The following is an open letter to the birth community from a family in Ohio who is being prosecuted for having a healthy child born at home. This is a case which I have been following and will continue to follow. It is of serious import and for that reason I am publishing the letter as is, with no further commentary nor addendum.
One note: it is the family's wish that help be sent to them, but NOT TO HAVE ANY MASS ORGANIZING. This is to preserve the hope that the prosecutor may drop charges against the family if the office is NOT deluged with angry, outraged letters.
Let us all do something to help this family to keep body and soul together....
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As many of you may know, we had our pre-trial hearing this morning. We were hoping once the lawyers got a chance to hash things out, the charges would be dismissed. That was not the case. The prosecutor offered us a plea-bargain for the charge of disorderly conduct, a fourth-degree misdemeanor. As much as my husband and I would love to close this horrible chapter of our lives and put it behind us, we didn't take the plea. First of all, we are not guilty of anything, and don't want a guilty plea following us around for the rest of our lives. Second of all, we felt that a guilty plea would validate the charges against us. Also, I thought that a guilty plea would give the impression that homebirth is wrong, and possibly open the door for other families to be prosecuted.
Right now, we don't have a trial date, and there is still a possibility that the charges could be dropped before going to trial. I want to consult further with my lawyer before involving the media, or unleashing a firestorm of letters and calls to the prosecutor. I just wanted to update everybody with what's going on and let everybody know what they can do to help.
This is always the hard part for me, as I'm not comfortable asking for things, but so many people keep asking how they can help, and we do need help, so I'm learning a lesson in humility. Obviously this is affecting us financially since we are a single income family, and my husband's hours at work have been reduced indefinitely. So far this whole fiasco has cost us $6427 in legal and medical bills. To pay our attorney, we took a $4000 cash advance on a credit card (at 20% interest). We have already raised quite a bit through fundraisers and individual donations, and we are grateful to everybody who has helped us so far. Paypal donations can be made to firstname.lastname@example.org . You can also e-mail any questions to that address.
I know some people may be hesitant about sending cash, and I completely understand. Anything that saves us money on things we regularly have to buy would help too. Gift cards for groceries, gas, restaurants, clothes, etc are definitely welcomed. Also we definitely won't turn down local people who feel like dropping by with a pizza, bucket of chicken or a bag of your kids' old clothes!
There are also plenty of ways to help that are FREE!
-Send us your prayers and positive thoughts!
-Help out with a fundraiser.
- Be supportive of other families who make choices that may seem out of the ordinary to you.
I started a Facebook group page as a means to keep everybody updated. http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=140938029710
Please feel free to repost this message on Facebook, e-mail or any forums where it will enlist more supporters for our cause. Please do not alter the message in any way, except to remove anything that may be a violation of the TOS of the site you post it (namely fundraising info).
It's time for us to stand up for our rights as women, parents and law abiding citizens who don't want the government trampling on our rights to live and raise our families as we choose! If they succeed with prosecuting us, it won't stop there.