Anyone who knows me personally, knows that I'm very outspoken. I will not hesitate to stand up for my rights, or the rights of my fellow man if I believe there needs to be change. New York has always been known for being fairly progressive politically speaking... or so I thought.
I have attended many births over the years. I would occasionally have a client that wanted to bring their placenta home, whether it was for religious reasons, or to consume it either by cooking it, or encapsulating it. Sometimes, the client's request would turn some heads, or cause some questions to be asked, but that was it.. and they were allowed to bring it home.
It wasn't until I gained a client who wanted to deliver at the local Catholic hospital. She also wanted me to encapsulate her placenta for her. I didn't see any problem with it, but I did ask her to speak with her provider and let them know her wishes beforehand so there wouldn't be any surprises at the birth. No big deal right? WRONG! The provider explained that the hospital's policy didn't "allow it." And that no matter what forms she was willing to sign to release it, they were dead set on throwing it away as "medical waste."
I decided to look into the NYS law regarding taking the placenta, which is murky at best... Basically, the law states that the hospital is allowed to release the placenta but it's up to the hospital. The Department of Health says it's ok and it's up to the hospital. WHY IS IT UP TO THE HOSPITAL AND NOT THE MOTHER? The placenta is, after all, her property, or that of her child. Some hospital's see the placenta as medical waste and not something that can be utilized for medicinal purposes.
Christmas morning I was in the hospital with my client while she gave birth to her beautiful baby. Once the placenta was birthed, we tried to procure the placenta yet again, while the doctor stated firmly that it was their policy to dispose of it. We watched as the nurse wrapped the placenta up with all of the other waste from the birth and disposed of it.
This infuriated me!!! My client was disappointed, and I tried not to let her see how upset I was, because it was such a special day, and I didn't want to ruin it. After I finished my doula duties for the day, I went home and vowed to change the way things were.
The state of Oregon recently (within the week) passed a law to allow mothers to bring their placenta home with them, so I saw this as the perfect opportunity to strike while the iron was hot. I contacted my congressman and am currently in the works to develop a law. This law will allow mothers to take their placentas home and do as they please. Its a huge task, it's going to be a lot of work, but I'm NOT going to give up. I will NOT rest, until women have the right to retain what is rightfully theirs. I cannot do this alone. If you live in NY, please write to your congressman/woman and let them know you support women's rights and their right to take their placenta with them! Even if you don't live in NY, look up the laws in your state and make sure women have this right, if not, CHANGE IT!
Change begins with us! We cannot rely on others to do things for us.
Please sign the petition.. let's make history! http://www.change.org/petitions/nys-legislature-allow-the-release-of-the-placenta-to-the-mother-in-all-hospitals-birth-centers#