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News Link • Children

The Secret Baby Catchers of Alabama

• www.huffingtonpost.com

When it comes to women's reproductive choices, we think of the primary battlegrounds as contraception, sex education and abortion. We hear far less about the significant restrictions on childbirth. While midwifery care is mainstream in other Western countries, it's relatively rare in the United States. The closest option is a nurse-midwife—a registered nurse with a midwife credential who mostly operates in hospitals under the authority of doctors. This is a very different experience from having a trained midwife supervise a delivery in the home or in a birthing center. In some places, it's impossible to access such services without skirting the law. Seventeen states, including North Carolina and Illinois, have laws that put midwives at risk of criminal prosecution for assisting birth outside a hospital. In Alabama, midwives were not permitted to practice

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