Nursing Birth

One Labor & Delivery Nurse’s View From the Inside

Sign the Petition! Demand Accurate Reporting of ALL Birth Options!! October 1, 2009

Dear Readers,


Choices in Childbirth, a NYC based non-for-profit advocacy group whose mission is to improve maternity care by providing the public, especially childbearing women and their families, with the information necessary to make fully informed decisions relating to how, where, and with whom they will give birth, has recently created a petition in response to NBC’s Today Show segment entitled “The Perils of Midwifery” (later changed to “The Perils of Homebirth” and even later taken off the internet all together!!) speaking out against the segment’s inaccurate, fear mongering, sensationalized, and outrageous portrayal of midwife-attended homebirth, of midwives in general, and of the families who chose this option. 


Below is the letter attached to the petition.  If you feel the same way please consider SIGNING.   On October 9th, the last day of National Midwifery week, representatives from Choices in Childbirth will deliver the letter and petition to The Today Show at NBC’s headquarters in NYC.  The goal is to get at least 5,000 signatures by October 9th and as of today, the petition already has 3,653!!!


Thank you,





Petition Letter:


Dear NBC Producers,

    We, the undersigned, collectively voice our deepest concerns over what we believe has been a gross misrepresentation both of midwife-attended homebirth and of the women who choose this option.


While empathizing deeply with the McKenzie family and their loss, we are shocked at the way in which NBC’s “Today Show” chose to portray homebirth as dangerous while choosing to ignore ample medical research that demonstrates its safety in the US and in other developed countries around the world. Not only did the producers of the Today Show ignore journalistic due diligence, they also chose to ignore basic rules of fairness by repeatedly citing doctors and the trade union that represents them while denying midwives and their proponents a voice.   This is simply irresponsible journalism, and misleading to your viewers. We expect more from such a well-respected program.

    We stand in support of families who choose to birth their babies at home with a skilled midwife, not for hedonistic reasons, as the Today Show segment so insultingly suggests, but because they truly believe that it is the best option for themselves and their babies. We support women who choose home birth, who are not following a fad, but who are following their hearts and their informed minds to seek a birth that is both safe and healthy. Far from being a recent trend or fashion, midwifery draws on a continuum of knowledge and experience that goes back many centuries. Midwives are well-trained professionals who specialize in normal birth and provide outcomes that are often superior to obstetrician-attended birth. To suggest otherwise is deeply offensive.

The Today Show missed an opportunity to discuss why, despite its near universal reliance on hospital-based, physician-attended obstetric care in birth, America has one of the worst infant mortality rates in the developed world. It missed an opportunity to discuss the reasons why highly educated, thoughtful and responsible women are choosing a home birth with a qualified midwife as an alternative to a hospital birth- an option that other countries have proven again and again costs less money, necessitates fewer c-sections, and provides better outcomes for mothers and babies than our system. The Today Show missed an opportunity to ask why the United States spent $86 billion in 2006 on maternity care that left the US with one of the worst infant mortality rates in the developed world and left women and their families asking for more choices in their maternity care.

Although every infant death is a terrible tragedy, the real scandal about birth in the US lies not in the death of the McKenzie’s baby alone, but in the fact that 13.6 African American babies die for every thousand live births; an infant mortality rate that is triple that of Denmark or South Korea. What is truly shocking is not that a fraction of women choose home birth, but that our international infant mortality ranking has worsened from 12th in the world in 1960 to 29th in 2004 during the same period that our rates of medical intervention in birth have gone up exponentially- Cesarean section rates alone have more than tripled. 

We are passionate about childbirth issues because we know that, like the rest of the healthcare system in this country, there is much room for improvement.  Drawing battle lines between midwives and doctors and terrorizing the public unnecessarily are hardly constructive means to this end. We call on the Today Show to provide the public with the whole story regarding the evidence and viewpoints supporting the choice of midwife-assisted home birth.


We call on the Today Show to choose responsible journalism.






17 Responses to “Sign the Petition! Demand Accurate Reporting of ALL Birth Options!!”

  1. Robyn Says:

    Wish I could sign too – I live in Southern Ontario and get all the major US networks/channels. As a doula in Canada it is difficult enough to find good sources of information, let alone good Canadian-focused information. We see the fall out of this kind of reporting even though both our health care system and midwifery care is different to that in the US. Hope you get much more than the 5,000 signatures you are hoping for.

  2. Kim Says:

    I signed. I had my baby at home on Sept 18th without any complications (! Whoa?!? You mean you can have a baby without a surgeon?!?) and am glad I had the option to do so.

  3. Emily Says:

    Thanks for bringing this to my attention! I’ve signed, and blogged about it as well.

  4. Joy Says:

    Signed without hesitation!

  5. jackie Says:

    I signed and posted to my facebook page. I love your posts and wish that there were more L&D nurses like you. Thank you for keeping us informed.

  6. Bethany Says:

    Just signed! My best friend is going to have her next one at home and I’m so excited for her!

  7. From someone who is planning on an HBAC for my next baby (NOT ANYTIME SOON, THOUGH! :-)), thank you so much for bringing this to my attention!

    I continue to be appalled by the Today Show’s segment…although considering their previous coverage of doulas and of Hanna Rosin’s article on breastfeeding, I guess their irresponsible journalism is not that surprising. In any case, I’m anxious to see how much (if any) coverage the petition itself gets!

  8. Christina Says:

    Did you guys see the article in this month’s Fit Pregnancy about homebirth?? It was actually 100% positive! Crazy!!!

  9. tinyl Says:

    I just wanted to share a link to the segment. Looks like MSNBC still has it on the website
    click the link and the video will play in a separate window.

  10. This is a really good blog post, I located your web page looking around yahoo for a related content and came to this. I couldnt discover to much alternative information on this posting, so it was nice to find this one. I will certainly end up being back to look at some other posts that you have another time.

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