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Ricki Lake Delivers Response to Birth Controversy

Ricki Lake AP Photo / LMartinez

The American Medical Association has really rattled Ricki Lake.

The actress and producer of the recent documentary The Business of Being Born is firing back at the national group in light of its pointed criticism of the idea of employing midwives and having babies at home rather than in a hospital—an option that worked for Lake when she welcomed her second son in 2001.

"It feels like a personal attack," Lake told the New York Daily News Tuesday. "I can't imagine they are scared everyone will have a home birth because I did. The message of the film is about having all the choices in birth, it's about getting information and being empowered."

The AMA has adopted a resolution passed by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists stating that "the safest setting for labor, deilvery, and the immediate post-partum period is in the hospital, or a birthing center within a hospital complex, that meets standards jointly outlined by the American Academy of Pediatrics and ACOG."

Etc.

"The documentary is a point of view," Lake said of her film, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and opened in very limited release (three theaters, per Box Office Mojo) in January. "The movie speaks for itself. Home birth is not for everyone."

Overall, the film, which was directed by Abby Epstein, provides a pretty scathing look at hospitals' increasingly business-like approach to healthcare.

In an additional statement, AMA board member Dr. Steven Stack said: "The AMA supports a woman's right to make an informed decision regarding her delivery and to choose her health care provider, and stresses that the safest setting for delivering a baby is in the hospital or a birthing center within a hospital complex.

"Serious complications can arise with little or no warning even among women with low-risk pregnancies. The health and safety of the mother and baby are our top priority."

Lake gave birth to Owen Tyler Sussman, her second child with ex-husband Rob Sussman, June 18, 2001, in the bathtub of their New York home. A midwife supervised the delivery.

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