A couple of the links don't work...
Groundhog Day is Feb. 2.... Always had been
It's obviously not that offensive if the 2 black reenactors thought it was jolly good fun too
First of all, I know this issue may not strike fear into the hearts of every person who hears about it; immediately half of the population, due to their gender, is more than likely going to skip over the headline as it “doesn't pertain to” them, and the other half, consisting of the female persuasion, is divided amongst women who will never give birth, women who don't want children, and the pregnant ladies, moms-to-be, and moms-already. Even within those groups a division lies between the natural birthers and the medical worshippers. Behind the facade of this simply being about birth options lies the very real, very large detail that affects everyone, no matter your view on this particular topic: This is about our human rights to make choices for ourselves. Let's look beyond the specific issue at hand for just a moment, and focus on the legal and political ramifications of DHEC's “reinterpretation” of the long-standing standards of regulation pertaining to birthing centers.
Reading through the Standards for Licensing Birthing Centers For Deliveries By Midwives, published May 24, 1991 (this is the list of regulations still used today), almost immediately one is struck by the blatant facts pertaining to licensing which are a direct contradiction to what DHEC is now saying. In order to obtain the initial license, a birthing center must not only undergo a thorough inspection of the facility to ensure it and its equipment is up to code, but must also provide “description of arrangements for emergency transportation of patients from the facility”, “name of hospital(s) with which a transfer agreement has been made”, and a “description of arrangements for obstetric and pediatric consultation and referral.” The governing authority (the person or group legally responsible for operation and maintenance of the center) must provide a policies and procedures manual which lists, among other vitals, the extent of physician participation in services offered, as well as the procedure for the transfer of mothers who are determined ineligible for continued care. “When it is determined that the facility is in compliance with the requirements of these Standards, and a properly completed application and licensing fee have been received by the Department, a license shall be issued.” Ok. So in order to first open a birthing center, DHEC must approve of the space, the equipment, the staff leader credentials, as well as (here's the kicker) their policies and procedures in relation to physicians, hospitals, and emergencies. Beyond the inception inspection for the first license a center receives, an inspection is required annually to ensure the centers are keeping up to code. Each year after a center first opens its doors, DHEC comes back in just to check up and make sure everything is still on par with the regulations set forth. And each year that a center is found in compliance, its license is renewed.
Now this is the part where everyone should be worried: After 6 years of following the same emergency procedures and being found in compliance with the regulations, DHEC has arbitrarily decided to reinterpret their 22 year old law and find that Charleston Birth Place is NOT in compliance. While today this impacts solely birthing centers and pregnant mothers who choose natural birth, the actions DHEC is allowed to get away with now could ultimately affect how they deal with any business. If a governing body is capable of “reinterpreting” what they have enforced for over 2 decades without a single change or update in wording, what does that mean for any law or regulation? That, without the decision-making due process that America as a whole has always required, a governing body may change laws and regulations simply by reinterpreting the meaning of a select word or group of words? That at any point in time, even though you have passed the inspection by that very governing body, your license, your livelihood, may be stripped from you simply because they have the power to do so? Wow. What an example.
Let's come back to something a little more specific. Gender specific. Pregnant woman specific. This is about a medical choice that is the right of every pregnant woman. Pregnancy should not be treated as an illness; rather, it is a beautifully natural thing. It occurs all around us; every species experiences it in their own way. This isn't an us vs. them, or a tirade against the medical community; heaven help up if we were a country without doctors. But doctors treat illnesses; diseases; trauma; things that go wrong. Ask anyone in the nursing industry and they'll tell you, nurses do everything else. Now, if a woman is deemed to have a high risk pregnancy, even a medium-risk pregnancy....heck, anything OTHER than a low-risk pregnancy, the birthing centers will not accept them. It's not an elitist thing, it's a safety precaution, because one thing all members of the medical community can agree on is doing what is in the best interest of the safety of the patient. Those are the pregnancies which will most probably end up requiring a doctor on hand, so no, birthing centers will not risk it. But, being that 85% of pregnancies are generally classified as low-risk, there is no need for a doctor standing around twiddling his thumbs, waiting for a disaster event that will most likely never come to fruition. Also, some women just prefer the congenial atmosphere of a birthing center coupled with the familial spirit of the midwives as opposed to the sterile atmosphere of a hospital and the abrupt demeanor of most doctors. And that is their choice. Imagine you were pregnant and your choice of giving birth in a hospital were stripped away, leaving you only with the choice to go to a midwife or give birth at home. For those of you who would never in a million years agree to that, the image is terrifying. But you have that choice. Ours is the one being challenged and taken away. I choose, being of the age of consent, and having made myself fully aware of all options, dangers, procedures, what ifs, pros and cons, to have a natural water birth without a doctor's presence looming about. No, I am not scared of doctors and hospitals. The reasons I have chosen to give birth this way are too numerous to expound upon in this particular tirade, but you can ask and I'll tell you.
Now let's get even more specific. This “reinterpretation” causing a suspension in the licensing of my birth center is causing me undue stress in my third trimester. I am less than 2 months away from giving birth and, having set about a plan of action long ago am now, in the final countdown, being forced to not only change my plan, but change it to something I am not comfortable with and do not want. A hospital birth is my absolute last resort, but it is being forced on me. Again, ask any medical professional and they all will agree that stress during pregnancy, especially the third trimester, is not good for mom OR baby. It would seem that in trying to do good, DHEC is actually causing more harm. Charleston Birth Place not only goes above and beyond state demands for certification (they are the only nationally accredited licensed birth center in SC), but they have also worked out the most medically sound procedure in case of emergency. Located less than a mile from Trident Hospital, their collaborating physicians consult and concur over the phone about any emergency move that needs to be made and meets the patient and midwife at the hospital in necessary cases. This has been been 1% of all cases at CBP. Even the non-emergency transfers are smooth transitions, and the midwives never leave your side. The system works. Not only according to the mothers whom have been transferred, but also according to the physicians on call (because apparently the word of a midwife is not to be as trusted as a physician's). What DHEC is now trying to enforce (having the physician meet the patient at the birthing center to make the call whether to emergency transfer to the nearby hospital) only serves to put the lives of mother and baby in more imminent danger, as in the case of a true birthing emergency every second is precious. So again, who is DHEC helping with this reinterpretation? The physicians on call don't agree with it; the mother's who choose birthing centers don't agree with it; the midwives don't agree with it; and it actually serves to further endanger lives.
Let me end with this: We were all born citizens of the US which means we have a right to choose that has been given to us straight from birth. While this choice may not be for everyone, the RIGHT to make the choice is. Every patient that chooses to give birth in a birthing center as opposed to a hospital is made well aware of the risks associated with their choice, and has still chosen thusly. We know in the event of an emergency we will immediately be transferred to the hospital, no if, ands, or buts (safety is more important than heroics). We know how we will be transferred, the sequence of events, the possibilities, and dangers. We know there is no physician on staff. We place our trust in the midwives. And judging by the stats of Charleston Birth Center, that's a good call. Numbers don't lie. So again, one must ask, who is this reinterpretation helping?
I was 18, and went to hang out with the band after their show, this group of guys I was friends with. Brought along my bff and one of our guy friends who rode with us to the show. After party. We were all friends. They were house sitting at some mansion with top shelf liquor. People slowly left and in the end were just myself, my girlfriend, the guy friend who rode with us, and 3 guys from the band. I got DRUNK. I didn't drink much at this point, and especially not liquor, so I definitely drank too much. So did my girlfriend and our guy friend. I ended up crawling up the stairs to a more private bathroom and puking my brains out, then kind of passed out on the toilet. One of the band guys cleaned me up and tucked me into one of the guest beds. I thought that was so nice of him. I fell asleep. Next thing I know I wake up in the morning without bottoms on, and this guy is sleeping next to me. Apparently they sent my also too drunk friends home and promised to take care of me. My poor girlfriend still doesn't forgive herself for leaving me there, but we were amongst friends so who can blame her. She was too drunk to even get her key in the door, yet they waved her on home.
I flipped out. I mean, isn't that rape? I was puking my brains out and then passed out in a bed. That was an invitation? And yet somehow, they convinced me that it was all my fault. That because I had gotten too drunk, it wasn't actually rape. And I went with it. I really, for years, believed it was my fault. Even when I told my boyfriend about the incident, I said it with the qualifying statement "but I was wasted so it wasn't really rape." What? What kind of sense does that make? Because he didn't attack me in some alley and hold a gun to my head to force me to have sex with him that somehow that isn't rape?
It breaks my heart to see this attitude is still prevalent. Especially because come to find out, that same guy has pulled that same stunt with MULTIPLE girls. Just get them too drunk to push you off, too drunk to even open their eyes, and that qualifies as consent apparently. THAT is the attitude we need to change. THAT is why so many guys DO rape, and it is rape....they know there are no consequences if the girl is drunk, or drugged up, etc. That everyone will view HER as the bad one in the situation.
Yes, all of you are right and we as women do need to watch our contributing actions. But I was amongst "friends" in a place I felt safe. I was also 18, and didn't have much awareness about alcohol yet. Hadn't tested my limits, didn't really think about the fact that drinking whiskey is completely different than drinking a beer or two. So yea, I got drunk, but that doesn't make what he did right, or make it my fault.
Powered by Foundation
© Copyright 2014,
Charleston City Paper