PeaceHealth Oregon abruptly announced last week that their Nurse Midwifery Birth Center in Springfield will close at the end of August. Soon after, a consumer advocacy group for the Birth Center started a petition to save it.
The petition has over 4,700 signatures and counting. Lane County Friends of the Birth Center have also started an informational campaign on social media. The group refutes PeaceHealth’s stated reasons for shutting the Center. Namely, a decline in the number of births in the facility. They argue the collaborating physicians group Women’s Care has increased restrictions, like time over a due date and age of a mom. That has led to fewer women being qualified to give birth outside of the hospital.
Lynn Kane is Co-Chair of Friends of the Birth Center.
“As someone who had two babies in my 30’s with uncomplicated pregnancies and births, I find it discriminatory and completely dis-empowering to healthy women, to say that just because a percentage of women are potentially necessitating greater care, that the best and safest option for every women is to eliminate out-of-hospital birth all together.”
Kane says a PeaceHealth administrator cancelled a Wednesday meeting the Friends of the Birth Center group.
“We feel like one of our main roles is to insist on meeting with these executives at PeaceHealth,” says Kane. “This is PeaceHealth’s responsibility. This is their Birth Center that they built, that they asked community members to provide over $750,000 to invest in that model. So it’s their responsibility to figure something out.”
The Birth Center comes out of a practice that has existed in Eugene/Springfield since the late 1970’s. It has been in its current location, near RiverBend, for 9 years.
Kane says this is the third time the hospital has attempted to close the Birth Center.