Tag Archive | pharmaceutical industry

Two Thousand People March against Monsanto and Syngenta in Switzerland*

Two Thousand People March against Monsanto and Syngenta in Switzerland*

Peaceful demonstration in Basel calls for paradigm change in agriculture

 

In Basel, Switzerland, the home town of the chemicals giant Syngenta, the third March Against Monsanto and Syngenta was held on Saturday 20 May 2017. Two thousand people turned out to demonstrate against toxic pesticides, GMOs, and patents on seeds. They demanded an ecological and diverse agriculture which serves food security instead of profit.

The demonstration ended at the Syngenta headquarters and was accompanied by street artists, musicians, and children dressed as bees.

In front of the Syngenta headquarters, Fern Rosenstiel, an environmental scientist from Kauai, Hawaii, spoke about the use of highly toxic pesticides – pesticides that are banned in Switzerland – on Syngenta test fields in Hawaii. She said: “Syngenta must finally take responsibility for the health problems in Hawaii.”

Syngenta is currently caught up in legal battles over its farming of GM crops in Hawaii and is planning to sell its operations in the state.

This year the main focus of the protest was the increasing market power in the agrochemical industry. In addition to the planned acquisition of Syngenta by ChemChina and the merger of Dow and Dupont, Bayer plans to take over Monsanto. Altogether, the three companies would control over 60% of the commercial seed and pesticide market.

“Syngenta is now Chinese but that does not mean that our resistance against the business practice of Syngenta stops now,” said Ueli Gähler from Multiwatch.

“Today, we protest in solidarity with smallholders in China and the rest of the world.”

The march against Monsanto and Syngenta in Basel was supported by more than 50 organisations from Switzerland and Germany, including Basel unions, the Green Party, and environmental, agricultural and development organisations such as Greenpeace, Uniterre and SWISSAID.*

Zoë Roth from the event’s organising committee drew a positive conclusion:

“The high turnout at the March against Monsanto and Syngenta in Basel confirms the desire for ecological farming.”

* The complete list of supporting organisations and more information are available at: www.marchagainstsyngenta.ch

Source*

Related Topics:

The GMO Agenda is Planned Sterilization of Humanity*

For Reducing Male Fertility New Protection Bill for Monsanto*

GM Foods and Fertility

GMOs Are Mutating Microorganisms and Spawning Deadly New Life Forms‏

World Bank Aims to Hand over Seed Industry to Agribusiness*

Iraq’s Agricultural Industry was Pillaged, Its Farmers Devastated, But It’s Still Free of GMO Seeds*

Canada’s New Food Labels won’t Include GMO Info.*

Largest-Ever GMO Crops Study Shows Massive Environmental Damage in U.S.*

White House Resorts to Blackmail Over GMOs in NWOs TTIP Trade Negotiations*

Embedding Transnational Agribusiness and GMO’s into African Agriculture*

Mexican Supreme Court Refuses to Review Monsanto Appeal on GMO Maize Permits*

Monsanto + Syngenta Lobby Tanzanian Government to Pass Law Jailing Farmers who Exchange their Traditional Seeds*

U.K. Gov’t Has Colluded with Monsanto by Treating Wales as a Monsanto Toxic Dump*

Monsanto Was Put on Trial for Ecocide at the Hague*

Hospital-acquired Anaemia on the Increase*

Hospital-acquired Anaemia on the Increase*

One in three patients hospitalized for medical problems experienced a drop in their red blood cell count due to the hospitalization — a concept called hospital-acquired anaemia, new research showed.

Moreover, the worse the hospital-acquired anaemia — or the more blood lost — the higher the risk of death or readmission, even after adjusting for other important factors, UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers reported in a study involving 11,000 patients cared for in six hospitals.

“This study shines a spotlight on a very common but underappreciated risk of hospitalization, hospital-acquired anaemia, which has traditionally been viewed as an incidental change in the red blood count of no significance. However, our results showed that hospital-acquired anaemia was associated with worse clinical outcomes after leaving the hospital so it needs to be taken more seriously,” said senior author Dr. Ethan Halm, Director of UT Southwestern’s Center for Patient-Centered Outcomes Research and Chief of the William T. and Gay F. Solomon Division of General Internal Medicine at UT Southwestern.

Dr. Halm, Professor of Internal Medicine and Clinical Sciences, holds the Walter Family Distinguished Chair in Internal Medicine in Honor of Albert D. Roberts, M.D.

Hospital-acquired anaemia is defined as having a normal blood count on admission but developing aanemia during the course of hospitalization. The most severe form of hospital-acquired anaemia was independently associated with a 39% increase in the odds of being readmitted or dying within 30 days after hospital discharge compared with not developing hospital-acquired anaemia. The most severe form was defined as a hematocrit of 27% or less at the time of discharge, occurring in 1.4% of all hospitalizations in the study, which appears in the Journal of Hospital Medicine.

“This is the first study of post-discharge adverse outcomes of hospital-acquired anaemia among a diverse group of patients who were hospitalized for different reasons,” said lead author Dr. Anil Makam, Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine and Clinical Sciences and a member of the Center for Patient-Centered Outcomes Research.

Other studies have examined post-discharge outcomes in patients hospitalized for heart attacks.

While the study does not establish preventability, it points to several directly associated risk factors of developing hospital-acquired anaemia.

“Our findings suggest that reducing blood loss during major surgeries and reducing unnecessary testing during hospital stays may lower a patient’s risk of developing severe hospital-acquired anemia, and potentially improve their recovery,” said Dr. Makam.

In the current study, researchers found that the two strongest potentially modifiable predictors of developing moderate or severe hospital-acquired anaemia are length of hospital stay and patients undergoing major surgery. In the future, researchers hope to examine other patient-centered outcomes that may be related to hospital-acquired anemia, such as fatigue, functional impairment, and the trajectory of post-hospital recovery.

Source*

Related Topics:

Rarest Blood Types On Earth – How Unique is Your Blood?*

Now Discovered the Lungs Make Blood*

Caymen Is. Hospitals Begin Dispensing Medical Cannabis Oil to Patients*

Thousands of Bodies Found in Mississippi Mass Grave from Govt Run Mental Hospital*

20-months old Dies in Hospital, as NHS Forced to Repeatedly Delay his Operation*

Hospitals across England Declare ‘black alert’ as NHS Crisis Worsens*

First of Its Kind Study Shows 55,400 People Hospitalized/Killed by U.S. Cops in a Single Year*

80 Countries Slam U.S. Over Habit of Bombing Hospitals*

Avoid Kellogg’s Products Like The Plague*

Avoid Kellogg’s Products Like The Plague*

By Christina Sarich

There is a good reason that Kellogg’s spent over $1,012,552 on media propaganda in California & Washington to defeat voter ballot initiatives that would have required the labeling of GMO foods, and now are contributing again to the defeat of labeling initiatives in Oregon (contributing $250,000).

A consumer recently sent a box of Froot Loops to a lab for genetic testing and found that the corn and soy used in the cereal are 100% RoundUp Ready GMO. So is the sugar. Never mind the other toxic ingredients in the cereal. This means that in one box of Kellogg’s cereal (and likely all their cereals contain similar GMO products), you are dining on a double dose of glyphosate and Bt toxins – glyphosate being patented as an ‘antibiotic’ by Monsanto in 2011.

Kellogg’s has been making cereal since 1898, but I seriously doubt its founders ever thought it would be poisoning the world at breakfast every morning.

Not only is the corn in Froot Loops sprayed with RoundUp, but it is a pesticide in its own right, registered with and regulated by the EPA. But it isn’t just Froot Loops that is of concern, for all of you who avoid sugar-laden cereals. The ‘healthful’ Kellogg’s brands are full of the stuff, too.

Kellogg’s claims that, even though they don’t use genetically engineered ingredients in Europe, in the U.S., “consumer concerns about the usage of biotech ingredients in food production are low.”

Kashi, Bare Naked, Morningstar Farms, and Gardenburger  – all brands you probably have been relying on as healthful foods to feed your family – are also contaminated.

Kellogg’s has promised to change the labeling on their Kashi brands – but they also promised that their products had hardly any GMOs in them in the first place!

Kellogg’s is feeding children pesticides & antibiotics, without their parents’ knowledge or consent. Are you going to tolerate that?

You can bet that the ‘vigorous testing of their products is a lie, too. They told us that all these brands were verified as non-GMO.

-GOLEAN Crunch!®

-GOLEAN Crunch!® Honey Almond Flax

-GOLEAN Crisp!® Cinnamon Crumble

-GOLEAN Crisp!® Toasted Berry Crumble

-Autumn Wheat®

-Cinnamon Harvest®

-Island Vanilla®

-Strawberry Fields®

-Raisin Vineyard®

-Simply Maize®

-Indigo Morning

-Berry Fruitful

-7 Whole Grain Flakes

-7 Whole Grain Puffs

-7 Whole Grain Pilaf

 

The truth? Kashi lied. Cornucopia Institute tested Kashi’s GoLean cereal and found it to contain 100% genetically engineered soy. The company’s response? Just get used to GMO contamination!

In response to the question, “Do you use GMO ingredients?”Kashi said,

“factors such as pollen drift from nearby crops and current practices in agricultural storage, handling, and shipping, has led to an environment in North America where GMOs are not sufficiently segregated. As a result, some of our foods include ingredients made from genetically engineered crops.”

You can boycott them, petition them, or call them at 1 (800) 962-1413, but I suggest you make it very clear that you won’t be eating their poison products any longer. Enough is enough!

Source*

Related Topics:

Mexican Supreme Court Refuses to Review Monsanto Appeal on GMO Maize Permits*

Products of Genome Editing, Synthetic Biology are GMOs – German environment minister*

GMO Wheat Trials to Begin in Europe*

GMO Golden Rice Shows Stunted and Abnormal Growth with Reduced Grain Yield*

GMO Arctic Apples to Hit Shelves Without Clear Labeling*

Iraq’s Agricultural Industry was Pillaged, Its Farmers Devastated, But It’s Still Free of GMO Seeds*

Canada’s New Food Labels won’t Include GMO Info.*

India’s Organic Rice Revolution Proves GMOs Are Unnecessary*

Largest-Ever GMO Crops Study Shows Massive Environmental Damage in U.S.*

U.S. Giant Dannon Pledges to take GMOs out of its Yogurt*

Comply or Lose Your Job – HR 1313 Would Force Vaccination and DNA Submission*

Comply or Lose Your Job – HR 1313 Would Force Vaccination and DNA Submission*

By Bernie Suarez

A new bill, HR 1313, has been introduced by North Carolina Congresswoman Virginia Foxx which is designed to give employers absolute power over the employee by mandating whatever they deem to be proper “health prevention” measures. These measures would include submitting DNA records as well as mandatory vaccinations and other perceived “health preventive” measures designed for the “greater good” of the general public. The result of not complying with this new law of course would be losing your job.

This kind of legislation thus gives large corporations government-like political status and god-like powers over the individual and further widens the gap between the rich and poor. But even more importantly this kind of legislation strips away intimate individual medical privacy and further solidifies the global control grid being created by the ruling elite as they attempt to complete their new world order plans of permanent human enslavement. No need to imagine how this “future” new world order enslavement will look like anymore. We’re seeing it all being rolled out in real-time and in broad daylight for the world to see.

As I discuss in my video below, all of this is part of the Communist-Globalist “peaceful revolution” strategy which is designed to financially neutralize the individual by first making the individual financially dependent on the state or the rulers, and then the threat of having all their food and survival (work related) income taken away is enough to “peacefully” silence the individual into submission.

Writer Dena Schmidt at NaturalHealth365.com writes regarding this latest bill:

While Republican congresswoman Virginia Foxx is the main sponsor of H.R. 1313, she is not the originator of the legislation. It is actually part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare.

Obamacare already threatens to assess penalties, surcharges and higher health insurance premiums to businesses and workers who refuse vaccinations – which the healthcare legislation refers to as “disease prevention.”

Solutions:

It’s time to pay attention and fight back. Organize your counterattack smartly, effectively and efficiently. Start somewhere and then build from there knowing that every voice counts. Below Schmidt explains some of the politics behind this resolution and offers a way to take action:

The National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) calls the H.R. 1313 bill a threat to both businesses and the people employed by them. Instead of allowing for free choice in health and wellness decisions, the legislation would attempt to implement a “carrot and stick” method for “strongly compelling” businesses and workers to accept the agendas of big pharma and its paid-off government officials.

The National Vaccine Information Center is urging concerned citizens to contact their own representatives and senators to express their views about H.R. 1313. When doing so, please remember to express your opinions intelligently and respectfully – you are far more likely to be heard if you are firm but polite when explaining your point of view.

All of this serves to remind us that science has been undermined by the ruling elite and that government pseudoscience has taken its place. This politicized science is then used to make claims which are then used to take away your rights. So first let’s be mindful of how this problem began and then let’s fight back with awareness, information-spreading and do what we can to introduce our own new bills to secure our right to privacy and health. Let’s remind both governments and large corporations that our right to natural health and personal physical and mental well-being is inalienable and cannot be taken away.

Additional links below:

Contact Congresswoman Virginia Foxx here

Contact your local representatives here

Source*

Related Topics:

Forced Vaccinations Violate Constitutional Rights, Sweden’s Parliament Declares*

Australian Prime Minister and Wife Tied to Pharma, Pushing Mandatory Vaccination*

30 States Move to Enact Vaccine Bills Including Tracking and Mandatory Vaccines*

Former Merck Rep Says Mandatory Vaccination Is For Profit and Not Public Health*

Author of Mandatory Meningitis Vaccine Bill Caught Taking $420k From Big Pharma*

Mandatory Vaccines for Californian Schools*

RFID Monitoring and DNA Profiles Unite*

H.R. 1313 Bill Would Require Medical Procedures Like Vaccines as Requirement for Employment*

U.S. House Bill Would Allow Employers to Demand Genetic Information from Workers*

Mexican Supreme Court Refuses to Review Monsanto Appeal on GMO Maize Permits*

Mexican Supreme Court Refuses to Review Monsanto Appeal on GMO Maize Permits*

The first chamber of the Mexican Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation (SCJN) has refused to review or analyze an appeal by Monsanto regarding the issuance of commercial permits for the sowing of GMO maize in the country.

In this way, the decision to resolve the GMO trials involving the companies Monsanto, Dow, Pioneer and Dupont, as well as the Mexican Government Departments of the Environment and Agriculture, and on the other side, civil society and academic organizations that are opposed to the sowing of GMO maize, will have to be resolved by the First Collegiate Court on Civil Matters.

This review case began last January, when the Collegial Court was about to issue a ruling on whether to maintain the precautionary measure imposed in September 2013, which banned the authorizations for GMO maize plantings pending resolution of the problem. On January 26, the Court suspended the vote on the resolution because Monsanto submitted a petition to the SCJN.

The lawyer of the civil society Corn Collective, René Sánchez Galindo, explained that last Wednesday in a private meeting, the Supreme Court judges evaluated the appeal that Monsanto filed. None of the judges endorsed the company’s request, which was a requirement for the Court to place the appeal on its docket.

Galindo considered that the arguments of the company—that transgenic maize is not harmful to health and the environment—are repetitive and reiterate what the companies Dow, Pioneer and Dupont said in another 22 lawsuits. He recalled that the Appeals Court ruled, inter alia, that the benefits of GMOs are uncertain. This decision was not contested by the Biotech companies, which have not been able to show the economic benefit of GMOs.

The suspension of planting GMO maize has been in force throughout the country after a court decision three and a half years ago, after a group of organizations, academics and citizens presented a collective action against the planting of GMO maize in Mexico.

In that year (2013) the federal government was ready to give commercial permits for the cultivation of GMO Maize, but District Court 12 determined that the government should set as a precautionary measure the suspension of the issuance of planting permits to companies until the courts could consider the scientific and economic metrics.

This original measure was decided based on considering the risk of environmental damage from the cultivation of GMO maize. The companies that had submitted applications for commercial planting permits challenged the resolution.

Since then, both the Mexican Environment and Agriculture Departments and the Biotech companies have filed about 100 challenges, including 26 appeal trials, 16 review appeals, 15 complaints, seven revocations and seven challenges to the admission of the complaint, According to the organization Seeds of Life.

After surpassing all those challenges, the trial began in May 2016, with the original judicial determination to maintain the suspension of the cultivation of transgenic maize.

Source*

Related Topics:

Monsanto Loses GMO Permit in Mexico*

Monsanto Has Lost $11 Million As Indian Cotton Farmers Begin To Use Indigenous Seed*

Monsanto + Syngenta Lobby Tanzanian Government to Pass Law Jailing Farmers who Exchange their Traditional Seeds*

U.K. Gov’t Has Colluded with Monsanto by Treating Wales as a Monsanto Toxic Dump*

85% of Tampons, Pads and Other Feminine Care Products Contaminated with Monsanto’s Cancer-Causing, Endocrine-Disrupting Glyphosate*

Monsanto Was Put on Trial for Ecocide at the Hague*

Monsanto Weed Killer Poison Found in U.S. Baby Food*

Bayer Confirms Monsanto Takeover with $66bn Bid*

Monsanto Backs Out Of Seed Plant in Argentina after Protests*

Monsanto Forced to Pay $46mn to Victims*

Burkina Faso Association Seeks $ 83mn from Monsanto over GMO Cotton Failure*

Monsanto Profits Drop Twenty-Five Percent Again as Farmers, Individuals Go Organic*

5 Million Nigerians Urge Government to Reject Monsanto Crops*

Oregon Plans to Douse Azure Standard Organic Farm in Pesticide*

Oregon Plans to Douse Azure Standard Organic Farm in Pesticide*

By Daisy Luther

 

If you buy organic products, chances are you have heard of Azure Standard, which is sort of like a mobile co-op that delivers well-priced organic food and products in bulk to drop-off points around the country.

Now that idyllic 2000-acre organic farm, which has produced reasonably priced organic wheat, field peas, barley, Einkorn, and beef for thousands of people across the country, is about to be sprayed against their will with Roundup and other harmful pesticides, due to a ruling from their local municipality about invasive plants.

Oregon state law requires farms to control noxious weeds. In this case, the weed in question is the Canadian Thistle. Sherman County appears to be concerned that Azure has not taken enough steps to eradicate the weed and decided they’ll do it themselves, to the detriment of Azure’s long-standing, 18-year organic certification and their livelihood as organic farmers.

Just in case you were under the misconception that we actually own our land and can decide what happens to it in this country, it appears that we’re tenant farmers with no options if the local government decides to wipe us out:

“Sherman County may be issuing a Court Order on May 22, 2017, to quarantine Azure Farms and possibly to spray the whole farm with poisonous herbicides, contaminating them with Milestone, Escort and Roundup herbicides.

This will destroy all the efforts Azure Farms has made for years to produce the very cleanest and healthiest food humanly possible. About 2,000 organic acres would be impacted; that is about 1.5 times the size of the city center of Philadelphia that is about to be sprayed with noxious, toxic, polluting herbicides.

The county would then put a lien on the farm to pay for the expense of the labour and chemicals used.” (source)

So not only will they poison the crops and kill off Azure’s livelihood, they’ll charge them for it. That’s a brazen insult on top of the injury.

Here’s how you can help Azure Standard.

There is just under a week before this would occur. Here’s what WE can all do.

If you are concerned about where your food comes from, enjoy Organic and non-GMO food grown in the United States, and support organic farmers, contact Sherman County Court before May 22, 2017 (and preferably before May 17 when the next court discussion will be held).

Contact info:

  1. Via email at lhernandez@co.sherman.or.us or…
  2. Call Lauren at 541-565-3416.

Raise your voice and speak up for you and your families and communities.

This proposed action is completely unreasonable and would destroy an organic farm and pollute a massive area. If enough voices that benefit from organic produce speak up, the county will understand that there are people that care about their food NOT containing toxic chemicals. And if the supporters of healthy food can have a louder voice than the supporters of toxic chemicals, every politician will listen. PLEASE take action today and share this message. Overwhelm the Sherman County representatives with your voice. (source)

I’ve already sent my email and will be making a call later today. Get on board and do the same. And share this article with everyone you know so that we can make our voices heard.

Update: Here are the email addresses of the entire county commission. Please be civil when you contact them, as swearing, threatening, and being rude means your message is lost to the delete bin.

County Commissioners Tom McCoy & Joe Dabulskis along with Administrative Assistant

  • tmccoy@gorge.net
  • joedab3jma@gmail.com
  • lhernandez@co.sherman.or.us

Sign the petition.

There is a petition you can sign that will be sent to the people in charge of this act of sabotage. Go here – it only takes a moment to sign it.

It’s bad enough that everything in the grocery store is already tainted. Actions like this take away our choice to avoid toxic pesticides and poisons in our food. We should have the right to buy organic, but if local governments take away the right to grow organic, we’ll have nothing left to eat than the standard fare.

If we stand by and do nothing but shake our heads sadly, we’ll soon be stuck without dietary options.

Source*

Related Topics:

Monsanto Profits Drop Twenty-Five Percent Again as Farmers, Individuals Go Organic*

A Coalition of Oregon Organic Farmers Beat Monsanto*

College Turns Its Own Football Field into an Organic Farm and Sees Students Transform*

India’s Organic Rice Revolution Proves GMOs Are Unnecessary*

Mini, Bio-Intensive Farms Providing Organic Food in the Middle of a Seven Year Drought*

Study Finds Clear Differences between Organic and non-Organic Milk and Meat*

First U.S. School District to Serve 100% Organic, non-GMO Meals*

Homeless People Plant a Rooftop Organic Garden and Feed an Entire Shelter*

Russia’s GMO Import Ban Boosts Local Organic Farmers*

One Hospital Uses Organic Food as Medicine*

Organic Food and Meat Shortages Hit a Morally Unstable Drought-Ridden America*

 

Motherhood and Marginalization: The Oppressive History of the Birth Industry*

Motherhood and Marginalization: The Oppressive History of the Birth Industry*

(Image: Lauren Walker / Truthout

 

By Rochaun Meadows-Fernandez

To say that the birth industry is mostly white would be an extreme understatement. Less than 4 percent of registered nurse midwives are African American, around 1 percent are of Asian descent and less than 1 percent are Latina according to a recent survey. A low level of representation is an issue in many industries, but in the birth world it is particularly problematic. The pervasive whiteness of the birth industry leads to culturally incompetent care that fuels the negative outcomes that women of colour face both directly and indirectly. Low levels of cultural awareness lead to stereotyping and assumptions that fail to consider Black, Latina, Asian American, Arab American and Indigenous women’s unique circumstances and perpetuate ineffective methods of care. As a result, white values and experiences have interpenetrated the birth world and further isolated women of color.

Black mothers in particular have a maternal mortality rate that is more than four times the national average. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), there is an average of 12.1 deaths per 100,000 live births for white women, 40.4 deaths per 100,000 live births for Black women, and 16.4 deaths per 100,000 live births for “women of other races” (the CDC report does not break this number down further). Meanwhile Black babies have an infant mortality rate that is more than two times the national average.

Despite efforts from the World Health Organization (WHO) to combat maternal and infant mortality, maternal mortality rates in the United States continue to worsen, unlike those in other wealthy countries.

Among the multitude of factors that have created this health crisis, toxic stress and the emotional manifestations of racism are key elements. Women of colour are substantially more likely to deal with poverty, face language barriers and have limited access to health care. All of these make it difficult to receive adequate care. These environmental…

Among the multitude of factors that have created this health crisis, toxic stress and the emotional manifestations of racism are key elements. Women of color are substantially more likely to deal with poverty, face language barriers and have limited access to health care. All of these make it difficult to receive adequate care. These environmental stressors are often overlooked by white birth workers who work with women of colour.

This oversight was perfectly illustrated when Ina May Gaskin, a well-known natural birth advocate, answered questions about race and maternal mortality during a Birth Roundup hosted by Texas Birth Networks. After registered nurse Tasha Portley inquired about the connection between race and maternal mortality, Gaskin gave a roundabout answer that ultimately denied the impact of systemic racism on maternal care for mothers of colour. Instead of addressing the combination of race and poverty, she spoke to the issues of poor white women, saying:

“You couldn’t look at our numbers and have anything useful to say about it because the number of African American women would’ve been rather low. Poverty, we’ve got that covered. We were some of the poorest.”

After she danced around the question, Portley informed her that once nutrition, smoking and finances were accounted for, race was a strong influencer of outcomes. In response, however, Gaskin merely emphasized the importance of prayer in managing stress. In reflecting on how unresponsive Gaskin’s comment was, Portley later commented,

“We [Black women] are one of the most religious people on the planet.”

Gaskin’s icon status has the ability to pass this culturally insensitive rhetoric on to the next generation of white birth workers. As a matter of fact, the room, filled with white birth workers, was unfazed and chuckled in affirmation of Gaskin’s comments.

One Black birth worker speaking out in a sea of whiteness is a sample reflective of the birth industry. The lack of awareness and the cultural insensitivity that was displayed here is symbolic of the experiences of women of color across the nation. White birth workers are often unfamiliar with the consequences of systemic racism and look to class alone as the cause of health disparities. Even when women of color give firsthand accounts of our experiences, the birth industry ignores us.

Clearly, the high mortality rates are much more than a class issue — Black women with advanced degrees are more likely to lose their babies than white women with high school diplomas.

Nikia Lawson is a birth worker of colour located in Fort Worth, Texas, where the Birth Roundup took place. According to Lawson, above all else, it is most important to “trust Black women when it comes to their bodies.” Lawson works to fight health disparities in the birth community by educating mothers on pregnancy and postpartum care.

“Birth workers of colour have found ourselves in a position to really educate and shift the final birth outcomes of the expectant woman, who pretty much looks like us, who have experiences similar to ours — and we primarily understand the situations that our expectant mothers face,” Lawson told Truthout.

After hearing Gaskin’s comments, Lawson took to her Facebook page, which is filled with both Black and white birth workers from around the world, to address the importance of collaborative effort in creating change.

What would change look like? For Black women, we need birth workers who understand we exist at the intersection of history, race, gender and reproductive health.

In Texas, where Lawson lives, the maternal mortality rate is not only the highest in the United States, but also the highest in the industrial world. Black women account for 11.4% of births in Texas but 28.8% of deaths.

Upon speaking to Lawson, it became clear the birth industry was not created with women of colour in mind. She explained that the birth industry was established by white men and women, who “researched the impact of birth support [in] Indigenous culture, then brought the concept back to western society and began training women to serve.” Indigenous women and other women of colour already had traditional methods for supporting birthing women that the newly trained white midwives drew upon heavily. In the early 1920s when many of these changes in the birth industry began, white women were in a better position to afford birth services outside of the home. As a result, the new developments in the birth industry mostly impacted white women.

The Rise of the Professional (White) Midwife

Birth workers of colour have always existed.

Prior to 1921, in the south, Black lay midwives — often known as “granny midwives” — provided medical care to poor and rural pregnant women. The Sheppard-Towner Act of 1921 was an attempt to create a more professional education path for birth workers that reduced mortality. Instead, it resulted in more obstacles for midwives, particularly Black women, to continue their work. Suddenly, a smear campaign portrayed lay midwives as dirty, uneducated and unqualified to handle births. Not unexpectedly, the discrediting of midwives was often rooted in racist ideas.  “Filthy and ignorant and not far removed from the jungles of Africa,” were the descriptors used by the director of the Board of Health, Felix Underwood, in 1926 in reference to Black midwives. (Strangely, Underwood himself facilitated midwifery programs.) In other words, racially based preconceptions, in addition to attacks from “professional” obstetrics, played a key part in the downfall of lay midwifery.

The newly emerged professional midwife was portrayed in a pristine white uniform to signify both sterile practices and a lack of individuality. It was apparent that midwives were now regulated followers of modern medicine. Even after training, Black midwives served as a placeholder until enough nurses were trained to assist obstetricians with births.

Midwives were also expected to serve as race gatekeepers during birth. Walter Plecker, a physician, county registrar and later state registrar of [Bureau of] Vital Statistics in Virginia enlisted midwives to “police the women they assisted so that no mixed-race children got the opportunity to ‘pass’ into the white world.” Filling out birth registers became primary concerns, and those who did this “incorrectly” lost their licenses.

Black midwives were placed between two contradicting systems. On one hand, they were supposed to assist in reducing maternal and infant mortality in their communities of origin. On another, they were used within the oppressive system that created these disparities to ensure no racial mixing. As expected, a system that gives high levels of effort to segregation of races has no time for culturally-sensitive care. From the institutionalization of midwifery, all matters of culture would be expected to take a back seat to enforcing systemic oppression. The numbers of Black midwives dwindled, but prior to this, the culture and spiritual nature of midwifery had already receded. The percentage of births attended by midwives in Richmond, Virginia, fell from 41 percent in 1907 to 18 percent in 1922. At the same time, doctor-attended births increased from 59 percent to 82 percent, according to “Maternal Mortality in Richmond: A Preliminary Survey” published in 1923 by C.C. Hudson and M.P. Rucker in the Virginia Medical Monthly. Over time, lay midwives were replaced by white nurses with higher levels of medical training.

Eventually, the industry became overwhelmingly dominated by white birth workers and practices that aligned with whiteness. Moreover, this shift decreased representation of midwives of color in the field and limited women of color’s access to midwives, since they could no longer afford home birth services. Soon the industry shift led to nearly 99 percent of US babies being born in hospitals.

In the face of these changes, what can be done to support birth parents of colour in the current moment?

“I think the best way to combat the issue of maternal mortality is to continue to educate moms about their options for their childbirth experience,”

Lawson said, explaining that many people are unaware that it’s possible to access birth support outside what is offered in the hospital.

However, in the last 30 years, the birth industry has been changing.

“Now, birth workers of colour are seeking to support marginalized, disadvantaged, disproportionately affected communities that have adverse birth outcomes,” explained Lawson.

Black birth workers and other birth workers of color must not only create spaces to work within their own communities — they must reclaim a tradition that was wiped out by hate-based standardization. Ina May Gaskin’s comments were neither surprising nor unusual — they were the product of an industry that wasn’t established with Black women’s benefit in mind. The birth industry was never intended to serve women of color. It was created to police and reinforce an oppressive system. Acknowledging the whiteness of the birth industry means coming to terms with this fact and finding a way to transform an anti-Black institution.

Source*

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