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November 1998


Vaccine Injured Children Wait & Wait


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France Suspends Mass Hepatitis B Inoculations

Faced with a potential health disaster, France suspended Hepatitis B
vaccinations of schoolchildren four years after a mass immunization program began. Health Minister Bernard Kouchner said inoculations were stopped because of fears  the vaccine could cause neurological disorders, in particular multiple sclerosis.

It cannot be excluded  the vaccination might reveal or facilitate
central nervous system problems, Kouchner said Thursday. Since 1994, 11-year-old French schoolchildren have been inoculated with a vaccine against hepatitis, a potentially deadly virus that attacks the liver. No scientific study has yet shown a definitive link between the vaccine and multiple sclerosis. However, according to _Le Monde_ newspaper, a Nanterre court ruled in June  sufficient evidence existed to conclude  there was a connection between a vaccine produced by British drug maker SmithKlineBeecham and multiple sclerosis symptoms in two people.

SmithKline Beecham  appealed the ruling and a court order to pay roughly $23,000. Another ruling is pending in a case against French pharmaceutical company Pasteur-Merieux, which also produces a Hepatitis B vaccine. The World Health Organization,  expressed concern the French decision would undermine its 100-country inoculation program and lead to loss of public confidence in this vaccine.

Karin Schumacher
Vaccine Information & Awareness (VIA)
12799 La Tortola
San Diego,  CA  92129
619-484-3197 (phone/voicemail)
[email protected] (email)

Midwives Fight Back

In Illinois, as with other similar states, there is a legal battle raging for the right to practice midwifery. Four area midwives have been issued cease and desist orders from the Department of Professional Regulation (DPR). The cease and desist orders were issued not because there had been any complaints against these midwives, but because Illinois has not licensed midwives since 1963. The DPR claims they are practicing medicine without a license.  This is obviously a political battle.

One immediate result was the creation of  the first UNION in the history of midwifery. It is called the National Certified Professional Midwives Guild (NCPMG).  Some time ago hypnotists were also issued cease and desist orders by DPR. The hypnotists formed a union with the AFL-CIO which promptly went to work for them.Their Illinois-local union representative (i.e. a regional rep) arranged a meeting between various involved medical organizations, one being DPR, with director Nicky Zollar in attendance and their chosen hypnotist representatives from their individual union.

At the Conclusion of the meeting DPR agreed to back down on the cease and desist orders against the hypnotists. The agreement stated that the DPR WOULD STOP FURTHER HARASSMENT WHILE THE HYPNOTHERAPISTS BROUGHT LICENSING BILLS FORWARD AND WOULD NOT ENFORCE THE CEASE AND DESIST ORDERS WHILE THE HYPNOTISTS WORKED TO GET THEIR BILL PASSED. The new NCPMG is confident that they will attain a similar outcome.


Midwife Union gains 2 important supporters

Open letter from
Faith Gibson

Open letter from
Marsden Wagner

The young midwife union gained theunqualified support of two of the leaders in homebirth and midwifery. Below are letters written by Faith Gibson and Marsden Wagner offering unqualified support for the union (NCPMG). Faith Gibson is a very well known midwife from California and Marsden Wagner is the former European Director of Maternal and Child Health for the World Health Organization.



Obstetrical Procedure Named After a Midwife

For more than 20 years, Ina May Gaskin, A Certified Professional Midwife, has taught the use of an elegant but simple maneuver to solve on of the most feared birth problems: shoulder dystocia. This complication is diagnosed when the baby's shoulders become stuck behind the mother's pelvis after the birth of the head. Injuries sustained by babies after shoulder dystocia are the cause of many malpractice lawsuits in U.S. courts, since the accepted medical procedures for solving this problem in the U.S. often result in massive surgical interventions. Ina May's technique, learned from traditional Mayan midwives in the highlands of Guatemala in 197, involves no more than the helping the mother to move to her hands and knees. This change of position alters the pelvic geometry and dislodges stuck shoulders.

     Ina May collaborated with Joseph P. Bruner, MD, of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee, to publish a study of a registry of cases Ina May established, in which a variety of practitioners used the All-fours, or Gaskin, Maneuver. In May of 1998 The Journal of Reproductive Medicine published the study.

The importance of the publication of this article is three fold. One, it provides obstetricians, who attend 94% of U.S> births, with a non-surgical solution for one of the most feared birth complications. Two, it is the first time that an obstetrical maneuver has been named for a midwife, despite the fact that midwives developed many of the manual techniques used during labor and birth long before there were obstetricians. The Gaskin Maneuver is only the second obstetrical term named after a woman, the other being the Apgar Score, which bears the name of Virginia Apgar, the physician who developed what is now a routine assessment of the newborn. Third, it is an important reminder that obstetricians, relative latecomers to the practice of maternity care, do not have an exclusive on creative and valuable innovation in maternity care.




More Teen Pregnancies

Teen pregnancies continue to rise. In 1994, there were 46,753 pregnancies in Canada among teens aged 15 to 19. In 1987, it was only 39,340. The pregnancy rate rose to 48.8 per 1,000 women, from 41.1 perviously.
Statistics Canada



Norway Knows

In Norway, 97% of new mothers breastfeed their newborns, 80% still breastfeed their three-mont-olds, and 20% breastfeed beyond one year. Here's why:

Maternity leave is 42 weeks with full pay or 52 weeks with 80% pay

Back at work mothers are entitles to 1-1/2 hour breaks to return home to breasfeed or to nurse the child brought to work.


Epidurals Lengthen Labor

Epidurals increase the length of labors they are supposed to make easier, says Texas researcher Dr. James M. Alexander of the University of Texas. He studied 199 first time moms with normal pregnancies, admitted to the hospital with contractions. This study adds to previous research suggesting epidurals are associated with higher rates of cesarean section because prolonged labor can lead to fetal distress.. The researchers recommend women should be informed before they elect an epidural.
American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology (1998;178;516-520)




More Teen Pregnancies

Teen pregnancies continue to rise. In 1994, there were 46,753 pregnancies in Canada among teens aged 15 to 19. In 1987, it was only 39,340. The pregnancy rate rose to 48.8 per 1,000 women, from 41.1 perviously.
Statistics Canada



Formula Fear

Exposure from phyto-oestrogens in the soy-based formulas may be sufficient to "exert biological effects." The study of seven infants fed soy formula, seven fed cow's milk, and seven fed human milk was partially funded by Wyeth. Potential effects of the steroid-hormonal imbalance may affect gonadal function.
K. Setchell, Lancet, 350:23-27




Pacifiers Suck

Pacifier use is a weaning mechanism, according to a study of 650 moms and babes. Pacifier users have fewer breastfeedings per day than abstainers.
The New England Journal of Medicine




Calcium Study

Breastfeeding moms don't need extra calcium, according to new research from the Cincinnati Children's Hosital Medical Center, and a panel from the Institute of Medicine. All women under 50 need 1,000 milligrams of calcium a day. Those under 19 need 1,300 milligrams a day. One cup of cows' milk had 300 milligrams of calcium.
The New England Journal of Medicine




Margot Early's romance novel about home birth is now available. The novel is entitled:
You Were Always On My Mind We've heard that Ms. Early had a homebirth of her own and that the novel portrays a very favorable depiction of midwifery.



Misinformation About Baby Food Settlement Involving Gerber Products Company Completely Inaccurate

From the Gerber Internet Site:

     Fremont, Michigan -- Gerber Products Company is not involved in any settlement involving reimbursements to consumers. Rumors that have been circulating for several months involving Gerber and an alleged settlement are completely false.
A settlement was announced in 1996 involving infant formula and pricing issues, but Gerber was not connected with the litigation. The deadline for filing claims under the infant formula settlement expired 1/31/97. It appears that the Gerber name has mistakenly been connected to the Minneapolis P.O. box used to process claims for the infant formula settlement. Gerber was advised by Minneapolis postal authorities that the P.O. box has been closed. It is our belief that the origin of this misinformation is the settlement announced in 1996 involving infant formula. It is unfortunate that consumers are being misled by this misinformation. Consumers are cautioned not to send birth records or other information in connection with this rumor.




Remembering Marilyn

Marilyn Moran,  70 years old, died suddenly  June 13, at her home, of a heart attack. 

Marilyn was the mother of ten children and founder of the couples birth concept, what she called "do-it-yourself" birth.  She wrote "Birth and the Dialogue of Love," "Happy Birthdays," and recently,
"Pleasurable Husband/Wife Childbirth."  She was a tenacious researcher , never afraid to say the truth.

Marilyn always believed and promoted the idea that birth is the counterpart to conception, an intimate exchange between lovers. She insisted  outsiders have no place at a birth;  just as conception takes
place in privacy, in a spirit of trust, joy, and pleasure, so birth should also.   Marilyn argued her beliefs
boldly and  passionately.

Marilyn's books can still be purchased from:
NNII  4820 - 69th ave. No.  Minneapolis,
MN   55429-1673.
                        Valarie Nordstrom
                         [email protected]

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Vaccine Injured Children Wait and Wait and Wait      

Larry Gray, a home repair salesman from Harrah, Okla., falls into the category of those long awaiting payment. He first filed a claim for his blind, nonspeaking, wheelchair-confined son Christopher, now 9, in 1989. In August 1993, he won a ruling that the DTP vaccine was to blame and that his son was entitled to compensation. So far, Gray has seen zero.

The Justice Department kept questioning the life-care plan. Finally, on Friday, Gray and his Idaho attorney Curtis Webb stipulated to compensation of what will amount to about $2 million if the boy lives to be 20. His doctors have told him he won't. Gray should have funds for long-term care by November.

In serious-injury cases like Christopher's, life-care plans must be worked out even after compensation is awarded. And Justice lawyers sometimes spend months squabbling over expenses like the projected cost of diapers in a certain state in the next century. Since such children have a shortened life expectancy and since unused compensation dollars go back to the government if an injured child dies, parents of such children are understandably suspicious of delays.

Some lawyers experienced at bringing claims are so frustrated with the federal program they are threatening to abandon it and return to the practice of suing doctors and the big drug companies that make the vaccines.

But Balbier insisted the program does not unnecessarily delay claims. "We have every interest in trying to have these cases adjudicated as quickly as possible," he said. "The program has been extraordinarily successful on that level. It takes an average one to two years to get through the system from the time a claim is filed."

If families go through the courts, he said, it could take seven to eight years.

To win compensation, it used to be enough to demonstrate certain timely symptoms. But three years ago, Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala, according to critics, gutted The program's Vaccine Injury Table associated with the most reactive of childhood vaccines: the DTP shot.

DTP stands for diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (or whooping cough). And of $916 million awarded in compensation since the start of the program, $739
million, or 81 percent, has been for DTP cases. Scientists say the culprit in DTP reactions is the pertussis portion of the inoculation, mainly because it is made from the killed whole cells of pertussis bacteria

Shalala raised the bar on standards of DTP vaccine injury by deleting seizure and shock-collapse disorders, making anaphylactic reactions occur within four hours of the shot, and drastically redefining evidence of acquired brain damage or brain inflammation to a stupor that persists for at least 24 hours and requires hospitalization.

"The DTP kids are going to start losing by the trainload," predicted California lawyer Andrew Dodd. "The new standards are very difficult to meet. You have to have, basically, a child in a coma within 72 hours."

Vaccine-injury lawyers appealed Shalala's changes immediately to the U.S. Court of Appeals, claiming she did not have authority to change the injury table. The court ruled in Shalala's favor, giving the HHS secretary broad power to make medical decisions in the future.

Barbara Fisher, founder of the Virginia-based National Vaccine Information Center, a group of parents and health advocates concerned about vaccine safety, thinks Shalala changed the rules because the huge agency felt too many awards were being made for DTP injuries and deaths, and "each award is an acknowledgment the vaccine can kill and injure."

Shalala refused repeated GNS requests to answer specific questions about the program and vaccines, instead issuing a boilerplate endorsement of childhood vaccinations.

"Like other medications, vaccines will never be 100 percent safe -- but they save thousands of our children's lives every year," she said in her statement. "For those very few cases where a vaccine may cause an injury, we need to provide fair compensation. We also need to work vigorously to provide the safest possible vaccines. But most of all, we must not forget the great benefit we are gaining from widespread vaccination."

Criticism of the 10-year-old compensation program may evolve into a lively public policy debate. A concerned Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., who as chairman of the House Health Subcommittee helped mold the compensation system, said he will recommend to the subcommittee's current chairman, Rep. Michael Bilirakis, R-Fla., that he have hearings on the program and the vaccine injury table.

Bilirakis said he would consider hearings.

Vaccines are the only substance Americans are forced to put in their bodies. State and federal governments, to control disease, demand it of citizens or they will be shunned from normal society: denied admission to day-care centers, schools, colleges, the military, health-insurance coverage, some jobs.
� copyright 1998 Gannett News Service
Source: Home News Tribune
Meryl W. Dorey,
The Australian Vaccination Network, Inc.
PO Box 177 02 6687 1699 Phone
Bangalow NSW 2479 02 6687 2032 FAX
[email protected]
"All truth goes through three stages.  First it is ridiculed.  Then it is violently opposed.  Finally, it is accepted as self-evident."
Any information obtained here is not to be construed as medical OR legal advice. The decision to vaccinate and how you implement that decision is yours and yours alone.
Published: August 12, 1998

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Letter from Faith Gibson to the NCPMG:

"I am so pleased to send you this membership check for $100. Professional unionization by community-based midwives is our very best opportunity to successfully impact the political process. Historically-speaking, we were dis-enfranchised by the Hundred Year Propaganda War against independent midwives. As a direct result of this prejudice against us which was so freely promoted by organized medicine, midwives have become socially invisible in the last half of the 20th century (complete with a media black-out). This makes us ineffective in countering the forces of organized medicine as we are unequally yoked in a struggle that we can't win alone.

We must develop an effective strategy to reverse the effects of this well-organized, well-funded war on community-based midwifery and rehabilitate the political and regulatory forces that otherwise would criminalize us. After 5 years of legal and academic research on the history of midwifery politics, I am totally convinced that unionization is one of the best and most effective strategies available to us. The AFL-CIO as an organization is a master at doing exactly what we need done. Unionizing joins midwives with the same political forces that would otherwise be used against us.

As a Mennonite midwife practicing legally in my state I was none-the-less arrested by agents of our state medical board, hand-cuffed in front of my youngest daughter, locked in a solitary-confinement cell and threatened with being stripped-searched. Even though there was no trigger "incident" or bad outcome (strictly a political charge of practicing medicine without a license), the news of my arrest was sent out on the AP wire to radio, TV stations and newspapers. I was held on a $50,000 bond at the same time that Mike Tyson's bond for rape was set at only $30,000. I was criminally prosecuted for 21 months with 16 court appearances and legal expenses in excess of $25,000. As a direct result of the financial burden of prosecution i was forced to move out of my house and now live with relatives. Needless to say, it was a slow-motion nightmare that shouldn't happen to any else - ever! After months of legal research I was able to provide that my practice was lawful and the charges against me were dropped. However, the state did not reimburse me for the legal expenses, the personal grief or the humiliating publicity.

Since then i have devoted myself to decriminalizing the practice of independent midwives, promoting the midwifery model of care and protecting the rights of childbearing families to choose home-based maternity care. These efforts have been quite successful but by themselves they are not enough. It is my sincere believe that unionization is a MUST for community midwives. I am delighted and received that midwives have this opportunity. I am grateful to you and the other Illinois midwives for carrying this necessary work forward.

Please tell midwives how crucial this effort is. Tell them not to wait -- join today if possible, tomorrow at the very latest and spread the word. This is an idea who's time has come.

Warm Regards,

Faith Gibson, LM, CPM Licensed Community Midwife


Letter from Marsden Wagner, MD, MSPH (neonatologist and perinatal epidemiologist, former European Director of Maternal and Child Health for the World Health Organization) to the NCPMG

A viscious witchhunt is taking place in the US---midwives are being arrested, jailed, tried without due process. This is a well organized attack by the medical and hospital organizations to try to eliminate competition. Midwives need to organize to fight back in order to guarantee American women and families free choice about their birth experience. Fortunately an organization has been formed to fight back---the National Certified Professional Midwives Guild. This Guild functions as a Union for midwives, protecting their rights, providing legal protection and working to decrimialize midwifery. The Guild is willing to work closely with all other midwife organizations in carrying out these goals. The Guild needs all our support.

Marsden Wagner, MD, MSPH

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