Sunday, August 20, 2006

Breastfeeding Legal Update - Nurse-Ins in New York, Texas

Lots of activity on this topic lately.

In New York, a Nurse-In was planned this week after a woman at the Longwood Public Library was asked to "cover up":
New York State law on breast-feeding established in 1992 "guarantees a mother the right to breast feed her baby in any location, public or private, where the mother is otherwise authorized to be, irrespective of whether or not the nipple of the mother's breast is covered during or incidental to breast feeding."

"I explained to her I wouldn't cover up and that she was being unlawful," Ms. Neary-Wood said. "I told her that now when people complain [about women breast-feeding in the library], she'll have something to tell them and no other woman will be harassed or asked to leave a program."

Library director David Clemens told The Sun Thursday "the library follows the law."

But Ms. Neary-Wood and friend Kristen Ferrara of Rocky Point, who was also breast-feeding at the class, say that's not what Mr. Clemens told them June 30.

The two allege Mr. Clemens told them "we don't have to follow the law" and that the public library is "not a public place." His explanation of this statement, they say, is that the library is governed by a board of directors.

I mean, of all the places one would expect to be able to brestfeed without being harrassed, it would be Storytime. That's almost like being asked to cover up at a La Leche League meeting. Sheesh. (Link)

In Buda, Texas, Breastfeeding fans still want apology:
During the citizen comment period, Michelle and Jason Hickey and many others spoke about the breastfeeding incident at Kyle Pool.

"All my wife was doing was breastfeeding her child," Jason Hickey said. "The people that were involved basically looked for a reason to tell my wife, 'Oh, you were in the wrong,' when she was never in the wrong."

At least five other citizens said they felt Hickey was treated unfairly and deserved an apology.
I didn't see any articles about the original incident, but you get the general idea.

And close to home, a Dallas mother was kicked out of Gutmann's Home Furnishings on Inwood Road for breastfeeding. Worse, when she called the police, the officer sided with the furniture store owner. The Dallas Police Department is reviewing the case. A Nurse-In took place on Saturday, and you can watch the Fox News Broadcast online. Double kudos to Fox4 News for not only showing the mom discreetly breastfeeding, but also for quoting the Texas statute in their coverage.

Related post: Lactivism, Nurse-ins, and Victoria's Secret

Group Urges Disaster Planning for Pregnant Women, Babies

Link: Group Urges Disaster Planning for Pregnant Women, Babies (The Washington Post)

In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, the lack of emergency preparedness guidelines for pregnant women, infants and new mothers in the United States became apparent.
"Pregnant women face greater risks -- like premature births, low-birth-weight babies and infant deaths -- during the stressful conditions of a disaster. This can make delivering a child difficult and potentially life-threatening," said Theresa Shaver, executive director of the District-based White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood.
The article goes on to note:
The alliance believes that disaster situations call for a shift in the thinking of American women, who generally expect to give birth in a hospital or clinical setting. In the early phase of a disaster, officials said, births will often take place outside a health facility and without the assistance of trained health personnel.

"We will be in situations where there are no health-care facilities. In fact, if there is a pandemic flu, a hospital is not where you take a pregnant woman or an infant to," said Robbie Prepas, a certified midwife who heads disaster preparedness at the American College of Nurse-Midwives. During Katrina, Prepas helped many pregnant women with deliveries in airports and ambulances.

"We will have to retrain care providers to be comfortable with assisting deliveries outside hospitals," she said.

Commercial Discharge Bags, Healthcare Laws, Regulations, Guidelines, and Compliance has an interesting post on "Commercial Discharge Bags" (you know, those free diaper bags with a can of formula in them that they give you when you have a baby in the hospital) in relation to Healthcare Laws, Regulations, Guidelines, and Compliance. Included is a discussion on the Federal Anti-Kickback Statute, Federal Antitrust Laws, the PhRMA Code, and HIPPA.

Midwifery Legal Update - Indiana

Indiana resident Doris White was permanently enjoined this week from practicing midwifery. White was indicted in November 2005 by a grand jury on a felony charge of practicing midwifery without a license.

Judge tells midwife to stop practice (Reporter-Times)
Midwife ordered to stop delivering babies (Indy Star)

EMTALA, Nurse-Midwives, and "False" Labor

The Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA) regulations have been modified to define labor as follows:
"a woman experiencing contractions is in true labor unless a physician, certified nurse-midwife, or other qualified medical person acting within his or her scope of practice as defined in hospital medical staff bylaws and State law, certifies that, after a reasonable time of observation, the woman is in false labor."
Previously, a physician's certification was necessary to determine that a woman was not in "true" labor. The new regulation acknowleges the role of midwives in hospital-based maternity care.

Link: U.S. Newswire

Abraham Cherrix Case

The Family Law Prof Blog reports that the Battle over Teenager's Choice of Medical Treatment is Settled.

The Bioethics Blog weighs in.

And Spunky Homeschool says there ought to be a law.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Midwifery Legislative Update

Birth and Breastfeeding News reports that efforts are underway in Alabama, North Carolina, Idaho, South Dakota, Illinois, Kentucky, Georgia, Missouri, and Indiana to legalize/regulate the practice of direct-entry midwifery:

Legalization and licensure of CPM practices in all these states would represent a massive legislative victory for advocates of traditional home birth.

It would also be a startling rebuke to the many physicians who have long maintained that such practices are unsafe, despite growing statistical evidence that suggests CPM-supervised home births are as safe – sometimes safer – than hospital births.

Well-organized opposition within medical lobbying groups makes such a one-sided result unlikely within the next two years, Ms. [Ida] Darragh says. But, when asked if the flurry of activity in the nation’s statehouses is indicative of a national trend in support traditional childbirth methods, she adds: "We certainly hope so."

As with many health issues, the debate about CPMs may seem arcane to non-experts. The debate is a minefield of acronyms, and home births account for just 1 to 3 percent of all births in an average year, with similar percentages in each state.

Yet the debate casts in sharp relief a philosophical tug-of-war over the nature of childbirth that powerfully affects how expectant mothers approach the ordeal of birth.
ACOG, a "well-funded proponent of childbirth in the hospital setting, opposed the Wisconsin reform, publishing a position paper stating that CPM-supervised home birth 'cannot be considered safe'", despite numerous studies to the contrary. However,
Asked to provide any statistical evidence contradicting such studies, for the sake of this story, ACOG sent none but e-mailed two policy statements further explaining the organization's position on the certification of midwives.