Lamaze and Hannah Dahlen demonstrate moral bankruptcy

Rubber stamp with word unethical inside, vector illustration
You can’t make this stuff up!

If Lamaze International and Hannah Dahlen wanted to demonstrate their contempt for the wellbeing of mothers and babies, they couldn’t do better than to promote Robert Biter as a feature speaker at their Australian conference. Nothing illustrates contempt for women quite like featuring a doctor stripped of his license for harming women.


Biter initially had his license to practice medicine severely restricted because of 7 separate instances that the Medical Board of California described as:

“gross negligence in his care and treatment” of a patient”
“repeated negligent acts” performed on 6 additional patients”
“prescribing without an appropriate prior examination”
“acts of dishonesty with respect to the care and treatment of patients”
“failure to maintain adequate and accurate medical records”
“general unprofessional conduct”

Biter was suspended from the practice of medicine for 60 days, followed by 7 years of strict probation. However, AFTER he signed documents acknowledging the findings of the Board and the prescribed disciplinary action, but before the official start of the suspension, he presided over a homebirth death. In November of 2013 he surrendered his license to practice medicine. You can read the findings of the Board here.

[pullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Nothing illustrates contempt for women quite like featuring a doctor stripped of his license for harming women.[/pullquote]

According to the records of the San Diego Superior Court, at least 8 lawsuits have been filed against him. I recently learned that he is trying to resurrect his career by opening a birth center in Mexico. Perhaps the licensing standards there are less stringent or perhaps the Mexican authorities are unaware of his history of “gross negligence, repeated negligent acts and general unprofessional conduct.”

Biter has publicly complained that he was victimized because of his commitment to natural childbirth but the majority of accusations of negligence and harm were claimed by GYN patients and had nothing to do with birth.

So why is he a featured speaker at a Lamaze conference on “Creating a New Paradigm in Birth”? Why is Hannah Dahlen proudly appearing along side him? Because contemporary natural childbirth ideology has precious little to do with what is good for women (otherwise why invite someone who has allegedly caused so much harm to women?) and is really about increasing employment opportunities and market share for midwives, doulas and childbirth educators.

Indeed, irony of ironies, in 2013 Biter was a featured speaker at a Human Rights in Childbirth conference. Naïvely, you or I might think that human rights in childbirth refers to making sure that all women have access to competent medical care, without regard for ability to pay, that incarcerated women not be forced to labor in chains, and that women have access to birth control. Don’t be foolish. Who cares about those women? HRiC is about the “rights” of white, Western, relatively well off midwives, doulas and childbirth educators to do and say whatever they want and be paid for it.

What about the human rights of the women and babies injured and killed by negligent and unprofessional providers? They apparently have no rights at all. Lamaze and Dahlen should be ashamed of themselves for associating with Robert Biter, but we’ve known for a long time that they are beyond shame.