When I learned, just this morning, the story of Ruth Light--the Illinois baby that was taken from her parents and put into foster care because of alleged neglect (her parents refused a cesarean birth due to breech presentation and opted for a homebirth which resulted in a happy healthy baby girl)--I was heartbroken and very, very angry. I just sent this letter to the Illinois State Attorney. I will be gathering more evidence to support a second letter and encourage anyone reading this to do the same.
Rock Island County
State's Attorney's Office
Fourth Floor - Courthouse
210 - 15th Street
Rock Island IL 61201
Dear Mr. Terronez,
My name is Laura Gilkey. I am a Florida mother of two home-born children. Both of my boys weighed ten pounds at birth, and one was born with shoulder dystocia--all of these would have speculatively pointed me, in a hospital setting, toward a surgical birth. However, with the skilled help of my licensed midwives and the tried-and-true Gaskin maneuver, both of my boys were born safely and easily into my arms, and are as healthy as can be today--just like Ruth Light. The Lights chose to refuse a cesarean birth for their breech baby, which is perfectly within their legal right of informed consent and informed refusal (1).
I am very concerned for the future of our society when a government agency deems it appropriate to remove a healthy baby from the care of her loving parents during the most critical time in her development. During a baby's first moments, days, weeks and months, it is absolutely critical to her physical and emotional development (2)--and to her mother's (3)--to have the benefit of maternal bonding and breastfeeding (4). To remove that benefit from Ruth because someone somewhere didn't agree with her decision isn't neglect on the part of the Lights, but on the part of the state.
Mr. and Mrs. Light are well-researched folks who made an evidence-based decision to birth Ruth at home. Ruth is a healthy baby girl that was not neglected. To return Ruth to the home where she was lovingly born is the right, legal, and just decision.
I look forward to hearing your timely response.
Vice President, Florida Friends of Midwives
Board of Directors-elect, Healthy Start Coaltion of Sarasota County
Informed Consent and Refusal Subcommittee, Coalition for Improving Maternity Services