Sunday, November 30, 2008


Poland debates paying for childbirth pain meds

From Anna Wilkowska-Landowska ("Poland Says No to Pain-Free Childbirth"), the Polish health system no longer plans to pay for childbirth drugs. The Ministry of Health Director suggested (in an article in a Polish newspaper) that not only can the state budget not afford to ensure free anesthetization during childbirth to all Polish women, but that there are not enough anesthesiologists in Poland. Says Wilkowska-Landowska:
In Western European countries, as well as in Poland's neighboring countries, childbirth anesthetization is considered a standard service provided to women. The question becomes, then, why do Polish women have to pay for it? This situation divides the Polish women into two groups: those who can afford to pay for anesthetization and those who cannot afford to pay for something to which they are entitled.
The article also mentions that since the Polish government is encouraging families to have more children, the Minister's statements only make the decision to have a baby more difficult for women.

Well, I guess it's another strike against socialized medicine.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

NaBloPoMo - almost there!

Well, twenty-nine straight days of blogging, and I've run out of steam. Tomorrow we'll celebrate (it's also my birthday), but for now I'm going to get some sleep.

Thursday, November 27, 2008


Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! I'm thankful for the fact that it's NaBloPoMo and I'm still technically in the game.

From Thanksgivings past, I bring you What To Do With Leftover Turkey and Leftovers (or, a Tale of two grandmas). Don't forget to watch the Thanksgiving Day Parade!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Birth Center Grand Opening - Cleburne, Texas

If you live near the Dallas/Ft. Worth metroplex - particularly the southwesternmost portion - you might want to check out the newest birth center:
We are thrilled to announce the Grand Opening Celebration of Edenway's Cleburne Birthing Center on Saturday, December 6, 2008 from 11am to 4 pm at 805 N Main, Cleburne, Texas 76033. Come see how we can help you achieve the birth you desire. Meet our staff! Tour our facility! Bring the whole family for FREE refreshments! FREE pregnancy testing! FREE chair massages! Door prizes! Kids' jump house! Free info about natural childbirth, waterbirth, fertility health, baby slings, massage, herbs, birth photography, and chiropractic care in pregnancy… This will be a fun event for the entire family! Visit us at or call 817-558-BABY for more information.

Friday, November 21, 2008

New ABA Poll on the job market and the economy

The ABA Journal is surveying lawyers about the job market and the current state of the economy. Results will be published in the January edition of the Journal.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Homeschooling and Vaccinations under the Obama administration

I guess this is the sort of question that everyone is asking these days. Yesterday I received a flyer in the mail advertising a seminar for estate planning professionals on how to advise their clients in light of the incoming administration. Of particular interest to my readers is how the Obama presidency will impact home schoolers and "mandatory" immunization programs. (If you have any input or links regarding midwifery, homebirth, or breastfeeding, please feel free to post in the comments; however, they tend to be state issues and I haven't heard any buzz about these topics).

Homeschooling - The Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) recently sent out an e-lert on the subject of what to expect under an Obama administration. It states, "Despite HSLDA's efforts prior to the election to get an official statement from the Obama campaign regarding their position on homeschooling, we received no response." It goes on to mention the Democratic Party's support of the National Education Association (NEA) and public education in general, but asserts that the Federal government has no constitutional authority over home education. Of greater concern, perhaps, is the possibility that the United States under Obama will ratify the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, a move which HSLDA opposes.

The blogger at Obama States of America has done quite a bit of research. Rational Jenn critiques the HSLDA position. And then there are Homeschoolers for Obama ("because there is no such thing as 'the homeschool vote'").

Vaccinations - Before the election, Autism activist Becky Estepp contacted the Obama and McCain campaigns regarding the candidates' positions on the issue of vaccine safety. The McCain campaign responded with a statement that "John McCain believes in the right for individuals and in the case of children, parents, to make informed health care decisions, and does not support pre-empting these prerogatives." Obama, however, responded only with a general letter about autism which did not address the issue of vaccine safety or parental choice. However, according to New Jersey mom Claudine Liss who asked Obama point-blank about his stance, Obama replied, "I am not for selective vaccination. I believe it will bring back deadly diseases, like polio." More details are available from Age of Autism (McCain Addresses Vaccine Safety, Obama Silent, McCain Senior Policy Advisor Responds To Autism Questionnaire, and McCain or Obama: Who Will Reform Vaccine Safety?); Inside Autism (The autism election and McCain supports vaccine choice) and the Oct. 23, 2008 press release.

While the issue of mandatory immunizations and exemptions are currently a matter of state law, the federal government does have a role to play in funding vaccine safety research, enacting legislation exempting vaccine manufacturers from tort liability, the availability of military exemptions, and so forth. In addition, there are Constitutional issues involved in religious exemptions (the Equal Protection clause) and the reach of state vaccination requirements, for example to private schools which do not receive government funding, which could be decided by presidentially-appointed federal judges.

For my part, just because we have elected a president who does not appear to share my views on issues that I am passionate about (namely, the right of citizens to make healthcare and educational decisions on behalf of themselves and their children without government interference) does not mean that The End is upon us. Of course, we must be eternaly vigilant in guarding our precious rights and liberties. Fortunately - in this case at least - government is a slow-moving beast, and I have come to the conclusion that one man cannot screw things up so bad that we cannot get it fixed four or even two years from now.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Baby, You're Home

The New York Times published a piece on homebirth this week ("Baby, You're Home") which is getting good reviews in my normal-birth circles, though it was inexplicably placed in the "Home & Garden" section of the paper. It seems that while homebirths are up all over the country, the biggest surge seems to be in New York, according to local midwives and sellers of birth tubs. according to the article, this may be due, in part, to the impact of last year's documentary The Business of Being Born, which was filmed in New York City. Actual statistics on this won't be available for several more years, though.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Doctors 'in denial' about safe home births

Australian doctors are "in denial"about safe home births, according to an article in the Australia and New Zealand Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology:
And in the absence of publicly funded homebirthing programs, women who cannot afford private midwives are increasingly opting for unassisted homebirths, says Lareen Newman, a researcher in the department of public health at Flinders in Adelaide... When obstetricians point out the real risks of this trend, women may believe they are ‘crying wolf’ because of their unfounded opposition to safe homebirths, she writes.

She calls on RANZCOG [the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology] to acknowledge the evidence for homebirths and support public homebirth programs in its revised statement expected next month.

Good luck with that.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund

If you are interested in topics such as consumers' access to raw milk and other farm-fresh products, and the regulation of small farms in general, check out the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund and related organizations, the Farm-to-Consumer Foundation and the Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Minimum Length of Hospital Stays

The Raising Women's Voices blog notes that new federal regulations take effect January 1, 2009 for group health plans and health issuers concerning minimum length of hospital stays for mothers and newborns following childbirth. The regulations can be found here: 73 FR 62410 (.pdf).