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MIDWIFERY CARE COULD CUT OUR INFANT-MORTALITY RATE

I feel compelled to respond to the recent front-page article "Precious lives." The article was missing a few important facts about the political and economic reality of the birth industry in this country, and particularly how these facts are played out in Western New York.

All 22 countries with lower infant-mortality rates than the United States use midwives as the primary-care providers for the reproductive needs of healthy women. Midwifery care has been repeatedly documented as an effective means of lowering infant-mortality rates, especially in communities where poverty is a contributing factor.

Yet the Western New York community of health insurers, hospital administrators and many physicians have been resistant to my practice of midwifery. It is my belief that we will successfully impact our infant-mortality rate when we return birth to its rightful place and no longer allow "birth" as an industry to shape this most precious time of life.

EILEEN STEWART Buffalo

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