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Monday, September 28, 2009

Homebirth in Ohio

The following is an open letter to the birth community from a family that is under fire for a homebirth-even though the child was born whole and healthy. It is a terrible indictment for the birth community at large, and never think that just because this example occurred in Ohio, that it will not happen in all parts of the United States.

This issue is so important to me that I am broadcasting it on my blogs, and tweeting about it. I ask all those concerned with birth and motherhood pass this information along, and please find a way to help. The family is requesting HELP ONLY; further antagonizing the prosecutor with fiery letters is NOT a useful idea.

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As many of you may know, we had our pre-trial hearing this morning. We were hoping once the lawyers got a chance to hash things out, the charges would be dismissed. That was not the case. The prosecutor offered us a plea-bargain for the charge of disorderly conduct, a fourth-degree misdemeanor. As much as my husband and I would love to close this horrible chapter of our lives and put it behind us, we didn't take the plea. First of all, we are not guilty of anything, and don't want a guilty plea following us around for the rest of our lives. Second of all, we felt that a guilty plea would validate the charges against us. Also, I thought that a guilty plea would give the impression that homebirth is wrong, and possibly open the door for other families to be prosecuted.
Right now, we don't have a trial date, and there is still a possibility that the charges could be dropped before going to trial. I want to consult further with my lawyer before involving the media, or unleashing a firestorm of letters and calls to the prosecutor. I just wanted to update everybody with what's going on and let everybody know what they can do to help.
This is always the hard part for me, as I'm not comfortable asking for things, but so many people keep asking how they can help, and we do need help, so I'm learning a lesson in humility. Obviously this is affecting us financially since we are a single income family, and my husband's hours at work have been reduced indefinitely. So far this whole fiasco has cost us $6427 in legal and medical bills. To pay our attorney, we took a $4000 cash advance on a credit card (at 20% interest). We have already raised quite a bit through fundraisers and individual donations, and we are grateful to everybody who has helped us so far. Paypal donations can be made to sweetchildofmine@live.com . You can also e-mail any questions to that address.
I know some people may be hesitant about sending cash, and I completely understand. Anything that saves us money on things we regularly have to buy would help too. Gift cards for groceries, gas, restaurants, clothes, etc are definitely welcomed. Also we definitely won't turn down local people who feel like dropping by with a pizza, bucket of chicken or a bag of your kids' old clothes!
There are also plenty of ways to help that are FREE!-Send us your prayers and positive thoughts!-Help out with a fundraiser.- Be supportive of other families who make choices that may seem out of the ordinary to you.
I started a Facebook group page as a means to keep everybody updated. http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=140938029710
Please feel free to repost this message on Facebook, e-mail or any forums where it will enlist more supporters for our cause. Please do not alter the message in any way, except to remove anything that may be a violation of the TOS of the site you post it (namely fundraising info).
It's time for us to stand up for our rights as women, parents and law abiding citizens who don't want the government trampling on our rights to live and raise our families as we choose! If they succeed with prosecuting us, it won't stop there.

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