Mothers Forced to Go Rogue

CTBirthAdvocate

But her experience did not start wanting to have a birth at home with the possibility of no medical professional there for her.

I recently met a woman I will call S for this article. She is the mother of one, and pregnant with her second child living in a state where it is not legal for Certified Professional Midwife to attend a home birth, in an area where Certified Nurse Midwives do not opt to attend births at home.  Making a catch 22 for any woman who is interested in birthing at home.  Meaning the only option for a home birth, is an unattended birth, with no medical professional.  I think of this as a scary thought for myself because of my second birth experience in which an emergency turned my attempt for a VBAC (Vaginal Birth after Cesarean) into a repeat section.

S is in a similar situation. With her first child she had a cesarean section, and is desperate to not repeat the experience, like many women who opt for home birth today. 

But her experience did not start wanting to have a birth at home with the possibility of no medical professional there for her. It started in the care of a local "VBAC Friendly" Obsetrician who set a strict and unrealisitic list of guidelines for S to be able to attempt a trial of labor. Two of which were not exceeding her 40 week due date mark, and a required epidural. Both of which S was not comfortable with. Once learning about these stipulations, she declined to return to that OB/GYN. 

S began calling hospitals to learn about their cesarean rates, and VBAC success numbers, and was not met with open arms but hang ups and dead ends. As if pregnancy isn’t emotionally screwy enough, having to go through this stress was taking a toll on her.

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After searching through all the local hospitals, and all the Midwives in the area, she found a Certified Professional Midwife "attending births"to help ensure women birthing at home would not be forced no medical care at all. And thankfully for S she has been able to continue with her plan of having her birth at home.

More stressing factors for this situation is the lack of insurance coverage, and the fact that her previous Obstetricians office will not release her medical records to her for anything less than a $100 fee because they do not wan to "become liable" for a Rogue Patient birthing at home. 

S is continuing to move forward with her pregnancy, healthy, and happy because she is not worrying about these hospitals, what her insurance may or may not cover, and worrying about going under the knife again.

 

But a growing number of women across the country are being pushed into corners like S. No options available after undergoing one cesarean section, and if you have had two, then in most places your only option is birthing at home because hospitals do not want to "allow" you a trial of labor at all. 

Violating the essential rights of patients, human rights, and bodily anatomy. If these women do not wish to undergo major surgery, they should not have to, and they should not be forced to birth in a situaton that may be uncomfortable for them.

The climate of VBAC in the United States is dismal at best. With over 50% of the Nations hospitals banning a vaginal birth after cesarean, it is forcing mothers who do not know enough to question it into repeat surgery.

Sadly for women like myself, and like S, our childbearing future is in the hands of other people, mostly men. 

News Sexual Health

State with Nation’s Highest Chlamydia Rate Enacts New Restrictions on Sex Ed

Nicole Knight Shine

By requiring sexual education instructors to be certified teachers, the Alaska legislature is targeting Planned Parenthood, which is the largest nonprofit provider of such educational services in the state.

Alaska is imposing a new hurdle on comprehensive sexual health education with a law restricting schools to only hiring certificated school teachers to teach or supervise sex ed classes.

The broad and controversial education bill, HB 156, became law Thursday night without the signature of Gov. Bill Walker, a former Republican who switched his party affiliation to Independent in 2014. HB 156 requires school boards to vet and approve sex ed materials and instructors, making sex ed the “most scrutinized subject in the state,” according to reproductive health advocates.

Republicans hold large majorities in both chambers of Alaska’s legislature.

Championing the restrictions was state Sen. Mike Dunleavy (R-Wasilla), who called sexuality a “new concept” during a Senate Education Committee meeting in April. Dunleavy added the restrictions to HB 156 after the failure of an earlier measure that barred abortion providers—meaning Planned Parenthood—from teaching sex ed.

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Dunleavy has long targeted Planned Parenthood, the state’s largest nonprofit provider of sexual health education, calling its instruction “indoctrination.”

Meanwhile, advocates argue that evidence-based health education is sorely needed in a state that reported 787.5 cases of chlamydia per 100,000 people in 2014—the nation’s highest rate, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Surveillance Survey for that year.

Alaska’s teen pregnancy rate is higher than the national average.

The governor in a statement described his decision as a “very close call.”

“Given that this bill will have a broad and wide-ranging effect on education statewide, I have decided to allow HB 156 to become law without my signature,” Walker said.

Teachers, parents, and advocates had urged Walker to veto HB 156. Alaska’s 2016 Teacher of the Year, Amy Jo Meiners, took to Twitter following Walker’s announcement, writing, as reported by Juneau Empire, “This will cause such a burden on teachers [and] our partners in health education, including parents [and] health [professionals].”

An Anchorage parent and grandparent described her opposition to the bill in an op-ed, writing, “There is no doubt that HB 156 is designed to make it harder to access real sexual health education …. Although our state faces its largest budget crisis in history, certain members of the Legislature spent a lot of time worrying that teenagers are receiving information about their own bodies.”

Jessica Cler, Alaska public affairs manager with Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest and Hawaii, called Walker’s decision a “crushing blow for comprehensive and medically accurate sexual health education” in a statement.

She added that Walker’s “lack of action today has put the education of thousands of teens in Alaska at risk. This is designed to do one thing: Block students from accessing the sex education they need on safe sex and healthy relationships.”

The law follows the 2016 Legislative Round-up released this week by advocacy group Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States. The report found that 63 percent of bills this year sought to improve sex ed, but more than a quarter undermined student rights or the quality of instruction by various means, including “promoting misinformation and an anti-abortion agenda.”

News Human Rights

After Suicide Attempt, Chelsea Manning Faces Indefinite Solitary Confinement

Michelle D. Anderson

“Now, while Chelsea is suffering the darkest depression she has experienced since her arrest, the government is taking actions to punish her for that pain. It is unconscionable and we hope that the investigation is immediately ended and that she is given the health care that she needs to recover,” said Chase Strangio, an ACLU staff attorney.

Transgender Army veteran and WikiLeaks whistleblower Chelsea Manning is being threatened with indefinite solitary confinement in connection to her July 5 suicide attempt.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said U.S. Army officials notified Manning of an investigation into her suicide attempt. Three serious charges are being brought against her.

A transcribed charge sheet provided by the ACLU shows that Manning is under investigation for resisting force from the cell move team, possessing prohibited property, and engaging in “conduct which threatens.”

Manning, who was arrested in 2010 for releasing classified government documents to WikiLeaks, is serving a 35-year prison sentence at the United States Disciplinary Barracks at Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas, an all-male maximum security prison.

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In 2014, Manning, with the help of the ACLU, the ACLU of the Nation’s Capital, the ACLU of Kansas, and civilian defense counsel David E. Coombs, sued then-Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and other Department of Defense and Department of the Army officials for failing to treat her gender dysphoria, a violation of her constitutional rights.

Army physicians had diagnosed Manning with the condition several years prior, according to the lawsuit.

As a remedy, the National Commission on Correctional Healthcare has recommended that inmates like Manning receive medical treatment that follows World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) standards of care, like providing hormone therapy. Several respected medical organizations, including the American Medical Association and the American Psychological Association, support WPATH recommendations.

Chase Strangio, a staff attorney with the ACLU, said in a statement that the investigation was “deeply troubling” and noted that government continues to deny Manning medical care related to her gender dysphoria condition and her recent suicide attempt.

“Now, while Chelsea is suffering the darkest depression she has experienced since her arrest, the government is taking actions to punish her for that pain. It is unconscionable and we hope that the investigation is immediately ended and that she is given the health care that she needs to recover,” Strangio said.

Along with indefinite solitary confinement, the ACLU said Manning could face reclassification into maximum-security prison, an additional nine years in medium custody for the remainder of her 35-year long sentence, if convicted of the “administrative offenses.”

The ACLU said the Army could also negate any chance for parole.

ACLU spokeswoman Allison Steinberg told Rewire the ramifications Manning faces derive from the Army’s Institutional Offense Policy.

Fight for the Future Campaign Director Evan Greer, whose group collected more than 100,000 signatures last year when the Army threatened Manning with solitary confinement for possessing LGBTQ literature and an expired tube of toothpaste, said in a statement that the U.S. government’s treatment of Chelsea was a “travesty.”

“Those in charge should know that the whole world is watching, and we won’t stand idly by while this administration continues to harass and abuse Chelsea Manning,” Greer said.

Just two days before Manning and her legal team learned of the investigation, she told followers on her verified Twitter account, “Feeling a little bit better every day. Thank you for your mail, your love, and your support. Things will get back to normal soon.”