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Midwives and Passports

As of this week, you cannot cross the Mexico-US or Canada-US border without a passport. There are many people who routinely cross the border who do not have passports. As of this week, those people have to choose a country, and stay there. Too bad if their family is on the other side from their job.

One result of this is that a great number of American-born Mexicans have had to go back to Mexico. They would have been able to go back and forth if they had an American passport, but they don't. And they can't get one, because they were born at home to Mexican mothers with the help of midwives. Somehow the blame falls on the midwives. Here is how.

According to Mauricio Belloc in El Manana some "unscrupulous midwives" have caused the trouble. US immigration used to accept birth certificates prepared by midwives, until it became apparent that some midwives were taking advantage of this leniency. One Laredo midwife apparently submitted "dozens" of birth certificates with the same date on them--more than she could have helped birth in a day Now, you have to be born in a hospital to get a real birth certificate...at least if you're brown-skinned and living in a border town.

I'm not sure how it works elsewhere. If you plan to bear your child at home with the assistance of a midwife, make sure that your child will get a legal birth certificate. Perhaps a doctor will have to sign it. I don't know all the rules. But don't let your child be stuck without a passport.

Part of freedom is the freedom to leave this jurisdiction and go to another. Another part of freedom is the freedom to give birth at home. These two freedoms should not conflict.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 12th, 2009 04:49 pm (UTC)
I used to live by the Canadian border and it was so easy just to scoot across the border and make a day of it and come back home. Those good times are gone!
Jun. 12th, 2009 05:06 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I have mixed feelings about it. I do think that it makes sense to have tighter control of the borders, but I don't like the way that it has been done in the past...
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )



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