Midwives Alliance of North America (MANA) reduces baby’s death to “unfortunate birth outcome”

Every time I think MANA can sink no lower in its willingness to hide and otherwise ignore the many homebirth deaths that occur at the hands of CPMs, they surprise me and sink lower still. From the Sept 2012 MANA Newsletter:

Michigan midwives have been bearing the brunt of a difficult series of articles and editorials in the state capital’s Lansing Journal. On the heels of that, this new and terrible proposed legislation seemingly has come as a knee-jerk reaction to an unfortunate birth outcome. Long without licensure or legal status on which to rely, Michigan midwives are facing fundamental challenges that demand enormous energy and coordination.

No, it’s not an “unfortunate birth outcome.” The death of Magnus Snyder is a horrific and utterly preventable tragedy. I suppose it stands to reason that an organization that hides its own perinatal death rates would also refuse to accord Magnus the respect of mentioning his name and possibly even pretending to regret the fact that he lost his life.

No, that’s apparently too much to expect from a group of birth junkies who made up a pretend midwifery credential and awarded it to themselves, who reject any form of regulation and who seek licensure for no other reason than to be able to bill insurance companies.

The birth junkies of MANA are currently holding their annual meeting in California. I wasn’t invited to address them personally (surprise!) so I will take this opportunity to address them in writing.

To all the women of MANA, from the cluless individual practitioners on up to the self-serving, immoral leadership, I have this to say:

I sincerely hope that 2012 will be the year that will be remembered as the beginning of the end for MANA and the second class of grossly undereducated and grossly undertrained “midwives” that it represents.

We have a long way to go in following Canada’s example of abolishing the CPM credential as inadequate, but we have made a good start.

Magnus Snyder’s parents filed a multimillion dollar lawsuit in the wake of his death and as a result, the Greenhouse Birth Center is closing and the midwives are filing for personal bankruptcy.

Abel Anderson’s parents included the State of Oregon in the multimillion dollar suit they filed after their son suffered a serious brain injury. That has drawn the attention of Oregon officials who are finding out that homebirth midwives are a major liability.

Michelle Goldberg wrote a widely read, powerful piece in The Daily Beast exposing the dangers of homebirth, the very dangers that MANA is trying so desperately to hide. The response by homebirth advocate Jennifer Block was pathetic in the extreme and utterly dismantled by Goldberg in a follow up article.

An Idaho birth center was slapped with a $5 million verdict and the midwives involved lost their licenses.

The newspapers have carried many stories of homebirth deaths, the most recent only last week when a NJ homebirth midwife presided over a homebirth death despite the fact that her license had been revoked.

Despite desperate efforts on the part of Colorado midwives to hide their hideous death rates, the data was obtained through the Colorado Open Records Act and showed an appalling death rate nearly triple that of the state as a whole.

There are other things that didn’t happen, and will almost certainly come back to haunt CPMs. There were ZERO efforts by CPMs to investigate any of the many homebirth deaths; instead, in some of the more egregious cases, homebirth midwives held rallies to support colleagues who had been arrested, who had presided over multiple deaths, and who had already pled guilty to felonies.

In the 6 years that I have written about homebirth I have never been more optimistic about the prospect of legislating the criminally inadequate CPM credential out of existence. I have never been more optimistic that homebirth midwives will be held responsible for the preventable deaths that occur over and over and over again at their hands. I have never been more optimistic that homebirth midwives will incur massive financial penalties for their horrific incompetence.

Ironically, it is their desire to make more money by popularizing homebirth that will do them in. They were safe so long as they cared only for true believers, but now that homebirth is chosen by ordinary women, it is getting harder and harder to hide the deaths. There are more of them and the parents are not content to pretend that “some babies die.”

Of course, success at holding homebirth midwives accountable won’t bring Magnus back and won’t heal the hole in his parents’ hearts. It is beyond anyone’s power to do that, but as long as I can write I will do my level best to make sure that the babies who are victims of these tragedies will not be reduced to “unfortunate birth outcomes.” They are people; they died unnecessarily, and the incompetent self-proclaimed “midwives” who are responsible for these tragedies must be held accountable.


Addendum:Let MANA members know how you feel about homebirth deaths. Use Twitter to demand that these deaths be investigated;  you can remember individual babies by name. Be sure to include #MANA12 in your tweet and it will automatically be added to the Twitter feed created by MANA conference participants.