The gentlebirth.org website is provided courtesy of
Ronnie Falcao, LM MS, a homebirth midwife in Mountain View, CA
The president of the Indiana Midwives Association asked me to post this information. The following letter and flyer are being sent to the supporters of Jane Dawkins of Fort Wayne, Indiana. I have attached a formatted document in Microsoft Word for Windows 6.0 for anyone who would like to circulate the letter or flyer. Thanks!
S.A.F.E. 3203 Easterday Rd. Ft. Wayne, IN 46818Dear Friends of Home Birth,
JANE'S TRIAL IS STILL ON. It is scheduled for Tuesday, January 28, at 8:30 a.m. in the DeKalb County Courthouse. If she is convicted of these felony charges, she faces 3 to 5 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines. Though we had hoped that the pretrial hearing on December 16 would end this harassment, it did not. On the other hand those of you who phoned or wrote the prosecutor's office did indeed make a difference. A few days prior to the pretrial hearing, for the first time, the prosecutor offered a plea bargain. It was unacceptable, however: Jane is unwilling to plead guilty and promise never to repeat her "crimes" in return for probation. All of us who know her situation agree that the plea bargain is unacceptable for a number of reasons.
There is still time for all charges to be dropped, and there are steps that we can and must take:
1) FIRST, WE BEG YOU TO TELEPHONE THE DEKALB COUNTY PROSECUTOR'S OFFICE (219-925-1646). Ask to speak to or leave a message for the prosecutor, Brian Nugen. Courteously ask that these ridiculous charges be dropped. Jane refers to herself as a childbirth educator; so should you. Please read the attached sheet before you telephone.
2) FOLLOW UP YOUR PHONE CALL WITH A COURTEOUS LETTER TO THE PROSECUTOR'S OFFICE (ATTORNEY BRIAN NUGEN, ASSISTANT PROSECUTOR, DEKALB COUNTY COURTHOUSE, AUBURN, IN 46706). Again, make your case that these charges be dropped, but keep it short. Request a prompt response to your letter.
3) PLEASE, ASK YOUR CONCERNED FRIENDS, RELATIVES AND SUPPORTERS TO ALSO DO THE ABOVE. Help them out. Follow up to be sure they've lived up to their good intentions.
4) XEROX AND POST THE ENCLOSED SHEETS IN THE APPROPRIATE PUBLIC PLACES -- HEALTH FOOD SHOPS, FOOD CO-OPS, ETC.
5) PLEASE, PLAN TO ATTEND THE TRIAL ON TUESDAY, JANUARY 28, AT 8:30 IN THE MORNING AT THE DEKALB COUNTY COURTHOUSE. ( Exit I-69 at Exit 129--State Road 8. Head east toward Auburn: as you get to downtown, the courthouse is to your right. Easy parking on nearby streets). Leave your calendar open for Wednesday, January 29, and Thursday, January 30. Your show of support for Jane by your attendance is of the utmost importance to everyone in the courtroom. NUMBERS do count--to Jane, to the prosecution, and to the defense. Disappointingly few supporters attended December 16. When you come expect delay. Bring only children who can quietly sit through: if you have a nursing baby, be prepared to step out immediately if he or she becomes restless. Because of the strategy of the defense, we must reluctantly ask that you do not bring signs of any kind. Call the prosecutor's office on Monday to make certain that the trial actually is on, and to courteously voice your final sentiments. (219 925-1646).
6) PRAY LIKE IT ALL DEPENDS ON GOD: WORK LIKE IT ALL DEPENDS ON YOU. Jane's freedom is in jeopardy right now; your freedom to choose who enters your home if you are in labor is also in jeopardy.
The attached sheet summarizes the events leading up to this trial as well as some of the points you may wish to make.
POINTS TO CONSIDER BEFORE YOU CALL OR WRITE:
1) Urge the prosecutor's office to drop these charges. If you see a pattern of harassment, say so.
2) Point out that Jane was an invited guest at a private home. Does the government have a right to prevent you from inviting who you want to your home?
3) Mention the ridiculous charges specifically, NOT HOME BIRTH GENERALLY. Are we guilty of practicing midwifery without a license if we encourage a pregnant woman to take her vitamins? If so, perhaps we should all turn ourselves in for prosecution. A vaginal entry without consent is sexual assault. With consent, it doesn't require a license.
4) No money was offered to Jane or accepted by her. The baby was born in a hospital; Jane was not present. Does this case have a leg to stand on?
5) The family whose child died in the hospital has already suffered enough. Why bring them to the stand? They hold no animosity toward Jane, and are not involved in bringing these charges. Haven't they been through enough? They can only be grieved again over this process.
6) Childbirth educators such as Jane decreased health care costs and are even reimbursed by insurance agencies in other states.
7) This a parental rights issue. WHO CHOOSES WHERE AND WITH WHOM OUR CHILDREN ARE BORN? WE THE PARENTS, OR THE STATE?
WHO CHOOSES WHERE AND WITH WHOM OUR CHILDREN ARE BORN?
WE THE PARENTS, OR THE STATE?
Summary of Events
Dekalb County, Indiana vs. Jane Dawkins of Fort Wayne, Indiana
December, 1993: Parents like you invited Jane to be present at their child's birth. A transport to DeKalb County Memorial Hospital was made, and after several hours of labor at the hospital the attending physician called for a surgeon. The child died during the section. No one--parents, physician, prosecutor-- have accused Jane of the least wrongdoing.
May, 1995: Jane was charged with practicing midwifery without a license by the prosecutor's office. Specifically, the charges state that she (1) gave nutritional advice to a pregnant woman, and (2) performed an internal exam on a laboring woman. If she is convicted of these FELONY charges, she faces 3 to 5 years in prison and up to $10,000 dollars in fines.
May-July, 1995: In only six weeks, families like yourselves contributed $10,000 dollars to Jane's defense. Jane selected Pat Arata of Fort Wayne as her defense attorney. Thanks to this generosity, we have no financial need at this time.
October, 1995: Jane, Pat Arata and supporters arrived at the scheduled pretrial hearing. The original prosecutor had handed off the case to his most recent new hire. The prosecution asked for and got a delay.
January, 1996: Jane, Pat Arata and supporters arrived at the scheduled pretrial hearing. The prosecution asked for and got a delay of an entire year.
December, 1996: Supporters telephoned and wrote to protest these charges. The prosecution offered a plea bargain which was unacceptable. Jane, Pat Arata and supporters arrived at the scheduled pretrial hearing December 16. The hearing was held. The trial date was confirmed. Prisoners in leg irons waited in the same room as Jane.
JANUARY, 1997: THE TRIAL IS SCHEDULED FOR TUESDAY, JANUARY 28, AT 8:30
a.m. IN THE DEKALB COUNTY COURTHOUSE. YOUR CALLS, LETTERS AND PRESENCE
ARE OF UTMOST IMPORTANCE TO THE OUTCOME. (Attorney Brian Nugen, Assistant
Prosecutor, DeKalb County Courthouse, Auburn, IN 46706. Phone 219 925-1646)
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