Join the LiberateBlackBirth Campaign!
With the release of Battling Over Birth, Black Women Birthing Justice are launching a campaign to transform the maternal health-care system in California. Join us!! Together we can ensure that Black women and pregnant individuals have the right to birth with safety and autonomy, where, how and with whom they choose.
1. Make hospitals and birth centers accountable to Black pregnant women and communities. All labor and delivery wards should have a Community Accountability Board, which includes people who have given birth at the facility, birthworkers and community members, to give feedback to and hold hospital administrators accountable.
2. Reduce rates of interventions during childbirth, especially cesareans (C-sections). BWBJ supports the Healthy People 2020 goal of reducing the “first birth” cesarean rate to less than 23.9% by 2018, but believes that more than 3 out of 4 women can birth their babies. We call for a further reduction to no more than 15% by 2025.
3. Push practitioners to provide full disclosure about the benefits and possible risks of medical interventions; ensure that informed consent is given free of fear-based coercion.
4. Improve relationships between staff and Black pregnant women through mandatory training on cultural humility and holistic care, adoption of trauma-informed protocols, and partnership with organizations serving Black communities.
5. Ensure that physicians, nurses and other frontline staff respect birthing individuals’ values, beliefs and choices. All Black pregnant women should have access to a range of birth options, including vaginal birth, non-medicated birth, vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC), and midwife-assisted birth.
6. Ensure that all Black pregnant persons have the right to autonomy and informed decision-making regarding where they give birth. Health-care insurers should provide coverage for midwife-assisted home birth and birth center birth. Medi-Cal should provide more accessible coverage for midwives offering home and community-based births.
7. Increase access to doula and midwifery care in Black communities; double the number of trained doulas and midwives of color in California by 2025.
8. Improve access to prenatal and postpartum care by promoting holistic and midwifery-based care. Provide empowering, non-judgmental and strength-based care to all, including teens, women over 35 and LGBTQIA pregnant persons.
9. Push policymakers to provide resources to promote positive, culturally-sensitive breastfeeding messages developed with and by Black women.
10. End the misrepresentation of birth in the media that encourages a culture of fear and the myth that birth is a medical emergency.