The Campaign to Save the North Shore Birth Center

Archive for November 2008

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What: A meeting to discuss our plans moving forward in support of the North Shore Birth Center

Where: The First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church, 225 Cabot St. Beverly MA

Note: There is a public parking lot behind the church off of Hale Street/Briscoe Street. People will need to enter the back door, on Essex Street/Briscoe Street. The front door will be locked. If the back door is locked, ring the bell. The meeting will take place upstairs in the sanctuary.

When: Sunday, November 23rd from 2 to 3:45 pm

Please come and share your ideas! We need YOUR help to save the Birth Center!

The North Shore Birth Center is in jeopardy!

There is a very serious move to close the North Shore Birth Center, a midwifery practice situated on the campus of Beverly Hospital in Beverly, Massachusetts.

On Tuesday, November 18, 2008, the Board of Trustees of the Northeast Health Corporation considered the proposal to close the Birth Center. During that early-morning meeting, nearly 200 people–adults, children, and babies–bundled up against the cold and held a rally. This rally advocated for the same things as previous efforts, which included a letter-writing campaign, daily picketing, and an open letter to the Board:

  1. A delay of the vote on the Birth Center’s fate, since such an important decision with long-term consequences for our community should not be rushed, and
  2. A meeting between community members and the Board of Trustees, to seek more transparency about the Hospital’s concerns and to open some dialogue that would allow the community–which had thus far felt silenced by hospital administration, which refused to communicate with representatives of our campaign–a real voice in this decision.

Featuring energetic speakers, colorful signs, and lots of cheering, the rally outside of Beverly Hospital made headlines: All the major Boston television stations, newspapers, and radio stations covered the story.

Several hours after the Board of Trustees met, the hospital released the following four-sentence statement.

The Board of Trustees takes its responsibilities to this organization and to the community very seriously.

Consistent with other birth centers around the nation, the North Shore Birth Center is experiencing a significant rise in the cost of malpractice insurance premiums.

The Board of Trustees is diligently weighing the impact that the closure of the Birth Center would have on the community; the level of community interest in its continued operation has not gone unnoticed. The Board intends to leave the Birth Center services unchanged while it continues to examine and discuss this important issue.

In other words, our rally and other efforts were a success! The Board of Trustees recognized the need to move slowly and give the proposal full deliberation.

However, we are not out of the woods yet. As the Boston Globe points out, this statement “ma[kes] it clear that the center’s future is still very much in question.” We still need your help!

Help us save NSBC!

The members of this group are against this proposal and want the Board of Trustees to vote against it. Women deserve to choose the birth experience that is right for them and their families. We ask the Board of Trustees to refrain from making a decision that would deny this choice to families of the North Shore.

NSBC is one of only two birth centers left in the entire state of Massachusetts! Let’s work together to protect it!

ABOUT THE NSBC: Established in 1980, the North Shore Birth Center has facilitated the births of over 6,000 babies to women with “low-risk” pregnancies seeking a natural childbirth. We want the North Shore Birth Center to continue offering quality, compassionate care in an alternative birth setting.

Join the Campaign to help us make our case to the Board of Trustees and hospital administration.

We are now in the process of planning Phase Two of our campaign. We will update this page with information on how you can help as soon as possible. In the meantime, see these links to learn more about our efforts:

Ongoing initiatives:

How to stay informed:

Media coverage:

Blogging coverage:

Please note: The members of the Campaign to Save the North Shore Birth Center are not affiliated with the North Shore Birth Center or Beverly Hospital. We are consumers who care passionately about NSBC!

Last Update: Wednesday, November 21, 9:09 a.m.

What an amazing day.  If any one had any doubt that we as citizens can influence our community, today was proof positive that we can and have made a difference.  The rally was a great success – although the proposal to cease births at the Birth Center is still on the table, the vote was postponed, as our group demonstrated just how important the North SHore Birth Center is to our community, and that this proposal needs to be more closely scrutinized. 

I overslept – one of the hazards of having a recent Birth Center baby at home :).  I woke up at 5:30 – just when I had planned to leave my house in Boxford.  Amazingly, I managed to nurse Bridger, and bundle both of us up in half an hour.  We arrived at the rally at 6:35, and it was such a thrill to see the sidewalk in front of the hospital packed with families!  As I drove up to park on a side street, I was even more encouraged to see all of the local news crews out to cover our event.  Bridger and I settled in with a sign.  The mood was festive, drivers passing by as a whole were so supportive – lots of beeps and thumbs up.  There were easily over 100 people present by the time the Board began arriving.  Several people were interviewed, myself included, and later at home I watched as we were covered on all the local news stations.  We also had speakers – including the first woman to birth at NSBC – what an inspiration to see not only the new birth center babies – but grown adults carrying ‘Birth Center Baby’ signs.  The group did then walk onto the hospital property, only to be told by the administration to leave.  Our wonderful midwives had food and coffee at the birth center, but unfortunately there was a security person standing out front to keep rally participants out.  I was told that only patients could be on the property – but I still get my well woman care there, so…  Several of us did get by to warm-up and nurse our kids – thank you midwives for having goodies for us!  I got home just in time for the noon news. 

What a fun day – although I would have loved for the propsal to have been denied outright, this was a major victory.  We were heard, we made a positive impression on the Board, and we have brought awareness and attention to such important health issues.  Because protecting birth options is not just a woman’s issue – this is a family issue and community concern.  My sincere thanks to the Steering comittee, and to all those who wrote letters, picketed last week, and showed up this morning in the cold.  Let’s keep up this good work!!

Many thanks to Tabitha Sherrell, a professional photographer and Campaign member who documented our rally today! She posted several great shots on her blog this afternoon. They’re fantastic! Check them out here.

It’s been so wonderful to read all of the letters of support pouring into the local newspapers. As much as the campaign loves media coverage in the form of newspaper articles, the letters you’ve written really help to raise awareness in the larger community. After all, who doesn’t like reading the letters section of the paper?

Here are some highlights, all from recent editions of the Salem News.

From Robin E. Rubin, MSN, CPNP:

Our community is so lucky to have not only the exceptional midwives who practice at the North Shore Birth Center, but the facility itself.

The North Shore Birth Center is more than just an “alternative” building to deliver babies. It is truly an extended family of dedicated certified nurse midwives, support staff, and other like-minded parents. I truly believe that if the North Shore Birth Center is no longer allowed to birth babies, these mothers are not going to willingly go to Beverly Hospital to birth instead. They will choose home birth. I know I will.

From Eileen Tran:

Every woman chooses to deliver her baby differently and there is no “right” way that works for all. I hope that the Northeast Health Corporation will continue to give the women of the North Shore the option to deliver their babies in the best way for them.

Please continue to support births at the Birth Center as a safe option to the women of the North Shore.

From Jennifer Barrows Fox:

Without the North Shore Birth Center, many women may choose to labor at home and not have access to the clear thinking and quick action that the midwives used to get my son breathing quickly enough to avoid any long-term damage.

I ask the Beverly Hospital trustees to vote to allow the Birth Center to continue to offer labor and delivery at the center. It would be a shame for women to lose the North Shore Birth Center as an option.

Get ready for the Save the North Shore Birth Center rally – Tomorrow, 6:15am!!!

Gather with us to ask the Board of Trustees to hear our pleas to save the North Shore Birth Center! This will be a peaceful, non-confrontational gathering to show our community support of the Birth Center and its commitment to safe, natural birth.

We are expecting hundreds of supporters. Bring all your friends and family! Children welcome!

Based on the response we have received about the Rally, we are now asking people to arrive in the area promptly by 6:15am, allowing yourself enough time to park on side streets and walk over to the Herrick Street sidewalk in front if the hospital grounds. Board members meet at 7 a.m. and we want them to see our HUGE crowd as they arrive!


* Consider bringing your own sign, backed by cardboard if possible, with messages such as “Save the Birth Center” (or come up with your own!)
* Consider making a t-shirt that reads “Birth Center Baby” for any babes/kids who will be joining you who were born at the Birth Center. Make it large, to fit over warm outerwear!


* Dress warmly – forecast is for 30 degree temps in the morning.
* Park on surrounding street, NOT on hospital grounds.
* Children are very welcome, but watch them closely on this busy street!
* Gather on the Herrick Street sidewalk, NOT on hospital grounds.
* Check in when you arrive. Organizers will be holding balloons to identify them.


Curbside parking is available on many of the residential streets near the hospital. Possibilities include Heather St, Story Ave (from Henderson to Colon), and Henderson Ave. The side streets between Cabot Street and Sohier Road are also an option, including Lyman St, Mason St, and Swan St. Please DO NOT park on hospital property.


* BE THERE, with as many friends and relatives as possible!
* SHARE this rally information with all who might be interested.
* BRING your own SIGN. (We will have some to share but the more the better!)
* VOLUNTEER to help with crowd control at the rally. Email Deb and Annalisa to sign up. Men especially encouraged!
* INVENT CHEERS in support of the Birth Center.
* LEAD CHEERS during the rally.
* BRING something FUN to share with some of the KIDS at the rally (suggestions: cups of cocoa or cider, sidewalk chalk, stickers, “Birth Center Baby” signs).
* FLOOD THE MEDIA with tips today. Tip lines listed below.



The Globe:

The Herald:



WHDH Boston: 1-800-280-TIPS / /




Daily Item of Lynn:

Daily News of Newburyport: (Sonya Vartabedian )

Gloucester Daily Times: (Raymond Lamont) / (Jeff Pope) / 978-283-7000

Peabody & Lynnfield Weekly News: (Robert Curtin) / 978-532-5880

You can find the info for the various cnc papers at
(click on Towns & Newspapers, then select the town, and ‘contact us’)

Skirt!: Alison O’Leary Murray, Editor

Phoenix: Send letters to the editor, press releases, and article commentary to


River 92.5:

November 2008
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