Dick Morris, author of Catastrophe, stated on the June 24 edition of The O’Reilly Factor that “right now the government is telling people, cut back on cesarean sections, go through natural childbirth. It’s a lower cost.”
Media Matters, a Web-based, not-for-profit, research and information center whose mission is to comprehensively monitor, analyze, and correct conservative misinformation in the U.S. media, posted a video of the O’Reilly-Morris interview and reported the following on its site on June 25, 2009:
In fact, the Obama administration has not advocated “cut[ting] back on cesarean sections.” Rather, the American Medical Association (AMA) proposed addressing “the overuse of certain services or procedures,” [emphasis added] including cesarean sections, in response to the administration’s stated goal of reducing the growth in health care spending.
The AMA and five other health care organizations issued the proposals in a June 1 letter to Obama to address the overuse of certain procedures. In its attachment to the letter, the AMA stated that the “AMA-convened” Physician Consortium for Performance Improvement (PCPI) recommended addressing “the overuse of certain services or procedures,” including “Induction of labor/Caesarean Sections.”
Read an excerpt from the AMA attachment, Efforts to Reduce Unnecessary Utilization, as well as a transcript of the interview on The O’Reilly Factor here.
The Morris “natural childbirth” interview preceded this week’s international media and blog furor over midwife Denis Walsh’s not-yet-published article,“Epidural Culture,” which was submitted to the journal Evidence Based Midwifery and is currently under peer review according to the Royal College of Midwives.
According to the BBC, Walsh claims that pain in labor is known to have positive physiological effects and triggers the release of endorphins to aid women in adjusting to the pain. Additionally, he calls pain in labor a rite of passage that help a woman adjust to the responsibilities of mothering. Walsh allegedly writes that epidurals have known risks, such as an increased need for synthetic hormones to augment labor and increased rates of instrumental deliveries. The BBC quotes Walsh expressing concern that the long-term effects of increasing epidural rates are unknown.
As of yet, there have been no media reports that “natural childbirth” will be required of women by the U.S. government to control health care cost, nor will cesareans be systematically denied to those in need. Furthermore, it appears that epidural anesthesia will remain available in U.K. hospitals in spite of the content of a not-yet-published article by one midwife.