Historic Times: Congresswoman Roybal-Allard Speaks to the House of Representatives about the Home Birth Consensus Summit

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Historic Times: Congresswoman Roybal-Allard Speaks to the House of Representatives about the Home Birth Consensus Summit

 These are historic times in the United States when Home Birth is presented at our House of Representatives,  within the rights of women to receive respectful care, in a shared decision making process, that honors women have the right to make the decision to birth her baby safely at home, in a birth center or in a hospital.  Watching Congresswoman Roybal-Allard speak to the House of Representatives – opening with “ An event of critical important to all future childbearing women in this country.”  I could not agree more.  I have long help the belief that  to keep birth safe we must look at the care we provide in all settings.  We have a great deal to learn and share in each setting and to isolate our perspective to only one vantage point has hurt all birthing women in America.   Congresswoman  Roybal-Allard  shared this view as she said  we must “discuss  the status of homebirth in the greater context of birth in the U.S. “

Both the Home Birth Summit and now Congresswoman  Roybal-Allard’s great talk,  gave me even more reasons to be thankful this Thanksgiving.  Birth outcomes have been getting worse and worse in the U.S.  As our maternal mortality has risen and our infant mortality remains one of the highest in the developed world, it seemed odd that with less than 1% of birth taking place at home, these outcomes could be contributing in the way the media spin has been trying to make us believe.  Isn’t that often the way, it is easier to lay blame elsewhere, than focus on the true issues, the over medicalization of birth, the rising cesarean section rate and the harms these are causing to women and babies.  I encourage you to listen to Congresswoman Roybal-Allard speech as she lays out the key points from the Home Birth Consensus Summit.  No matter what side of home birth you fall, I hope we can all come together on many of the key points that ultimately every woman should have access to safe, respectful care in any setting.  What keeps home birth safe, is skilled attendance, with collaborative decision- making and a smooth, collaborative referral system in place that respects everyone’s skill and expertise within that.  We have a broken maternity care system overall.  Together it is time to rebuild the system and honor everyone in the process, ultimately providing safe, healthy births for women, babies, families and society.  We can no longer ignore the short and long term effects that birth has in a child’s life. 


Congresswoman  Roybal-Allard’s  presented a fantastic overview of The Common Ground Outcome Statements Her key comments included:

Not to debate rightness or wrongness of home birth, but to keep all mother’s and babies safe in all settings.

All childbearing women, in all maternity care settings, should receive respectful, woman-centered care, including opportunities for a shared decision-making process to help each woman make the choices that are right for her.

Physiological birth is valuable for women, babies, families and society and appropriate interventions should be based on based best available evidence to achieve optimal outcomes for mothers and babies.

Collaboration within an integrated maternity care system is essential for optimal outcomes.

Respectful, safe and seamless consultation and  transportation of care.

National certification and licensing for all professionals.

Effective communication and collaboration across all maternity disciplines.  All students must learn about each other’s disciplines and maternity care in all settings.

Medical liability system reform

Elimination of disparities in care

Increased consumer participation

Congresswoman  Roybal-Allard’s closing statement says it all:

“The Home Birth Consensus summit document is an  important first step in protecting and supporting all childbearing families across all birth settings.  But the discussion must not stop there!   I encourage all professional organization representing providers of maternity care and newborn care and  all childbearing advocacy groups to affirm the consensus statement and commit to working together towards its realization.  Mothers and babies in this country deserve nothing less.”

Please share your views, add your voice to the discussion,  our next generation is counting on us!

Happy Thanksgiving

Debra Pascali-Bonaro


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