NIH Holds Conference on "Vaginal Birth After Cesarean" Safety and Availability
An independent panel met at the National Institutes of Health Wednesday to discuss whether vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC) is a safe or accessible procedure for pregnant US women. The panel consisted of gynecologists, obstetricians and experts in maternal/fetal pain, according to RH Reality Check. They discussed the advantages and risks of both a vaginal delivery and a repeat cesarean, citing a wide range of statistical medical data for and against both cases.
According to an NIH press release, Dr. F. Gary Cunningham, panel chair, and chair of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas said, "Declining VBAC rates and increasing cesarean delivery rates over the last 15 years would seem to indicate that planned repeat cesarean delivery is preferable to a trial of labor. But the currently available evidence suggests a very different picture: a trial of labor is worth considering and may be preferable for many women."
Dr. Cunningham cited two hospital administration surveys stating 30 percent of hospitals have stopped providing a trial of labor option because they could not accommodate the necessary conditions. 40 percent of US hospitals ban VBAC altogether, according to RH Reality Check. The panel emphasized the importance of ensuring the "immediate availability" of surgical and anesthesia personnel prior to a vaginal birth for a woman who has had a previous c-section, said RH Reality Check.
USA Today reporter Rita Rubin presented true stories of families who have protested VBAC bans to the panel, RH Reality Check reported. Other audience members presented the argument to the NIH panel that mothers must have the right to choose their birthing method. However, as Susan Jenkins, legal counsel for The Big Push For Midwives, told RH Reality Check, "the panel refused to take a position on whether a pregnant woman has the same constitutional right to informed refusal as any other adult in the U.S. This is unconscionable and I wonder what this administration's take is on an HHS panel questioning whether pregnant women are entitled to the full benefits of U.S. citizenship in regard to patient autonomy."
10/30/2014 Medication Abortion Access Threatened by Oklahoma Court Ruling - An Oklahoma state district court judge has refused to block a state law restricting medication abortion, clearing the way for the law to go into affect on November 1.
The Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, together with a local abortion clinic in Tulsa, challenged HB 2684 in September, arguing that the law was an unconstitutional restriction on non-surgical abortion in the earliest weeks of pregnancy. . . .
10/30/2014 UPS Switches Pregnant Worker Policy Ahead of Supreme Court Case - The United Parcel Service (UPS) is changing its policy on light duty assignments for pregnant workers, even though the company will stand by its refusal to extend accommodations to a former employee in an upcoming Supreme Court case.
UPS announced on Monday in a memo to employees, and in a brief filed with the US Supreme Court, that the company will begin offering temporary, light-duty positions to pregnant workers on January 1, 2015. . . .
10/30/2014 North Dakota Medical Students Speak Out Against Measure 1 - Medical students at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences are asking North Dakotans to vote no on Measure 1, a personhood measure on the state ballot this fall.
The students issued published a letter in the Grand Forks Herald stating that they opposed Measure 1 in part because they are against "the government's taking control of the personal health care decisions of its citizens." Nearly 60 UND School of Medicine students signed the letter, citing concerns over the "very broad and ambiguous language" used in the proposed amendment, which has no regard for serious and life-threatening medical situations such as ectopic pregnancies.
Measure 1 would change the North Dakota state constitution to create an "inalienable right to life" for humans "at any stage of development" - including the moment of fertilization and conception. . . .