By Fredrica Syren:
A heated debate over the safety of home birth in Hawaii has been sparked by SB 2569. Since its introduction last week, women have gone to Hawaii’s State Capitol to protest it. The bill is aimed at regulating home births and creating more state control of the traditional healing community in Hawaii. The bill is said to make it safer for women and their babies, and is being backed by more than half the state senate.
Under the new bill, midwives have to be licensed. A board would be created, with rules, the responsibility to investigate complaints, and the ability to take disciplinary action if needed. It also would limit home births to those with low-risk pregnancies only.
The problem is that, in Hawaii, home birth is considered a sacred practice and, for many, a spiritual one. Trying to combine that with state regulations is tricky, and many feel that regulating home birth might cause more harm than good.
Opponents of the bill say it is based on incorrect information and that it falsely claims that regulations would make home birth safer. They also fear that this bill will cause some women to go underground to have their babies in secret and that can be more of a concern. Women say the bill violates a woman’s right to choose where to give birth to her children.
The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, as well as other backers of the bill, have given examples of home births gone wrong. They also say that babies delivered at home are four times more likely to die than those born in the hospital.
To read more about this bill: