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December 20, 2006

How can we claim to support a culture of life if we don't value the women who give that life?

To answer this and related questions National Advocates for Pregnant Women and more than 60 organizational and individual co-sponsors are holding the National Summit to Ensure the Health and Humanity of Pregnant and Birthing Women, January 18- Sunday, January 21, 2007 at the Hilton Airport Atlanta, Atlanta, GA.

There are over twenty plenaries and workshops at the Summit addressing the question of how we do or do not value pregnant women and mothers. Among the workshops are:

How Can We Ensure the Health and Humanity of Pregnant and Birthing Women When Pregnant Women, Mothers, and Breastfeeding Women Find So Little Support From Their Workplaces and Communities?

Barriers to Care and Control: From Bans on Vaginal Births After C-sections (VBAC Bans) to Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP Laws,) Do Women Have a Say in Pregnancy and Childbirth?

Medical Interventions That Can Help and Hurt: How Do We Ensure Women's Informed Consent, and Women's Ability to Protect Their Reproductive Health and Lives?

New co-sponsors of this extraordinary event include the American College of Nurse-Midwives, the Committee on Women Population and the Environment, Generation Five, the Idaho Women's Network, the Midwives Alliance of North America, Planned Parenthood of Georgia, Backline, the Third Wave Foundation, and the Council on Anthropology & Reproduction

The Summit is already receiving media coverage and praise. On December 14, Paris Hatcher of Georgians for Choice, Susan Hodges of Citizens for Midwifery and Lynn Paltrow(me) of NAPW appeared on WRFG, (89.3FM) Radio Free Georgia. We gathered by phone to appear on the Womanspeak program hosted by the incomparable C. Wiatta Freeman. We had a whole hour to talk about the Summit and its goals including bringing together two disparate groups that in fact have many shared values and concerns: those who identify themselves primarily as pro-choice, and those who advocate for maternity/birth with dignity (midwives, doulas, alternative birth practitioners, and other health care providers).

Commenting on the Summit and the Preliminary Program, we received high praise from writer, researcher and author Robbie Davis Floyd:

The program is indeed truly amazing. . .

I want to compliment . . . everyone at NAPW on your wide reach. Most conferences where I speak are limited in audience members to midwives, childbirth educators, doulas, nurses, docs, anthropologists, advocates. You have managed to reach all these groups--I hear about this conference from all of them--news comes to me from all these groups about how important the conference is, a must-attend! There would be no way for me not to know about it even if you had never contacted me personally. This is a first for me--to get input from all the groups I belong to about one conference, and to see on the speaker roster many of the very best birth people along with the very best activists, advocates, anthropologists, practitioners. I am totally impressed and very excited!

I hope this will be the start of ongoing dialogue, action, and future such events--I feel that we are creating a community here much wider than the ones we normally participate in.

We hope you will join us at the Summit. If you have not registered yet you can write to Summit@advocatesforpregnantwomen.org to find out how you can still participate in this groundbreaking event.

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