American Medical Association Picks Fight With Ricki Lake

Docs' resolution to ban home birth seen as "pushback" against talk show host.

In an unmistakably insecure and aggressive move, the American Medical Association (AMA) adopted a resolution at its annual meeting last weekend to introduce legislation outlawing home birth - according to The Big Push for Midwives.

According to the hard-working women of The Big Push for Midwives campaign, faced with the sisyphean task of convincing the American mainstream medical establishment that midwifery is a viable option for birthing women:
"It's unclear what penalties the AMA will seek to impose on women who choose to give birth at home, either for religious, cultural or financial reasons-or just because they didn't make it to the hospital in time," said Susan Jenkins, Legal Counsel for The Big Push for Midwives 2008 campaign. "What we do know, however, is that any state that enacts such a law will immediately find itself in court, since a law dictating where a woman must give birth would be a clear violation of fundamental rights to privacy and other freedoms currently protected by the U.S. Constitution."

In other words, advocating for legislation of this kind has the eery ring of familiarity. Legislative attempts at "criminalizing motherhood" have at their core coercive control over pregnancy and childbirth. Regina McKnight was recently released from jail after a judge overturned her homicide conviction for giving birth to a stillborn baby.

Likewise, Colorado's ballot initiative in support of a "personhood amendment", would have untold consequences for pregnant women who accidentally or otherwise miscarry a pregnancy. If a fertilized egg is conferred "personhood" status why would a miscarriage not be investigated as potential murder?

The legal issues surrounding "fundamental rights to privacy" also, of course, reverberate throughout the discussions around Roe v. Wade and a woman's right to have an abortion in this country. Those who fight
rigorously to strip away womens' legal right to an abortion somehow seem to skirt the issue of what might happen to a woman if she does choose to access an illegal abortion.
Amie Newman is Communications Manager for Aradia Women's Health Center in Seattle, Washington.