Sunday, December 30, 2007
Thursday, December 13, 2007
People in prison are the only group in the United States with a constitutional right to medical care. ... In practice, however, securing needed medical care can be daunting, as numerous lawsuits and investigations attest. Women encounter multiple barriers to care - from co-payments they can ill afford to having to convince a guard that they need to see a doctor. Gynecological and obstetric care is often woefully inadequate. In a nationally representative government study, 20 percent of pregnant women in prison reported getting no prenatal care, and 50 percent of pregnant women in jails went without care.
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Friday, November 23, 2007
My Grandma Pat died this week. I have years and years of Thanksgiving memories of her cooking a turkey and making gravy. One year, not too long ago, she decided she was done cooking. And she quit, just like that. She was like that when she had her mind made up. I'm speaking at the funeral tomorrow and I might post my comments, if I feel like it.
Friday, November 09, 2007
U.S. immigration officials said they have enacted a new policy to show greater consideration for breast-feeding mothers, days after authorities arrested a Honduran woman in Ohio on an immigration violation and separated her from her crying baby.
Sayda Umanzor, 27, admitted to being in the United States illegally when sheriff's deputies and federal agents knocked on the door of a house in Conneaut, Ohio, on Oct. 26.
Umanzor was breast-feeding her 9-month-old daughter, Brittany, at the time, and the baby cried as her parents were led away.
"It was like a piece of me was torn away," Umanzor said Thursday, speaking through an interpreter.
The baby cried incessantly over the next several days as she went without breast milk and Umanzor suffered soreness from engorged breasts.
Greg Palmore, a spokesman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, said the agency approved Wednesday a new policy to address the needs of breast-feeding mothers.
"It basically ensures that you take humanitarian issues involving nursing moms into consideration," he said Friday. "It also ensures we make contact with state social service agencies to address caregiver issues."
In Umanzor's case, the first jail where she was held did not know it had a nursing mother until Monday, when Lucia Stone, a Spanish-speaking representative of the La Leche League of Ohio, alerted them, said jail commander William Schultz.
Schultz said jail officials then accepted a breast pump and tried to work with local Spanish-speaking mothers to get milk to the baby, but the two sides failed to connect, and the milk had to be thrown out.
Umanzor was transferred to a county jail in Tiffin, Ohio, before immigration lawyer David Leopold secured her release Tuesday night. Leopold argued it was inhumane to hold a nursing mother and unnecessary to jail someone who the ICE knew how to find.
Umanzor was permitted to rejoin her children and was fitted with an ankle bracelet that tracks her whereabouts. She is expected to be deported soon.
Umanzor's husband, Marcus Antonio Bejarano, also an illegal immigrant from Honduras, was taken into custody. A 5-year-old son, David, also has been ordered deported. The couple's 9-month-old baby and a 3-year-old daughter, Alexandra, are U.S. citizens.
Sunday, November 04, 2007
With the spectacular growth in the number of homeschooled students, it is becoming more difficult to reach these youth to ensure that they are immunized at all. These children are frequently unvaccinated, leaving them open to infection with diseases that are all but stamped out in the United States with immunization requirements. States should encourage parents to get their homeschooled students vaccinated through enacting the same laws as those used for public school students. This could be done by enforcing current laws through neglect petitions or by requiring that children be immunized before participating in school sponsored programs. As most states require some filing to allow parents to homeschool their children, it would be easy to enact laws requiring that homeschooled children be immunized or exempted before completing registration.
This line of thinking - or rather, illogic - is similar to that of the recent push for a mandated HPV vaccine for school children. The state has an interest in seeing that public school students are vaccinated because in the schools, large numbers of children are congregated in conditions which make it easy for diseases to spread quickly. There is a logical nexus between the state's action (requiring vaccinations) and the context of the requirement (enrolling in school). HPV, however, is not spread by casual contact, so there is no reason to require it in order to enroll a child in school. Likewise, homeschooled children are not more likely to spread diseases while "in school" than anyone else is at any other time. If the government has the authority to require homeschooled children to be vaccinated, does it not then have the authority to require anyone and everyone to be vaccinated?
HT: Saying No To Vaccines
And for a related article, Parents Use Religion to Avoid Vaccines.
Thursday, November 01, 2007
Anyhow, I'm in! If you haven't noticed, I am currently posting maybe every week or two. It's not that there's a lack of important things going which need to be blogged about, either. On the contrary; sometimes I feel overwhelmed by bad news and the amount of cruddy stuff still going on in the world.
I'm qualifying my participation by saying that since I have three blogs, I only plan to post to one of the three each day. Wish me luck!
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
One caveat: looks like the information was compiled from the candidates' websites, speeches, debates, etc. (sources are listed) rather than from questionnaires submitted to the candidates, so one cannot rule out bias on the part of the information-gatherer.
Monday, October 01, 2007
The incident happened in August 2006, but was reported in Japan on Thursday in the wake of the case of a 38-year-old woman who suffered a miscarriage last month after ten hospitals refused to admit her and her ambulance collided with another car.
The cases have raised concerns about shortcomings in emergency care for pregnant women, an growing worry as Japan grapples with declining birthrates - among the lowest in the world - and a burgeoning elderly population.
Last year, a pregnant woman in western Japan died after being refused admission by about 20 hospitals that said they were full.
Saturday, September 22, 2007
I just want to remind the media and all of the Presidential candidates not to dismiss us. We "Mommy bloggers" are a force that can't be denied. We are well educated and vocal. We are doctors and lawyers and journalists and political followers. We care deeply about the future of our children and this country. We have checkbooks and blogs and we aren't afraid to use them.
Take heed, candidates. We may be mothers and we may be women, but we will not be ignored.
Saturday, September 08, 2007
Oh, but the really exciting news (at least to me) is that I finally bought the shirt I have wanted for at least two years. Mine looks just like the photo and has "I Make Milk. What's Your Super Power" embroidered on it. I bought it at Granola Threads, and the owner, Keri, was most helpful in making sure I received it in time for today's event. You can buy shirts with the same slogan at Cafe Press and the like, but they are about as expensive and not nearly such good quality. Plus, it was on sale.
One interesting thing about planning this protest is that I learned a bit more about First Amendment law. Perhaps I should say "re-learned" - I'm pretty sure it was on the bar exam. I interfaced with an assistant city attorney, a police lieutenant, and a patrol officer. I discussed easements. I read through the Arlington Municipal Code and now know how to apply for a parade permit, should I ever wish to organize a parade. I didn't speak to the press, but I learned how to write and send out a press release. And I sharpened my skills at organizing people, by doing it and by watching others do it. I took the lead when no one else was willing. I'm looking at this big picture. I'm adding tools to my toolbox.
Friday, September 07, 2007
Applebee's restaurants are the target of a nationwide protest to take place this Saturday, September 8, 2007, at 12:00 noon (local time), in a response to an incident that took place last June in Kentucky. While discreetly feeding her baby at an Applebee's restaurant, Brooke Ryan was asked to either leave or cover her baby's head with a blanket, in violation of 2006 Ky. Acts, Chap. 80 , which reads in part:
No person shall interfere with a mother breastfeeding her child in any location, public or private, where the mother is otherwise authorized to be.
Shortly following the incident, Ms. Ryan retained the services of a lawyer who contacted Thomas and King, the company that owns and operates the Lexington Applebee's location. Nearly 2 months later, the company responded with a letter stating "we are considering keeping blankets in the restaurants for use by breastfeeding mothers that may not have them readily available,"...
Our Applebee's is not nursing friendly... (Azuroo)
Breastfeeding Advocates Sending Nationwide Message to Applebee's (Breastfeeding 123)
Applebees Hates Babies, Try Hooters Instead (Breeders are Eaters Too!)
Applebee's accuses nursing mother of having "an agenda" (Human Lactation Information)
Applebee’s Nurse-In, Nurse-Out (The International Breastfeeding Symbol)
Breastfeeding nurse-out Saturday (Journal of a North American Celtic Bobtail)
August is World Breast-feeding Awareness Month (Kentucky Women)
Applebee's Ticks off Nursing Moms or "I Won't Be Eating Good at THAT Neighboorhood" (The Lactivist)
Applebee's Nurse In (Mama Knows Breast)
Eating not-so-good in the neighborhood (The Mother Tounge)
Nationwide nurse-ins at Applebee's (Motherwear Breastfeeding Blog)
Eatin’ Good In The Neighborhood? (My Little Tribe)
Applebee's Nurse-in (Nursing Your Kids)
Wear Your Burka if You Want to Nurse at Applebees (The Twinkies)
Eatin’ Stupid in the Neighborhood (Women's Health News)
If I missed anything good, leave me a comment.
Monday, August 27, 2007
I see that there is now a carnival of Moms In Law School. MILS #8 is posted at PT-LawMom. I'm a fan! Personally, law school was difficult enough. I can't imagine doing it and being pregnant or a mom to young children. But I see I have some more bloggers to add to my "Lawyer Moms" list.
Speaking of Carnivals, yours truly is hosting Blawg Review on International Midwives' Day which is, oh, sometime next spring. Last time I hosted, I used a reality-tv theme. If anyone has a great idea for a theme, let me know. Obviously I'm going to talk about the legal status of midwives in the US, but I'll also have quite a few legal posts (ok, most of them) that don't have anything to do with midwifery or childbirth. I just need an organizing scheme to tie everything together...
Friday, August 03, 2007
"A lot of the issues that are the general issues for pregnant women are magnified in prison. For instance, which provider will you choose for pregnancy and childbirth? In prison, you don't get to choose your provider - not being able to choose who attends your birth is a big deal. Up until recently, in the prison we work in, there was only a male doctor available for labor and delivery. But for many women in prison - a huge number of whom have experienced sexual and domestic violence - having a male provider between your legs is not exactly ideal. Another issue is lack of informed consent - the lack of information and resources around having a healthy pregnancy for these women is huge. They just aren't given any information on pregnancy, their health, their bodies. The lack of access to proper nutrition during pregnancy is a big problem - the pregnant women in the prison we work with get "extra canteen" which means they get like an extra pack of Fritos. Also, the lack of access to health care in prison means that, in general, a health issue is not dealt with until it turns into a huge problem. It's a high-risk population anyway because, for the most part, these women lacked proper health care before coming to prison and being pregnant in prison doesn't change that. Also, there is a much higher rate of cesarean sections for women in prison as compared to women on the outside - mostly for the convenience of medical and prison staff."
Also check out this 1997 article by Sheila Kitzinger on the state of pregnant women and mothers in Great Britain.
Tuesday, July 31, 2007
To [Mairi Breen] Rothman, [a nurse-midwife and spokeswoman for the American College of Nurse-Midwives, which does not support unassisted childbirth], Shanley's beliefs underscore a more fundamental problem with maternity care. "To me the really interesting question is, Why would someone go outside the system?" Rothman said. "What is so broken that they don't want to use it?"
[Heather] Jones, the Navy wife, has an answer. Her first delivery in a hospital four years ago was marred by "interventions and interferences based on someone's outside judgment" of how well her labor was progressing, she said. She said she felt pressured to have epidural anesthesia, was not allowed to move around as she wished and was denied access to her baby until he was two hours old because he was being observed by the hospital staff.
Jones said she decided to give birth to her third child unattended after her second was born five minutes after the midwife arrived at her home."
She was like, 'See, you didn't need me,' and I thought, 'You know, maybe I don't,' " she said, as baby Gideon, now 5 months old, cooed in the background.
Saturday, July 21, 2007
Woman wins settlement in breastfeeding case:
Watch-maker and clothier Fossil Inc. agreed to pay $3,600 to a woman who was barred from breast-feeding her infant while visiting a company showroom, the New York Civil Liberties Union said on Tuesday.
Lass King, 37, a buyer for a Maine clothing store and a mother of two, said she received a letter of apology and the payment from Fossil after threatening the company with a lawsuit.
In its letter to King, Fossil also said it had issued a policy affirming that breast-feeding was permitted in all Fossil stores and showrooms, said Galen Sherwin, director of the NYCLU's Reproductive Rights Project.
Representatives of Fossil could not immediately confirm details of the settlement.
New York law states that women are permitted to breast-feed "in any location, public or private, where the mother is otherwise authorized to be."
Hospital told to return placenta to mom:
A woman has won a court fight to keep the placenta after her daughter's birth. She had planned to grind it up and ingest it as a way to fight postpartum depression, but now plans to bury it.
Clark County District Court Judge Susan Johnson granted a preliminary injunction Tuesday, ordering Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center in southern Nevada to return the placenta to Anne Swanson. Hospital officials said they will comply.
Amy Stevens, system vice president for Sunrise Health, which operates Sunrise Hospital, described the ruling as specific to Swanson. She said the hospital must comply with strict regulations in handling human biohazardous waste.
There is no Nevada law prohibiting hospitals from returning placentas to mothers. But several Las Vegas area hospitals told the Las Vegas Review-Journal the organ is usually destroyed unless a physician designates it for medical tests or a patient seeks it for specific religious or cultural reasons.
After numerous complaints, the Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) has changed its policy regarding breastmilk:
TSA is also modifying the rules associated with carrying breast milk through security checkpoints. Mothers flying with, and now without, their child will be permitted to bring breast milk in quantities greater than three ounces as long as it is declared for inspection at the security checkpoint.
Breast milk is in the same category as liquid medications. Now, a mother flying without her child will be able to bring breast milk through the checkpoint, provided it is declared prior to screening.
Under the old TSA rule, pumped breastmilk had to be packaged in 3 oz containers all of which had to fit into one 12 oz ziplock bag. Birth Without Boundaries has assisted many women whose pumped milk was confiscated and dumped by TSA security officers, either because it was not packaged according to regulation or because the TSA officer did not know what the regulation was. All of our complaints to the TSA have gone unanswered, until now.
Judge dismisses Mendon midwife lawsuit:
A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed earlier this year by a former Mendon midwife in a bid to have her license to practice in Vermont reinstated.
Roberta Devers-Scott claimed in the lawsuit that the state violated her due process rights, leading to the revocation of her midwife license. Secretary of State Deborah Markowitz, whose office oversees professional licensing of midwives in Vermont, was among the defendants named in the lawsuit.
Judge J. Garvan Murtha issued a six-page ruling in U.S. District Court in Brattleboro granting a motion filed on the defendants' behalf dismissing the lawsuit, ruling, in part, Markowitz had immunity from the lawsuit.
Michael Sussman, Devers-Scott's attorney, said Friday he planned to appeal the judge's ruling to the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals in New York City.
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
The [Huntington Beach] City Council unanimously voted to ban public nudity during its Monday meeting after a brief debate that resulted in striking portions of the proposed ordinance.
The council decided to limit the law to being nude where it is visible from a public area. They deleted regulations on a women breastfeeding an infant older than age 2, and restrictions on wearing a costume or device that simulated nudity.
The article goes on to say:
This type of ordinance is not new to cities in Orange County. More than half of the cities in the county have approved similar bans on public nudity, said [Police Chief Kenneth] Small.
Friday, July 13, 2007
It is legal for a Florida LM to do a primary VBAC, but it does carry a risk score of 3, which requires a consult from a VBAC friendly doctor. Some midwives who can not get consults have mistakenly told people "its illegal to do VBACs at home" when they mean "it is illegal for me to do VBACs at home because I can not get the proper consult to comply with the law".
So you can legally have a VBAC with a homebirth Licensed Midwife, as long as she obtains a consult from a physician with OB privileges. There is a state risk assessment score for LMs that assigns points for various risk factors, and when your points reach 3 for any reason, you must have a consult with a physician that does obstetrics. A prior c-section scores 3 points for "prior uterine surgery". Prior uterine surgery with a subsequent successful vaginal birth (a secondary VBAC) is only 2 points. So if the mother has no other point scoring risk factors, she will only have a 2, and thus can have a VBAC with out consult. If she smokes, is over/underweight, or has other factors, she will need a consult based on her overall points. The risk assessment is in the rules, which can be viewed online at http://www.doh.state.fl.us/mqa/midwifery/mw_statutes.html under Rules: Chapter 64B24, its a large document and you must scroll down to Chapter 64B24-7, Midwifery until you see the Midwifery Practice Act, which includes the risk assessment. You can also get a risk screening tool from any practicing midwife.
If the midwife also has a birth center, that complicates things further. The birth centers are governed by a separate law, and it says the birth centers can only do VBACS in the birth center if they are participating in the National VBAC study, which has been closed for 7 years. So there has been no way to comply with birth center law, so there is no way to legally do a VBAC in the birth center. But midwives who own birth center will often do VBACs at home, even though they can not do them in the center.
I know an attorney that was drawing up a consent to allow midwives and moms to choose to go outside of the law or rules, as part of the alternative medicine law, but I do not know if anyone actually does that yet.
The American Association of Birthing Centers, the birth center association, is going to open the National VBAC study up again soon, thanks to Charlynn Daughtery a Tampa midwife that own Labor of Love Birth Centers. She has really been a strong VBAC advocate in political circles, working hard to keep VBAC options open at home and birth centers. Once that study open, hopefully in Fall, Florida women will be able to have VBACs in birth centers if the consults are obtained. You can contact them, AABC, to urge them to get the VBAC study opened again.
So, as it stands- in Florida you CAN have a VBAC at home, but not in a birth center, as long as the proper consults are obtained. Many women travel 3 hours or so to get the consult, at around 28 weeks, but you can usually get the consult anytime including preconception. It is generally just a review of your surgical record, and a conversation on risks and benefits.
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
The Australian parliament is debating whether breastfeeding legislators should be given a proxy vote - that is, to have their vote recorded while they are out of the chamber:
The issue of breastfeeding in Parliament made headlines in 2003 when Victorian Labor MP Kirstie Marshall was thrown out of State Parliament for breastfeeding.
Committee members said the debate had resurfaced in light of an increasing number of new mums in the House of Representatives in the past decade.
The committee found only 10 female MPs had given birth while in office - out of a total of about 130 female MPs.
"Women have faced the difficult choice between prioritising their duties as a member with those of being a mother," members said.
Pennsylvania's governor signed that state's breastfeeding legislation. Although breastfeeding advocates would have preferred a stronger bill, it's better than nothing.
A Missouri judge has issued a temporary restraining order blocking implementation of HB 818 which decriminalizes direct-entry midwifery. This bill has caused a lot of controversy. Apparently, it's a circus over there in the Missouri legislature:
A senator secretly attached the provision to a bill intended to make health insurance more accessible to some Missourians. Gov. Matt Blunt signed the bill into law.
Several physician groups sued last Thursday, claiming the midwife language violates the Missouri Constitution by going beyond the bill’s health insurance title and by changing the bill’s original purpose.
The recently passed legislation says that regardless of the current felony statute, anyone with a “tocological certification” — meaning in obstetrics — from a privately accredited group can provide services related to pregnancy.
The title of the bill that passed described it as “relating to health insurance.”
Alabama has voted down its midwifery bill. Try again next year?
Nancy Ver Steegh of The Family Law Prof Blog reports Problems at Center Where Mothers Serve Prison Terms With Young Children:
"The authorities in California are investigating accusations that poor health care at a center where mothers serve prison terms with their young children led to the stillbirth of a 7-month-old fetus and endangered the lives of several children.
Staff logs, statements by prisoners and interviews with investigators, staff members and prisoners’ families depict a facility where inmates and their children were denied hospital visits and medications, and where no one kept adequate records of accidents involving injuries that included a skull fracture and a broken collarbone."
Transparency is suddenly a big deal. This government report follows on the heels of efforts in New York City, and communities across the country, to improve the level of transparency related to childbirth. Giving birth in the dark is an apt metaphor for the current state that women find themselves in when attempting to access information about maternity care. The recent NYC public advocates’ report identified that city hospitals although legally mandated to do so, are still failing to provide maternity information. Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum is working tirelessly to insure that hospitals do what they are legally mandated to do…including reporting induction and cesarean rates.
Friday, June 15, 2007
HOW A BILL BECOMES LAW
The following steps trace the process by which a paternal proclamation becomes law in the Cameron household.
The father of the house issues an executive order that all Saturday activities will be suspended until the garage is cleaned up.
The children form a committee and produce a report finding the order totally unconstitutional, because it violates the "Cruel and Unusual" clause.
The committee report is voided by paternal declaration.
The ruling is appealed under the "This is stupid nobody else has to do this kind of stuff" doctrine of the "Equal Protection" clause. Specific examples are cited of other children who are not cleaning their garages.
The "nobody else has to" doctrine is rejected as having no bearing on the case.
Each child petitions separately for the relief under the "why do I have to do it none of it is my junk" theory.
The father rules that the individuals of the household are a family, that the junk in the garage belongs to the family, and that the family has the responsibility of cleaning it up.
The children attempt to stay the executive order by evading subpoena.
The father retrieves the children from their bedrooms and declares notice properly served.
The children plead pre-existing obligations that preempt the paternal proclamation. The oldest is due at the shopping centre, the middle child has to go to a soccer game, and the youngest is yeah me too.
Clarification is sought from the youngest on which of the two lame excuses is yeah me too: soccer game or the mall?
The youngest says the soccer game.
The father rules the soccer game cannot preempt the garage cleanup.
The youngest says I meant the mall.
The father rules the mall cannot preempt the garage cleanup.
The children pass a resolution that the father is the meanest man in the world.
The father agrees to accept the "meanest man" amendment and calls for an end to the debate.
The children submit an emergency appeal on the grounds that there might be mice living in the garage.
The father issues an executive decree that he has authority over all rodents and that there are no mice in the garage.
The children move for dismissal, claiming they are exempt because they have homework to do.
The father consults the official Cameron family calendar and determines there is another day left in the weekend in which homework can be done.
The children file a grievance with the Supreme Court of the house: their mother. A restraining order is sought prohibiting enforcement of the father's executive order on the grounds that he never listens, he is ruining our lives, he's mean, and if he really wants the garage cleaned up, why doesn't he do it himself?
A constitutional crisis is averted when the wife hands down a decision supporting the father's right to order the children to clean up the garage.
The children declare themselves no longer members of the family. As stateless persons, they are not subject to parental authority.
The father agrees to expedite the emigration of each child on the date they are of age. Until the parents are released by the laws of the locality from their obligations, however, the family members are stuck with each other. Meanwhile, the father identifies further sanctions to be imposed upon delay of compliance with his order, including suspension of telephone privileges.
The teenagers file a brief equating telephone cut-off with capital punishment.
The father further suspends all use of the family automobile until the garage is cleaned up enough to park the car in it.
The children petition for relief from further sanctions by agreeing to clean up the garage.
Thus, with these simple 28 steps, a bill moves through the checks and balances and becomes law.
It may not be the best system, but it's the only one we've got.
Sunday, June 10, 2007
The practice of lay midwifery has been illegal in Wyoming since 2003. However, Wyoming does allow for the practice of midwifery by Certified Nurse Midwives, CNMs. CNMs are registered nurses who have advanced training and skill in care of women and newborns at birth. CNMs are licensed by the Wyoming State Board of Nursing and practice in homes and hospitals.
Gladys Breeden of the Wyoming State Department of Vital Statistics claims to be aware of 8 lay midwives who practice in the State of Wyoming and one certified nurse midwife who practices legally with a Wyoming License. The Department of Vital Statistics is responsible for the filing of birth certificates in Wyoming.
Although the article states that ms. Merrill was denied a court-appointed attorney, my sources inform me that she has now obtained representation.
Tuesday, June 05, 2007
Breastfeeding support groups have condemned the actions of an attendant who fined a mother for parking in a restricted area to feed her child and then took photographs for proof.This incident occurred in Scotland, where anyone who interferes with breastfeeding can be fined up to £2,500 (nearly $5,000). Since Scotland is the first (known) jurisdiction to impose a fine for interfering with breastfeeding, the language of the law (.pdf) could be a model for other jurisdictions to follow:
The warden employed by a national car park management company confronted Jerricah Watson, 19, after she pulled into a permit holders-only bay in the Candle Lane area of Dundee to breastfeed her 14-week-old son Jaksyn.
Ms Watson pulled into the quiet street to get away from the city-centre traffic and said the warden initially said it was okay to feed her child. She said he then took photos and put a ticket on her car.
When she approached the attendant, from Birmingham-based Central Ticketing, which is responsible for policing the parking in the area, he said it was too late to withdraw the ticket. The penalty was for £85 or £60 if paid within two weeks.
"As I'm breastfeeding and therefore my son is fed on demand, I need to stop right away," she said.
"I feel with the government both locally and nationally trying to encourage mums to breastfeed that it was unfair of the man not to take that into account or even bother to ask me to move or give me a few minutes to feed my child."
The incident has alarmed breastfeeding support groups who believe more should be done by government to allow babies to be fed naturally.
Gillian McWhirter, a Scottish breastfeeding support group adviser, said: "This is a very unfortunate situation. There is enough of a problem getting mothers to breastfeed because they are embarrassed to do it in public. But to not just give this woman a ticket but take pictures of her while she was in the car, is quite shocking.
"These kind of situations encourage ignorance over the importance of breastfeeding, which scientific evidence shows decreases the rate of infant illness.
"It is a basic right for a child to receive nutrition and every mother knows that when baby cries, baby has to be fed."
Thyll Buchanan, a registered Scottish breastfeeding network supporter, added: "Young mothers need all the help and support they can to continue to breastfeed. It is safer to pull over and feed a crying baby than to try and continue driving under stressful conditions."
Central Ticketing said it would cancel the ticket if an investigation into the mother's complaint found her story to be true. Part of the inquiry would involve examining pictures taken by the parking attendant.
"We will see if this woman's story stacks up, because the warden would have taken photographs and she would have been in the vehicle," said the spokesman.
"We issue thousands of parking charges a week. Fifty per cent of people send in an appeal. You have to bear in mind of every 10 letters we receive seven or eight of these members of the public are telling lies. We are not saying this woman is. This will be investigated."
Figures released last month show that fewer Scottish mothers are opting to breastfeed despite numerous government campaigns promoting the health benefits.
Last year, only 44.2% of mothers were breastfeeding at the time of a health worker's first visit when the baby is about 10 days old while 36.6% were doing so after six to eight weeks. That compares with 45.1% and 37.2% respectively in 2005.
1 Offence of preventing or stopping a child 5 from being fed milk(1)Subject to subsection (2), it is an offence deliberately to prevent or stop a person in charge of a child from feeding milk to that child in a public place or on licensed premises.
(2) Subsection (1) does not apply if the child, at the material time, is not lawfully permitted to be in the public place or on the licensed premises otherwise than for the purpose of being fed milk.
(3) A person guilty of an offence under subsection (1) is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 4 on the standard scale.
(4) In this section—
"child" means a person who has not yet attained the age of two years;
"feeding" includes—(a) breastfeeding; and"licensed premises" means premises licensed under—
(b) feeding from a bottle or other container;(a) section 12 of the Theatres Act 1968 (c.54);"milk" means breastmilk, cow’s milk or infant formula;
(b) Part II of the Licensing (Scotland) Act 1976 (c.66);
(c) Part II of the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982 (c.45); or
(d) section 1 of the Cinemas Act 1985 (c.13);
"public place" means any place to which, at the material time, the public or any section of the public has access, on payment or otherwise, as of right or by virtue of express or implied permission.
I'm not implying that the parking attendant violated the Scottish law, it just seemed like a good opportunity to blog about Scotland. I like the fact that the statue defines "public place". Although the definition of "public place" is probably well-defined in the case law of US states, the definition was not incorporated into most breastfeeding statues, leading to some confusion among the general public.
Thursday, May 24, 2007
I also updated my links on the right side. I pared down the list of legal blogs and added a section called "Lawyer Moms". If you are a mother and a lawyer (including law student or non-practicing attorney) and blog even a little bit about both, let me know and I'll add your blog to my list.
My next project is to update The Baby Blawg. I want to add a link section there for birth biz blogs, and another for my favorite childbirth, breastfeeding, and baby care websites, as well as recommended reading. That's the plan, anyway.
Wednesday, May 09, 2007
Swanson is now waging a legal battle against Sunrise for possession of the placenta. The hospital normally keeps placentas in cold storage for three days, then disposes of them. According to Swanson, the hospital has informed her that it will not release the placenta without a court order, and will destroy it on May 15th. A pro-placenta rally was held on Monday, May 7, and supporters are planning a push for legislation, similar to that passed by Hawaii last year, which would require hospitals to release non-infectious placentas to patients on request. The Hawaiian statute states:
§321-30 Human placenta. Upon negative findings of infection or hazard after appropriate testing of the mother, the human placenta may be released by the hospital to the woman from whom it originated or to the woman's designee. The department shall establish a release form which shall stipulate appropriate measures for the safe release of human placenta.
I know that stopping the spread of infectious disease is serious business, and proper disposal of hospital waste is an important part of that. We don't want needles and body parts thrown in dumpsters, where they might be discovered by dogs, rats, and homeless people. But look at it this way: Baby comes out of mommy's uterus - baby gets taken home. Placenta comes out of mommy's uterus - placenta gets thrown away. Placenta is infectious waste. Baby isn't. Huh? Yes, I know that the baby is a living, breathing human, and the placenta is an organ. But for some people, placental burial is an important religious or cultural ritual, and for others, it is about having control over one's body and retaining ownership of its products.
Now, to turn to the broader legal question: does a person have a property interest in his or her own cells, organs, or body parts? I'm not going to give this question the full treatment, but the leading case on this issue seems to be Moore v. Regents of University of California, 793 P.2d 479, 51 Cal.3d 120 (1990). In this case, university researchers used tissue taken from Moore's diseased spleen to create a cell line which they later patented. The Supreme Court of California held that Moore did not have property rights to or a financial interest in his cells (Wikipedia). Part of the Court's reasoning was that California statutory law restricts a patient's control over his or her medical waste, citing California Health and Safety Code section 7054.4:
[n]otwithstanding any other provision of law, recognizable anatomical parts, human tissues, anatomical human remains, or infectious waste following conclusion of scientific use shall be disposed of by interment, incineration, or any other method determined by the state department [of health services] to protect the public health and safety."
If you are finding this fascinating, you may want to read Ownership of Human Tissue: A Proposal for Federal Recognition of Human Research Participants' Property Rights in Their Biological Material, Wash. & Lee L. Rev. (Winter 2004). I didn't - it was too long and I dont' have the time. But I did get out my bluebook for that cite, which I'm hoping makes up for the fact that a cited to a Wiki a couple paragraphs ago.
Anyhow, hope that give you something to - er - chew on.
Diva/Mamma (the go-to blog for this case)
Placenta befouled, mom told (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Making pills from placentas (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Action News 13 Las Vegas (video)
Saturday, May 05, 2007
It's a great day to host an event, such as a picnic, lecture, protest, etc. to help raise awareness of midwifery care. The International Confederation of Midwives has some more ideas (.pdf). So if you are part of a consumer, homebirth, or natural parenting group, you might want to start planning something for next year.
The Seattle Midwifery School has information on how you can help a library or bookstore create a display.
Wisconsin has reason to celebrate. Not only did the governor declare May 5th International Midwives' Day, but this week marked the first home delivery by a licenced midwife since that state's newly-enacted regulatory scheme went into effect. Congratulations to Wisconsin midwives and midwifery supporters for all their hard work.
Louisa at Mama (Mid)Wife Madness answers the question "Why does the world need midwives?".
Sunday, April 29, 2007
Thursday, April 19, 2007
Apparently, there was some confusion over whether the dad was kidnapping the baby, or just leaving the hospital AMA.
Sunday, April 15, 2007
La Leche League maintains a Summary of Proposed Breastfeeding Legislation; however it is not as complete as one would like.
Texas - The September, 2006 issue of ParentWiseAustin covered the state's NIP statute thoroughly:
What’s the big deal about breastfeeding in public? The law, that’s what. Although it protects a woman’s right to breastfeed in Texas, few folks know about it and, even if they do, they don’t necessarily have to follow it. We explain why beginning on page 8.
Also, the Texas DSHS has a number of brochures and other breastfeeding information which can be ordered or downloaded, including a "licence to breastfeed in public" card.
Wisconsin - Assembly Bill 104/Senate Bill 30 would guarantee the right to breastfeed in public and put in place a fine not to exceed $200 for interfering with a breastfeeding mother. Also, the city of Madison approved a breastfeeding ordinance in January.
Internationally, Chile passed a law this year giving mothers the right to breastfeed their child at work; and the city of Toronto is hoping to raise public awareness of the protected nature of nursing in public.
Saturday, April 14, 2007
Licensed Midwife and Nurse Practitioner Marcia McCulley of Simi Valley, California was arrested on March 14th at her office for practicing medicine without a license. According to eyewitness accounts, agents from the LA County Sheriff's office entered the premesis, where clients with babies were present, with guns drawn. Pursuant to a search warrant, patient charts were seized (anyone know the HIPPA ramifications?). Ms. McCulley seems to be in trouble with both the California state Nursing and Medical boards. You can read about it on the birth center's website.
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
Monday, March 12, 2007
Sunday, March 11, 2007
This past week in Massachusetts, most of the 361 workers picked up in a raid at a New Bedford leather-goods factory that made vests and backpacks for the U.S. military were women with children, setting off what Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick called a "humanitarian crisis."
Community activists scrambled to locate the children, offer infant-care tips to fathers unfamiliar with warming formula and changing diapers, and gather donations of baby supplies. One baby who was breast-feeding had to be hospitalized for dehydration because her mother remained in detention, authorities said.
Child-care arrangements had to be made for at least 35 youngsters.
Officials of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement division released at least 60 of the workers who were sole caregivers to children, but more than 200 were sent to detention centers in Texas and New Mexico.
Friday, February 16, 2007
Federal (US) - The Midwifery Care Access and Reimbursement Equity Act of 2007 (HR 864/S.507) would "amend title XVIII of the Social Security Act to provide for reimbursement of certified midwife services and to provide for more equitable reimbursement rates for certified nurse-midwife services."
Illinois - SB 385 would provide for the licensure of direct-entry midwives. I'm not hearing a lot of buzz about this one.
Indiana - A Midwifery Licensure Bill, HB 1238, is scheduled to be heard by the Committee on Public Health on Monday morning. Quick! Contact your legislator!
Missouri - SB 303 and HB 503 provide for the licensure of direct-entry midwifery. The bill defines "direct-entry midwife" as one licensed as a Certified Professional Midwife by NARM. Currently, the unlicensed practice of midwifery in Missouri is a felony.
North Dakota - SB 2377 was originally a bill making it a Class B Misdemeanor for a person to provide obstetrical services without a license; however it now appears to be a bill providing for a legislative council study "of the provision of obstetrical services by laypeople."
South Dakota - HB 1207, the bill to regulate direct-entry midwifery seems to be dead. HB 1267 would remove the requirement that Certified Nurse-Midwives have a written collaborative arrangement with a physician, which would in effect allow CNMs to attend homebirths.
Utah - SB 243 would amend Utah's Direct-Entry Midwife Act by defining what constitutes a “normal” pregnancy, labor and delivery; and clarify when consultation or transfer is required. Opponents of the bill say that the language is too restrictive, and would effectively end homebirth in the state for all but a handful of women. The Mommy Blawger thinks that legislators, the vast majority of whom have neither given birth nor delivered a baby, are not qualified to define "normal" birth by any stretch of the imagination.
Know of any legislation that I've missed? Shoot me a comment or an email.
Thursday, February 15, 2007
Saturday, February 03, 2007
While I was funking, I got scooped on The Lactivist/Pork Board brouhaha by my fellow blawgers. I mean, any story that contains the words "lawyer" and "breastmilk" has Mommy Blawger written all over it, so to speak. Don't ya think?
On to the story... The Lactivist runs a CafePress store where she sells t-shirts and bumper stickers and such with catchy lactivism phrases such as "Eat at Moms" and "The Other White Milk".
Seems that the National Pork Board, owner (or not?) of the trademark "The Other White Meat", is concerned about trademark infringement and dilution. They sent a nice long cease and desist letter to the Lactivist, who posts here and updates here. To make a long story short, The Lacitivst got lawyered up, all you bloggers and lactivists out there got really busy (Information Week described it as "National Pork Board Stumbles Into Hornet's Nest Of Bloggers"), Cafe Press pulled the slogan immediately so it was a non-issue anyway, and, most satisfactorily, the CEO of the Pork Board issued an apology. All in just three days. Whew.
Lactivist Amy Philo wrote an absolutely hilarious letter to the Pork people.
In addition to a ton of mommy bloggers (including former lawyer Andi Silverman of Momma Knows Breast), lawyers Denise Howell, Ann Bartow of the Feminist Law Professors, and Ted Frank of Overlawyered, all mentioned the situation, and Marty Schwimmer is responsible for the memorable phrase, "Don't send a demand letter to a blogger if the subject matter is breasts, as they make for good copy."
Kaimipono Wenger of Concuring Opinions summed it up best: "Overall, I can't say that this was a bad legal decision. Just a very bad business decision." No kidding.
Saturday, January 20, 2007
Here are just a few of the reasons why charging more for serving breastmilk is absurd:
It's safe and requires no special storage. The Centers on Disease Control (CDC) states that breastmilk is not considered a hazardous bodily fluid (something requiring "universal precautions" in health care-speak). As such, it requires no separate storage, protection, or handling by a child care provider.
It's easy. Breastmilk is no more complicated to serve than formula, and does not require mixing and measuring as formula does.
It saves them money. Babies receiving pumped milk are less likely to be sick, which means less disease spread among children in the center, and less absences for both babies and staff. This reduces a center's cost of operation.
Babies are happier and less messy at day care. Breastmilk is more easily digested than formula, so breastfed babies are less fussy, spit up less frequently, and have less diarrhea - all things you want to avoid if you are a day care provider.
A staggering 42,000 women died in childbirth last year, compared with fewer than 1,000 a decade ago.
"Being pregnant in Africa is like having an unknown disease," says Zambian mother Alice Tembo, referring to many of her compatriots' lack of basic knowledge about pregnancy and childbirth.
She has recently given birth without any complications, which is exceptional in a country where the maternal mortality ratio is 728 per 100,000 live births.
However, Zambia's maternal death rate is still lower that the rate for the whole of the sub-Saharan African region, which stood at a shocking 920 per 100,000 live births in 2000 according to the United Nations Statistics Division.
Internationally, sub-Saharan Africa has by far the highest ratio of maternal deaths. It is more than double the rate for the world as a whole, which is 400 deaths per 100,000 live births.
During childbirth on Oct. 8, Methodist officials said, Baise received the wrong dose of an epidural painkiller. In one hour, she got a dose that was supposed to be given over 10 to 12 hours. Initially, it left her unable to walk and with severely limited leg movement.
Attorney Nathaniel Lee, who represents the family, is seeking damages. He submitted a complaint on Oct. 20 to the Indiana Department of Insurance against the anesthesiologist, Dr. Gloria Lee, and Clarian Health Partners. The doctor did not return calls, and her attorney, Daniel Fagan, declined to comment.In Indiana, patients must first go through a complaint process and wait for a ruling from a physicians panel before filing a malpractice lawsuit.Bill Stephan, senior vice president for corporate communications at Clarian, said in October, "We believe human error entered into the equation."
Friday, January 12, 2007
The state revoked the midwife's license in December 2004 after an 11-month investigation into her conduct during two births in which one baby died and another suffered alleged brain damage.Devers Scott appealed to Washington County District Court and then to the Supreme Court saying an administrative law officer was wrong to conclude that she had violated midwifery and state professional conduct rules.
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
Diane Goslin, a Strasburg, Pennsylvania midwife with more than 20 years (and thousands of babies) of experience, will stand trial before the State Board of Medicine at the Harrisburg State Courthouse on Friday, January 26 at 9:30 AM. She is being charged with practicing medicine without a license, practicing nurse-midwifery without a license, holding herself out as a nurse-midwife and holding herself out as practicing medicine.
Also, Judy Wilson's court date is scheduled for January 30th. If I am reading this correctly, the hearing is the continuation of oral arguments on a Writ of Habeus Corpus. January is looking to be a big month for midwifery in Pennsylvania, a state which was considered "legal" for direct-entry midwifery before 2004.
Friday, January 05, 2007
While the ordinance overwhelmingly passed the county board, there is a similar measure currently in committees of the Madison City Council as well as the state Legislature.
There are consequences for a violation of the ordinance. Anyone who violates the law could be subject to a fine ranging from $10 to $100, WISC-TV reported.