Ricki Lake's "The Business of Being Born"

February 28, 2008 10:27:35 AM PST
Ricki Lake, comedian and former talk show host has joined with actress Carrie-Anne Moss and author Jennifer Block to launch a national campaign, The Big Push for Midwives. The campaign advocates for regulation and licensing of certified professional midwives in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. As part of the effort, Lake and director Abby Epstein have produced a documentary The Business of Being Born. The film will be available on Netflix this week and it will soon be sold in retail stores including Wal-Mart and Target.

Recently in Chicago, Lake attended a showing of the film to benefit the Coalition for Illinois Midwifery that works for legislative change to improve home birth maternity care options. The Coalition for Illinois Midwifery seeks to ensure the availability of safe, licensed direct-entry midwifery services for families who choose to give birth at home.

"I sincerely hope that state lawmakers do not deny parents a basic human right by restricting how their children can come into the world," Lake said. "I also hope that policy makers recognize midwifery as a serious, social-service profession that deserves licensing, public support and admiration."

Illinois is in the midst of a home birth maternity care crisis, according to the Coalition for Illinois Midwifery. Licensed home birth practices are found in only four of its 102 counties. Licensing home birth midwives based on national standards is the solution, according to the group. The Coalition for Illinois Midwifery is urging members of the Illinois House to sponsor and support Senate Bill 385, the Home Birth Safety Act. This Act, which passed through the Senate last March, will license home birth midwives based on the certified professional midwife (CPM) credential.

"We need to pass this bill quickly for the sake of our families," Senator William Haine (Alton), chief sponsor of the Act, said. "Babies are being born at home in Illinois every day. I understand this from a personal level, because my last five children were born at home with midwives."

Lake's visit to Chicago also coincided with the launch of the Illinois One a Day - Two a Day Campaign of Illinois Families For Midwifery (IFFM), http://home.earthlink.net/~birthnews/ The catch phrase draws attention to the average of 2 Illinois babies born at home each day and approximately one of these births takes place without a licensed maternity care provider. Pat Cole, President, IFFM, states, "Each week we hear from at least a dozen women seeking home birth midwives. Women want licensed midwives, and we can not help them."

For more information, visit http://www.TheBigPushforMidwives.org or http://home.earthlink.net/~birthnews or www.illinoismidwifery.org.