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Thursday, April 03, 2008

republished from: Today at Our Bodies Our Blog

Nation’s Largest Hospital to Ban Vaginal Birth, NY State Likely to Follow

Posted by Rachel on April 1, 2008

New York City’s St. Sister Mercy General Regional Hospital, which is the nation’s largest hospital and presides over more births than any other facility, announced today that it would no longer offer vaginal deliveries. Hospital spokesperson John Smith stated, “We were on track to reach a 75% c-section rate within the year, and believe that women unnecessarily suffer when they attempt labor with a very small chance of being successful in our facility. Because most of our patients will eventually need repeat cesareans anyway, we believe that we are getting them off to the best possible start. We are encouraging other hospitals to adopt the same policy.”

The hospital is also letting go its team of certified nurse midwives, banning doulas, and banishing fathers back to the waiting room. According to Smith, “Given our new policy of cesarean birth for all women, we feel that support personnel are not needed for our patients, and simply get in the way of the physicians’ work.”

Asked about women who arrive at General unexpectedly in labor and whether they can offer informed consent to a mandatory c-section and implicitly agree to this by showing up at the hospital, Smith responded, “These women have a 75% chance of having a c-section to begin with - we all know that women are less capable of giving birth vaginally than they were just 20 years ago. We simply can’t treat unplanned patients any differently, or it would encourage women to just drop in when they’re in labor, and that would be a nightmare. We’ll bring in the machine that goes “ping,” and that will let us know they need a cesarean anyway, and proceed from there.”

At least one General patient agrees with the new policy. Consulted following her own primary cesarean, Jane Downt said, “I’ve always thought that birth would be so much easier if women’s bodies were designed differently, if they could just pop open a little panel and remove the baby. A c-section is just like that, opening a window into the body to pull the ‘bun out of the oven,’ so to speak.”

Women’s health, birth, and reproductive rights advocates, along with an aging hippie community in the city, have reacted strongly to the decision. One activist responded, “General had a very high c-section rate, and the CNMs were the only thing keeping it from reaching 100% already [the hospital banned VBAC five years ago]. They already insist that all women take home formula samples, even those who aren’t yet pregnant, keep the lights very bright, and allow women to leave the hospital without calling Child Protective Services if those women don’t plan to breastfeed. This is just another appalling new development, and it will drive women into their homes for birth.”

Smith responded, “The last thing we want women to do is give birth at home. To that end, we have proposed legislation that would ban pregnant women from being in their homes, or other homes or shelters, from week 30 of pregnancy until the birth. We believe in general that the safest way to give birth is not to do so at all, so we are working on a long-term plan to prevent any babies from being born in New York State. We just have to work out a feasible plan that will accommodate the rush of women eager to have their fertility and reproduction controlled by the State. We hope the visionaries in Washington, D.C. will take note of our leadership, and implement similar plans for the Nation.”

*Mark it on your calendar

Update: Now that the holiday has passed, I feel the need to explicitly point out that this was an April Fools’ piece, not intended so much to be funny, but to seem plausible on a quick read and play around with some of the stereotypes and extreme rhetoric that tends to surround birth discussions.

This entry was posted on April 1, 2008 at 8:10 am and is filed under Access, Rights, & Choice, Birth, Pregnancy, Women's Health. . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Responses to “Nation’s Largest Hospital to Ban Vaginal Birth, NY State Likely to Follow”

Jim Voorhies Says: 
April 1, 2008 at 8:38 am
"I’m sure this trend toward C-sections is just a way of avoiding having to get right back into the fields and pick."