The Campaign to Save the North Shore Birth Center

Archive for the ‘picketing’ Category

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!!

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!

GETTING READY:

* 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!

IMPORTANT GUIDELINES FOR RALLY DAY:

* 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.

PARKING SUGGESTIONS:

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.

HOW YOU CAN HELP:

* 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 Cleansehhc@aol.com and Annalisa annalisa_walker@hotmail.com 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.

THANK YOU FOR PLANNING TO COME OUT TO SHOW YOUR SUPPORT!

SEND NEWS TIPS TO:

The Globe: newstip@globe.com

The Herald: http://www.bostonherald.com/about/contact/news_tip.bg

WBUR: http://www.wbur.org/contactus/

WGBH: http://www.wgbh.org/contact/

WHDH Boston: 1-800-280-TIPS / newstips@whdh.com / viewer_news@whdh.com

WBZTV: 877-WBZ-TIPS / http://wbztv.com/contact / newstips@wbztv.com

WCVB: http://www.thebostonchannel.com/newscenter5/index.html

FOX25: http://www.myfoxboston.com/myfox/pages/InsideFox/ContactUs?pageId=5.11

Daily Item of Lynn: contactus@itemlive.com

Daily News of Newburyport: svartabedian@newburyportnews.com (Sonya Vartabedian )

Gloucester Daily Times: rlamont@gloucestertimes.com (Raymond Lamont) / jpope@gloucestertimes.com (Jeff Pope) / 978-283-7000

Peabody & Lynnfield Weekly News: bcurtin@weeklynews.net (Robert Curtin) / 978-532-5880

You can find the info for the various cnc papers at http://www.wickedlocal.com
(click on Towns & Newspapers, then select the town, and ‘contact us’)

Skirt!: Alison O’Leary Murray, Editor alisonm@skirtboston.com

Phoenix: Send letters to the editor, press releases, and article commentary to letters@phx.com

Dig: laura@weeklydig.com

River 92.5: info@wxrv.com

Even though this morning’s picketing shift was a little dicey — it rained, then stopped, then rained, then stopped, etc. — we did have four grownups and two little ones out there in the wet. We survived, the signs survived…but I’m not sorry that I suggested people stay home.

Just so you know, picketing is still happening, and we’re still getting plenty of positive attention from hospital staff and community members in the forms of honks, waves, smiles, and the occasional request for more info.

Here are two of the picketing pictures that recently appeared in the Danvers Herald and the Boston Globe:

Picketing to save the North Shore Birth Center

Picketing to save the North Shore Birth Center

A photog from the Globe came out to yesterday’s lunchtime picketing session, and the picture she took is in today’s Boston Globe along with an accompanying article written by Kay Lazar and Steven Rosenberg.

Here’s a highlight:

The controversy comes amid a larger debate in the medical and legal communities about maternity care and high medical malpractice insurance premiums paid by hospitals and doctors. Concern about malpractice lawsuits has prompted physicians nationwide to become hyper-cautious, and that has driven up the numbers nationwide of more controlled, caesarean section births.

But C-sections can expose women to serious complications, according to studies cited in a Nov. 11 letter to trustees and cosigned by Eugene Declercq, a professor at the Boston University School of Public Health.

“Defensive practices in obstetrics unfortunately have encouraged practices that evidence shows are harmful or provide no benefits,” stated the letter, which urged board members to keep the center open.

At this morning’s picket, just before security very politely asked us to move to Herrick Street at Beverly Hospital’s main entrance entrance, a reporter from the Beverly Citizen took the picketer’s photos and info. Hopefully we’ll see some smiling faces and birth-positive signs in the next issue.

Picketing makes for a great photo/film op, so get in touch with your local paper or news network (if you haven’t already) and let them know when you, a resident with an important opinion about the community, will be outside with a sign!


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