ lives.

  7. good point, jj. to add fuel to your fire: i thought home birth was a totally insane dangerous fruitloop thing to do before i moved to britain, because the only people i knew who did it were my fundie relatives in the midwest of america. (i think their church has a “midwife”.) my fundie relatives, in addition to having unassisted homebirths, spend huge amounts of time and energy campaigning against women’s right to choose. -well, but now i think of it, i think they would tell you that both acts–banning abortion, and refraining from medical care in childbirth–are acts of declining to meddle in “god’s work”. or something like that. (given that neocon republicanism is a bit too liberal for these people, they may very well tell you that abysmal mortality and morbidity rates in us unassisted homebirths prove that god wants to take the poor babies back to heaven. but i might be putting words into their mouths.)

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  9. this is without a doubt the most ridiculous thing i have ever heard. my daughter was born at home (miami, florida) and it was one of the best decisions i ever made. no, i’m not a tree-
    hugging, birkenstock wearing vegan that lives in an abandoned school bus. i am a woman who is fed up with the medical community making birth into a medical procedure instead of a natural act. and now that the medical establishment is feeling threatened by midwives taking over their territory, they respond with legislation and have the power to do so. my midwife was skilled, knowledgable, experienced and more important, gave me information so that i could make intelligent, informed choices; something that doctors don’t really have either the time nor the inclination to do. how can so many other developed countries in this world such as england and holland support and encourage home births when we don’t? money, money, money! and that they manipulate women with their scare tactics only reinforces in womens’ minds that they not only shouldn’t but can’t do something that they were born to do is simply despicable.

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