- Write letters to St. Joseph's hospital in Santa Fe and start a letter-writing campaign if there isn't one going already to fight the ban on midwives there. St. Joseph's is the only hospital in Santa Fe, so although New Mexico has a long, proud tradition of midwifery care with some of the best birth outcomes in the country, women of Santa Fe are forced into choosing homebirth if they want access to midwifery care. Find out what the story is in your area, and do the same! I'll be pressuring Elizabeth to write similar letters to the hospitals of Austin who also deny women the choice of midwifery care.
- Read the chapter about nitrous oxide used for pain relief in Our Bodies, Ourselves:Pregnancy and Birth and get educated about this topic. I've heard things about this in passing when reading British writer Sheila Kitzinger's book, but I hadn't realized the real issues behind it. There have been no studies showing any risk to mother or baby when nitrous oxide is used during labor, and yet women of the U.S. have zero access to this less invasive pain relief option. Why? No anesthesiologists necessary. Birth choices have GOT to stop being limited in this country based on profit! The well-being of mothers and babies should not be sacrified in the name of money. You can start here and here to learn more.
- Learn more about healthcare reform options. Judy strongly favors a single-payer system and in fact feels that no major strides of progress will be made for childbirth in America until such a system comes about. And in fact, all the Western countries who have more midwifery care and thus better outcomes for mothers and babies across the board than the U.S., have a single payer system. She recommends reading A Second Opinion by Dr. Arnold Relman and passing it along to any physician you know who will read it, because the pressure for change needs to come from doctors. This will certainly be making my goodreads list.
- Let everyone I know (that means you!) that Our Bodies, Our Blog accepts material from any and all writers about current issues in women's health policy and that they just might link to your article. I'm really hoping eventually we can earn a coveted spot on their list of linked blogs!
The VBAC debate was also discussed in the context of women being more and more frequently denied even the opportunity to choose whether to have a VBAC or not because of VBAC bans in hospitals, as well as the need for more celebrity homebirthers! The talk was really insightful and informative and I would encourage anyone who has the opportunity to go see her while she is on the book tour.