The shameless tactics of Russ Fawcett and the North Carolina Friends of Midwives

How do homebirth midwives and their supporters handle their mistakes? They bury them, of course.

It has belatedly occurred to Russ Fawcett, President of the North Carolina Friends of Midwives (NCFOM), that the arrest of a homebirth midwife* in the wake of the death of one baby and the serious injury of another is perhaps not the most persuasive reason for legalizing homebirth midwives.

In the wake of his bone headed move sending out a 450 NCFOM word press release without devoting a single word to the baby still hospitalized and still fighting for its life, Russ has rushed to compound the damage with an even more bone-headed “urgent message” to the NCFOM mailing list.

URGENT Request

This message in being sent to all NCFOM members.

The leadership of NCFOM is moving to change the direction of the media. We will be crafting a new press release that is ENTIRELY focused on Wednesday’s Birth Freedom March and legislation, with NO mention of the investigation.

At this time, please STOP ALL COMMUNICATION WITH ALL MEDIA INQUIRES that may arise that have any connection with Amy. Direct all media inquiries to myself ( and Amber Craig (

Friends – I think this has been very successful, but not without concern over worsening Amy’s circumstance. Nevertheless, there is a lot of positive press out there, and some negative, but had we done nothing, it could have been all negative.

Please DO NOT CONTACT OR DISCUSS with any media outlets until further notice. This includes leaving comments on newspaper, television and other media’s web pages. It would be better to miss an opportunity at turning around a bad article, or celebrating a good one, than to negatively affect our need to now change the conversation. Please direct any questions about media to myself, or Amber Craig.

I love your enthusiasm! Please help to make our Birth Freedom Walk NCFOM’s biggest event ever. There is lots to do to prepare for Wednesday and we can ONLY do it wit YOUR help. Get on our Yahoo group and get involved. If you are not yet a member of the Yahoo group, please email Rebecca Walton ( so that she can invite you.


As I wrote just last week:

That is what is known as “reframing the conversation.” North Carolina homebirth advocates aren’t going to persuade anyone of anything by discussing the babies injured under the care of CPMs. They don’t even bother to try to justify the conduct of the CPM, her medical judgment (or lack thereof), or the appropriateness of a homebirth in either case. That argument is a total loser, so effort is expended to divert attention from the homebirth disasters.

Once again there has been a homebirth disaster (actually multiple disasters) and NFCOM is following the homebirth playbook. But this time, no one should let the NCFOM get away with it.

How about sending emails to Russ and Amber to let them know precisely what we think of the shameless attempt to bury the babies hurt by homebirth, both literally and figuratively? For those who live in North Carolina, it may be helpful to pass on Russ’ message in full to your state legislator. And it can’t hurt to send a copy to any newspaper or TV station covering the arrest of the midwife or the forthcoming rally to alert them to the deliberate attempt to manipulate press coverage.

It is time to put an end to the legalization of a second, inferior class of midwife, with less education and training than any other midwives in the industrialized world. The evidence of their incompetence continues to mount. Indeed, their own organization, the Midwives Alliance of North America (MANA), spent 8 years collecting safety data on homebirth midwives and is now refusing to to release the number of babies who have died at the hands of homebirth midwives. They, too, are trying to bury the incompetence of homebirth midwives.

The behavior of NCFOM is repugnant. First they planned a rally in support of a homebirth midwife who has been arrested twice and involved in the serious injury of two babies and the death of a third. Then when their callousness was exposed they had two options: acknowledge the injuries and investigate the midwife or ignore the injuries and hope that no one else will notice. When faced with a choice between protecting babies or protecting themselves, they chose themselves.

*American midwives who hold a post high school certificate (CPMs and LMs), as opposed to American certified nurse midwives and European, Canadian and Australian midwives who have university degrees. American homebirth midwives have less education and less training than ANY midwives in the industrialized world.