from Willa Powell at Citizens for Midwifery

Dear friends,

I am the new president of Citizens for Midwifery, and I will be attending the Vaginal Birth After Cesarean (VBAC) Consensus Development conference sponsored by the National Institute of Health (NIH) in Washington DC on March 8-10, 2010. This conference will examine the research around VBAC and may impact birth, especially VBAC, for the next decade.

We know from our experience with the NIH’s so-called patient choice cesarean conference that our presence, pressure and input can make a difference. On the issue of VBAC, we want to make it clear that hospital bans on VBAC violate our right to informed consent/informed refusal. Curiously, there is no speaker specifically addressing this Patients Rights point. We need to hammer it home at every opportunity. .. with evidence of the overuse of C/S in the first place… with evidence of the safety of VBAC and the risks associated with repeat C/S… and armed with our Constitutional right to bodily integrity: with or without evidence.

Even if you can’t get to DC, you can watch the conference and participate online. You can also sign up to receive the resulting statement and watch the video archive afterward. Indeed, I’m asking everyone to sign up to receive the statement that will be the result of this conference – go here and find the Pre-order Statement button at the top of the page. Signing up to receive the statement – all by itself – communicates to the NIH that there is tremendous interest and public involvement on this issue.

At the same website, you will see an outline of the speakers list and agenda and sign up for the live webcast or there are several ways in, via calendar, for example: here or here. If you are at all able to view all or part of the live webcast I urge you to do so.

There is generally an opportunity for the audience to ask questions or redirect attention after each presentation. If you can watch, and want to ask a question, email me at willa@cfmidwifery. org, post on the wall of our Facebook Fan page, or text me at 585.729.5161, and I’ll do my best to make your points live and in person. If I can’t, there is an opportunity to submit written feedback on-site. It may also be possible for webcast viewers to leave feedback in real time, and you can post comments on the draft document on Wednesday morning.

Please plan to watch and weigh in.

Willa Powell, President
Citizens for Midwifery
willa@cfmidwifery. org