North Carolina vies for title of homebirth death capital

Why are these women smiling?

Shouldn’t self-proclaimed “midwives” Mary Barhite and Jacqueline Proffit look even a tiny bit remorseful or at least sad in the wake of presiding over yet another homebirth death in the state of North Carolina?

Maybe they are smiling because they know it doesn’t matter how many babies die at the hands of self-proclaimed homebirth midwives. Other homebirth midwives and homebirth advocates will support them (possibly even pay their bail and any fines they incur), and no one in the homebirth community will even bother to investigate. That’s what they did for the previous 3 confirmed homebirth deaths that have occurred in North Carolina in this year alone.

That’s right. This is the 4th confirmed homebirth death in NC this year for a rate that is a whopping TEN times higher than the rate of death for comparable risk hospital birth. And that’s only the confirmed cases. I have seen information that there have been as many as three other deaths this year, including one at the hands of the wife of Russ Fawcett, the president of NC Friends of Midwives (the group that held a rally for infamous midwife Amy Medwin, who pleaded guilty to felony charges).

It appears that North Carolina is vying with Oregon, Colorado and Missouri to prove that certified professional midwives (CPMs) the second, inferior class of midwife that exists in no other first world country, should be banned due to the extraordinary number of deaths that have occurred at their hands.

The high and rising homebirth death rate in Colorado is so appalling that homebirth midwives have actually refused to release their death rates for the past year. Evidently, they are taking a page out of the playbook of the Midwives Alliance of North America (MANA), the organization that represents homebirth midwives, who conducted a publicly announced collection of safety data from 24,000 planned homebirths and now are hiding how many deaths occurred at the hands of homebirth midwives.

It is critical to understand that CPMs are a second, inferior class of midwife, ineligible for licensure in ANY other first world country. They lack the education and training required of EVERY other midwife in the industrialized world. Indeed, they don’t even have college degrees. They have a post-high school “certificate.” Many have earned this certificate by correspondence course and even more have earned it without any contact with an educational institution, merely by submitting a “portfolio” of births they have already attended. Simply put, these women are self-described “birth junkies” who couldn’t be bothered to obtain a real midwifery degree.

The latest homebirth death in NC occurred on December 16. According to the Charlotte Observer:

Just before 8 p.m. Dec. 16, police and paramedics were called to a home on Seamill Road, in a neighborhood near the Catawba River. They discovered the newborn unresponsive.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police said it appeared complications had occurred after the baby’s mother participated in a water birth – a method of giving birth in a tub of warm water.

Paramedics performed CPR and then took the baby to Carolinas Medical Center, but the infant soon died.

Homicide detectives, who respond to all infant deaths, said they began investigating and determined that two women were in the home at the time of the birth. Police said they were practicing midwifery but did not have the proper license required by state law. Police arrested Mary Stewart Barhite, 43, of Charlotte, and Jacqueline Lynn Proffit, 45, of Indian Trail, on Friday. They are charged with practicing midwifery without a license – a misdemeanor.

How many babies have to die before homebirth advocates understand that homebirth increases the risk of perinatal death?

How many babies have to die before state officials institute large fines and jail terms for self-proclaimed “midwives” who preside over homebirth deaths, often in direct violation of state law?

How many babies have to die before the Midwives Alliance of North America is forced to publicly acknowledge that they KNOW that homebirth at the hands of a CPM dramatically increases the rate of perinatal death?

Most importantly, how many babies have to die before the American public demands the abolition of the CPM “credential” as grossly inadequate for the safe care of pregnant women and their newborns?

Evidently quite a few. The tiny bodies are piling up in states like North Carolina, Oregon, Missouri and Colorado, and no one seems to care, least of all homebirth midwives and their supporters.

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