Bellevue Update: Efforts Ongoing to Safeguard the Birth Center Option in Manhattan

Advocacy, Birth Center, Childbirth, Choices, Natural Birth, Pregnancy, Reproductive Rights

Choices in Childbirth is working diligently with other members of the community to help restore the Birth Center option for the women who birth at Bellevue Hospital Center. We have had very encouraging conversations with administrators and representatives for the public, and we are confident that our community-wide efforts will succeed to re-open the Bellevue Birth Center.

The Birth Center – the only Medicaid-accepting birth center in Manhattan – provided a safe, family-oriented environment for women to birth naturally. Bellevue Birth Center represented an alternative to the medicalized style of birth that was avaialble on the Labor and Delivery floor of the hospital. Unlike the L&D floor, the Birth Center allowed women to walk around during labor, there were no limits on the number of people who could attend, women were able to labor in jacuzzi tubs, mom received continuous one-on-one care, the baby was never separated from the mom after birth, and the entire family was welcomed to stay with the mom during recovery. All of this comfort AND outcomes that were outstanding–the Belleuve Birth Center consistently had a c-section rate of less than 4% as compared to rates nearing 50% at local hospitals!

Thanks to everyone for your support so far of the community effort to re-open the Bellevue Birth Center! We have managed to gather over 1000 signatures of individuals supporting our petition to re-open the birth center. We also have 11 organizations, representing the voices and rights of 100s more women, who have signed onto this joint letter that will be sent to the Bellevue Hospital Administration asking them to reconsider the closure of the birth center. Organizational support includes:

BirthNet New York
International Women’s Health Coalition
Lamaze International
NARAL Pro-Choice New York
National Advocates for Pregnant Women
National Institute for Reproductive Health
The New Space for Women’s Health
New York Homebirth Midwives
New York Lactation Consultant Association of New York
The Northern Manhattan Perinatal Partnership, Inc.
Our Bodies, Ourselves

Please help us continue to spread the word! If your organization would like to sign onto our formal letter to the Bellevue Hospital Administration, or if you know of an organization that would, please email Malorie Ferrick, Program Manager at Choices in Childbirth

For more information, check out some of the recent press on this issue in the New York Times, City Limits,and blogs like Radical Doula and the Green Doula. And check out this mini documentary about the closure of the Birth Center on GRITtv, featuring CIC president, Élan Mcallister, as well as Katherine Abelson, midwife at the Brooklyn Birthing Center, and Debra Pascali-Bonaro, doula and director and producer of Orgasmic Birth.Thanks for getting the word out!