California College of Midwives

Legislative Fact Sheet with Citations
California Citizens for Health Freedom 888 / 557-8092

   Rights of Childbearing Women -- published by the Maternity Center Association, an 80 year old, non-profit organization
dedicated to improving maternity care
~ 212 / 777-5000

The Maternity Center Association has identified the rights outlined below in responses to serious and continuing problems with maternity care in the US.

The US is the only wealthy industrialized country in the world that does not guarantee access to essential health care for every pregnant woman and baby.

Research has shown that some elements of the care commonly provided to women who give birth in US hospitals are not beneficial when applied to low-risk women.

On the other hand, some elements of care that are known to provide important benefits to either the mother or the baby are not available in many hospital in this country.

We must ensure that the maternity care provided to women in the US is based on current scientific evidence and that such care can be accessed by all pregnant women.

The Maternity Center Association believes that EVERY women of childbearing age in the United States has the following basic rights: (partial list)

The right to receive care that is consistent with the best available & current scientific evidence on its effectiveness

To choose a midwife, a physician or a midwife/physician team to provide her maternity care. Midwifery and obstetrics are separate professions based on over-lapping but distinct objective, scopes of practice and bodies of knowledge. Both are needed in the health care system to ensure quality care for all women.

To choose her birth setting (location) from the full range of safe options available in her community and to complete, objective information of the benefits, risks and cost of all options

To be fully informed about the benefits, risks and cost of the procedures, drugs, tests, and treatments considered for use during her pregnancy, labor, birth and postpartum period or for use on her child and the right to informed consent OR refusal

To maternity care that is appropriate to the mother’s cultural and religious background

To receive continuous social, emotional and physical support throughout labor and delivery from a professional trained in labor support. She also has the right to have a companion or companions of her choice present throughout labor and birth

To choose from a variety of natural (non-drug) and pharmaceutical methods to control and  relieve the pain of labor. She also has the right to change her mind at any time during her pregnancy and labor and to make new choices

Except for women with specific complications, every woman has the right to freedom of movement during labor and the right to select and use the position of her choice while giving birth

The right to virtually uninterrupted contact with her newborn from the moment of birth as long as both she and the baby are healthy ...

SB 1479 ~California Citizens for Health Freedom 888 / 557-8092