The question I’d like to ask Melissa Cheyney, Wendy Gordon and the other executives of the Midwives Alliance of North America

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If I were able to address Melissa Cheyney, Wendy Gordon and the other executives of the Midwives Alliance of North America face to face (not likely, since they would run screaming from any possibility of appearing in the same venue as anyone with actual medical knowledge), I’d ask them one simple question:

How do you sleep at night?

How do you sleep at night when you know that you are deliberately concealing the hideous death rates of babies born at the hands of homebirth midwives?

I wonder how you rationalize it.

Are you like the executives at Merck who apparently rationalized hiding the deadly side effects of Vioxx by thinking of the profits to be made from unsuspecting patients?

Or do you think that the ends justify the means? Is it more important to you to protect that ability of self-proclaimed “midwives” to get their birth junkie fix, and get paid for it, than to protect the babies who die preventable deaths at homebirth?

Or maybe you simply pretend those dead babies don’t exist, so you don’t have to think about them. That tactic, as reprehensible a view as it is for any health provider to choose, would make me feel better about you than if I thought that you were merely callously ignoring them.

Have you convinced yourself that it is okay to lie about deaths at homebirth in both scientific papers and MANA publications because you believe in your heart of hearts that all the data that you and many other researchers have accumulated on homebirth deaths is actually wrong? That if you just keep collecting statistics long enough you will finally prove what you already “know,” that homebirth is safe?

I suppose that one thing that makes it easier for you folks is you insistence on surrounding yourselves with flunkies who are eager to agree with whatever lie you dream up. And it certainly makes it easier if the only people you have to convince about the safety of homebirth are people incapable of understanding the data for themselves.

I imagine that if you actually deigned to appear in a venue where you could be questioned by other medical professionals, not only would your claims be thoroughly eviscerated, but you might come face to face with the reality of what you have been facilitating, the deaths of babies who didn’t have to die. Maybe that would dent your resolve to keep hiding and lying.

Your latest gambit, the MANA statistics paper, does not seem to be working out very well.

I suspect that you thought that if you just hid the hospital death rate, you could convince everyone that the hideous homebirth death rate was actually an indication of safety. I guess you thought that they would promptly forget that you had been hiding those same numbers for 5 years, an indisputable indication that even you recognized the death rates as hideous. Maybe you figured you could send a few flunkies out to lie about the CDC Wonder database or anything else that it might be convenient to lie about. And no doubt you were relying heavily on the basic ignorance and seemingly endless gullibility of most homebirth advocates, professional or otherwise

But it hasn’t really worked, has it? Sure the gullible are willing to believe, but you knew that would happen. The problem is that no one else believes you. It was your misfortune to finally publish your data at the same time that other obstetricians published theirs. And although you hid the hospital death rate, they didn’t, thereby making it available to the public. And, unfortunately for you, the obstetricians found almost the same death rate at homebirth as you did; but they put it into the context of the hospital death rate making your claims look foolish at best and deliberately mendacious at worst.

You are going to lose this battle to hide accurate information from American women. Maybe not in the near future, but definitely in the not too distant future. It is inevitable that people are going to ask MANA why you hid those death rates in the first place. It is inevitable that people are going to ask MANA why you have no safety guidelines of any kind. It is inevitable that insurance companies will demand evidence of your competence before reimbursing you, and you won’t be able to provide it. In other words, it is inevitable that your hiding and lying is going to catch up with you.

Should you have a shred of conscience, you might want to contemplate this:

Since you’re going to be exposed as incompetent frauds eventually, might it make sense to create standards now to elevate your level of practice above that of incompetent frauds? Might it makes sense to abolish the ridiculous “portfolio” process that allows homebirth “midwives” to sidestep any real education or training? Does it make sense pay attention to preventable deaths of babies rather than bury those babies twice, once in the ground and then again in the public consciousness?

I guess it could all be summed up in one simple question:

Do you care more about whether babies die or do you care more about your wallet?

Your choice. Do let us know what you decide.

  • Jocelyn

    It is a good question. Where are their consciences? How can they love some ideological process of birth more than they love babies?

    I LOVE that the MANA numbers and the Cornell study came out at the same time. People can compare the numbers and see that they show the same thing and see that the midwives are still trying to hide how bad it really is.

    • Young CC Prof

      “How can they love some ideological process of birth more than they love babies?”

      That’s exactly it. It really is a cult, and the safety of mothers and babies has nothing to do with it. It’s about worshiping the birth process, and unfortunately there are quite a few mothers involved who have no idea what really goes on in the midwife’s head.

    • Trixie

      I have to wonder if that wasn’t a brilliantly calculated move on the part of Dr. Grunebaum with some input from Dr. Amy. The timing is almost too good to be pure coincidence. If so, well done, doctors!

  • Karen in SC

    This is a great post. Too bad it was completely overshadowed by Jan Tritten post, which illustrated the point exactly!

    Why don’t they ever answer or defend themselves?

    (Dr. Amy, you should repost this sometime.)

  • Squillo

    My question for them is very simple too: What have you ever done to improve safety for families who want home birth?

    • KarenJJ

      How can they improve safety when they feel no guilt, have no conscience and show no empathy for the women and babies under their care?

      • Sue

        That’s it – and recommendations to improve safety would be admitting that safety wasn’t great before.

        In contrast, clinical research by health care professionals is AIMED at improvement.

      • Squillo

        Exactly.

        Improving safety might involve making the merest suggestion that these midwives shouldn’t just do exactly what they want. It is always all about the midwife.

  • “Or maybe you simply pretend those dead babies don’t exist, so you don’t have to think about them. That tactic, as reprehensible a view as it is for any health provider to choose, would make me feel better about you than if I thought that you were merely callously ignoring them.”
    Maybe we should start a letter writing campaign where we send pictures of them to wendy gordon and melissa cheyney along with their own quotes about how safe home birth is. That might provoke some sort of response so we can determine if these women are deluded or sociopathic.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7DQgvYCvSyk

    (This was after several rounds of cheating on a fiance)
    Bad people don’t feel guilty.

    • anion

      But I love Angela!

      (Point taken, though.)