The Campaign to Save the North Shore Birth Center

Archive for November 19th, 2008

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.

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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!!


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