Protect Laboring Women in Oregon

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Support people are critical to people giving birth, whether it's during a global pandemic or not. On March 26, all New York Presbyterian and Mount Sinai affiliated hospitals, and Staten Island University Hospital in the New York City area acted against WHO, CDC, and DOH guidance and banned all support people--including spouses--from Labor & Delivery and Postpartum units. On March 28, Governor Cuomo agreed to sign an executive order to let partners in all labor and delivery rooms. The success of New York City's groundbreaking petition led to this change.

In Oregon, we must follow suit and protect the rights of all pregnant people. 

Fundamentally, risks for the people laboring alone will increase substantially. Not only can partners and spouses provide physical and emotional comfort during labor and postpartum, they are also essential in alerting staff when something has gone wrong and the laboring patient cannot notify nurses themselves, like in the event of an eclamptic seizure or a fainting episode.  Timing is critical in these cases and monitors can be unreliable.

We cannot expect nursing staff, already spread thin, to spend the limitless hours needed with each patient to ensure their health and their baby's health, to provide physical assistance and emotional support. 

We know the hospital system is overwhelmed in this crisis.  However, the burden will only be increased by banning support people from Labor & Delivery. We must ensure no one gives birth alone.

Please act now to safeguard laboring people's rights to a support person during COVID-19.