So news came out this week that involves a tragic homebirth from last year, and I’ve been hesitant to post my thoughts on it. Mostly because the homebirth community in the KC metro area is small and closely guarded; it’s still a felony in MO so it’s a veritable witch hunt and most people have to practice ‘underground’, if you will. I don’t want to harm anyone I know by writing an incriminating post that could be googled. (Really, I’m not being dramatic, we got emails this week telling us to lay low based on this news. I shouldn’t post the word homebirth technically. It’s fucking ridiculous.) But I decided to go ahead because the case was dropped, so those I know can’t be pulled into anything. Still, I’m going to try and be vague because there could still be a civil suit.

The story is that a local couple decided to have a UC (unassisted childbirth) and based on their religion, wouldn’t seek medical help, despite that the baby was breech and ended up stillborn, and the mother developed sepsis and died a month later. The latest news is that there will be no prosecution.

When I was first told of this thing, as it was unfolding, I was repulsed. Apparently the religion they follow is their own, and many of the tenets disturbed me (e.g., they believed if the woman submitted to her husband faithfully, God wouldn’t give them a breech baby – which makes no sense to me whatsoever). I was furious they wouldn’t seek help, even when it became very obvious things were dangerous. Since they were blatantly refusing intervention, I (and others, I’m sure) suggested someone call 911 and turn it over to the state to handle – thus more-or-less exonerating anyone personally from legal involvement. Now, I don’t remember specifically whether 911 was called, but I feel like they came to the door but were turned away – which is wholly within the couple’s civil rights. Also, if you look at the link, you may notice the man’s profession, and I’m curious if/how that complicated things – though I’m in no way insinuating anything.

And really, this whole thing splits me. My instinct is to rip out a vitriolic post because on a personal level I’m horrified. But intellectually, I have to respect their decisions, and that’s hard to separate. I respect that they chose to believe in their idea of God, and thought that God would provide intervention or miracles. I respect their choice to have a homebirth. They were a Bradley couple, so I know they were educated. I’m not always comfortable with UCs, but that’s more personal than philosophical – I still respect that they made the decision they felt was best for them.

But (one of) my main issue(s) with this is their self-righteous moral cherry-picking of technological intervention. If I simplify it, I would proffer that their reason for no medical intervention is because God made us and wouldn’t approve of the current idea of medical advancement interfering with God’s inherent design. Make sense? Fine. But I would also think by that logic that God wouldn’t be kosher with, oh, cars. Or telephones. Or electricity. Yet they were fine with all of that. They recognized how these advancements changed their lives from how they were inherently designed – for better or worse – and still chose them.

And I’m not saying that to follow religion you can’t decide what you believe is a priority. This type of religious hypocrisy (if it’s completely fair to call it that) is everywhere. I just personally have such a hard time believing that God would have wanted that to happen like that. I think it’s kind of illogical to decide what we think God is in control of. It sort of takes away from the idea of omniscience if you think you know for sure what he has a hand in. I guess I think if you’re so dogmatic that you’d let people die when there was so much time to save them, you should be all out and go live in the wilderness. But that’s probably my anger clouding my objectivity.

And this is also where my moderate view of medicine comes in. I’ve been called a hypocrite myself for cherry-picking my standards of needing medical intervention, so I realize that I can’t honestly judge them for their decisions if I want to carry the same rights.

It just sucks. The stain it leaves on all choices involved just sucks. And I have no real profound thoughts here, it’s just something that after a year of being gagged, still makes me sad.