Mothers Forced to Go Rogue

I recently met a woman I will call S for this article. She is the mother of one, and pregnant with her second child living in a state where it is not legal for Certified Professional Midwife to attend a home birth, in an area where Certified Nurse Midwives do not opt to attend births at home.  Making a catch 22 for any woman who is interested in birthing at home.  Meaning the only option for a home birth, is an unattended birth, with no medical professional.  I think of this as a scary thought for myself because of my second birth experience in which an emergency turned my attempt for a VBAC (Vaginal Birth after Cesarean) into a repeat section.

S is in a similar situation. With her first child she had a cesarean section, and is desperate to not repeat the experience, like many women who opt for home birth today. 

But her experience did not start wanting to have a birth at home with the possibility of no medical professional there for her. It started in the care of a local "VBAC Friendly" Obsetrician who set a strict and unrealisitic list of guidelines for S to be able to attempt a trial of labor. Two of which were not exceeding her 40 week due date mark, and a required epidural. Both of which S was not comfortable with. Once learning about these stipulations, she declined to return to that OB/GYN. 

S began calling hospitals to learn about their cesarean rates, and VBAC success numbers, and was not met with open arms but hang ups and dead ends. As if pregnancy isn’t emotionally screwy enough, having to go through this stress was taking a toll on her.

After searching through all the local hospitals, and all the Midwives in the area, she found a Certified Professional Midwife "attending births"to help ensure women birthing at home would not be forced no medical care at all. And thankfully for S she has been able to continue with her plan of having her birth at home.

More stressing factors for this situation is the lack of insurance coverage, and the fact that her previous Obstetricians office will not release her medical records to her for anything less than a $100 fee because they do not wan to "become liable" for a Rogue Patient birthing at home. 

S is continuing to move forward with her pregnancy, healthy, and happy because she is not worrying about these hospitals, what her insurance may or may not cover, and worrying about going under the knife again.


But a growing number of women across the country are being pushed into corners like S. No options available after undergoing one cesarean section, and if you have had two, then in most places your only option is birthing at home because hospitals do not want to "allow" you a trial of labor at all. 

Violating the essential rights of patients, human rights, and bodily anatomy. If these women do not wish to undergo major surgery, they should not have to, and they should not be forced to birth in a situaton that may be uncomfortable for them.

The climate of VBAC in the United States is dismal at best. With over 50% of the Nations hospitals banning a vaginal birth after cesarean, it is forcing mothers who do not know enough to question it into repeat surgery.

Sadly for women like myself, and like S, our childbearing future is in the hands of other people, mostly men. 

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  • gina-crosleycorcoran

    I have a friend in Illinois who is about to deliver under these same conditions. Rogue HBACs are fairly common in these parts because OBs are so hostile toward VBAC, and most CNMs can’t find a backing physician to allow them to attend VBAC at home. We use to have a doctor group that would attend them, but now they’ve even stopped. Of course OBs aren’t concerned that these women are foregoing medical care, or going rogue, to have their babies. Either they want you birthing on their terms, or you’re on your own. I know I wouldn’t go anywhere near a hospital to have my next baby, so if I cannot find a CNM who can take me, I’m going rogue as well.

    Gina Crosley-Corcoran
    The Feminist Breeder

  • ctbirthadvocate

    It is sad Gina, more and more we see women being placed in these situations, and in some cases they can become very risky or unsafe. But unfortunately for them, they have no other options because of the way the Obstetric system has become. There is no evidence based care, there is no push for VBAC like there was 15 years ago, and the only ones who will suffer currently, and long term are the women being subjected or lead to believe that major surgery, for virtually no medical reason is best for them and their baby.

  • crowepps

    her previous Obstetricians office will not release her medical records to her for anything less than a $100 fee because they do not wan to “become liable” for a Rogue Patient birthing at home.

    I find it hard to conceive how that $100 fee legally removes their liability. Is allowing her to have a copy of the records (which she paid them to create through her fees) considered ‘enabling’?


    I salute you for the phrase “Rogue Patient” – that seems to underlie a lot of these tussles – if the patient isn’t subsurvient enough, if the patient isn’t focused entirely on the ‘good of the embryo/fetus’, then the obstetrician gallops off to court, insistent that she must to forced to OBEY.

  • ctbirthadvocate

    The fee itself was for the records, but they told her…


    Homebirth is illegal, and we want no liability for you getting no prenatal care.  – Per my interview with S.


    So all in all, while it does not technically do anything to legally remove them from liability, it does present a problem for this woman because she is lacking her medical records. I guess when you aren’t subsurvient enough they attempt to punish you in anyway that they can. This is just another way for this OB practice to try and get back at her.

  • smjesq

    Thanks, CTBirthAdvocate, and thanks also to RH Reality Check, for reminding us again that the rights of women to choice of birth provider and place of birth, as well as their right to say no to major surgery, are violated when state legislators refuse to enact reasonable laws to license certified professional midwives, midwives who are specifically educated and certified to attend out-of-hospital birth. Consumer access and consumer protection are the main reasons legislators should vote for CPM-licensure laws but, in many states — including Illinois — the dedicated efforts of consumer groups working with their local midwives have been turned back by the lobbying tactics of organized medicine, particularly the local medical society and ACOG chapter. Big Medicine is still trying to hold onto its state-sanctioned monopoly over maternity care in those states. The Big Push for Midwives Campaign is working with consumer groups in nearly all the states where midwives have not yet achieved legal status as licensed and regulated health professionals, including Illinois, Alabama, Iowa, Massachusetts, South Dakota, Wyoming, North Carolina and other states across the US where licensure bills are under consideration. Our most recent victory state, Idaho, brought the total to 26 states where midwives other than CNMs may practice legally and provide home birth services. But there are 24 states, plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, where CPM practice is not yet legally sanctioned and, in those states, midwives risk arrest for practicing medicine without a license, cease and desist orders, hostile reactions from the local health care system, while consumers face many hurdles, including the difficulty of finding a homebirth midwife, hostility from the health care system, risk of being called as a witness against one’s own midwife, and risk of coming to the attention of the child protective services agency in your state, many of which do view use of an illegal midwife as "going rogue."
    These consumer groups need members who are ready and willing to work hard for the rights of consumers to have licensed, legal midwives in their state. Please, everyone who cares about this issue, go to the Big Push website, where you can find a consumer group in your state, and become an active member of that group. We have found that, in the long run, it is the ongoing efforts of consumers that make the difference in winning legislation.
    Please check us out at
    If you don’t find a link there to a group there from your state, get in touch with us and we’ll help you find one or start one. Join us on facebook too and take a look at our video calling for CPM inclusion in health care reform at:
    This task isn’t impossible and, with the vision and hard work of consumers and their friends and families, we can make midwifery mainstream again in every state in the US.