(from the highly annoying Joanna Moorhead, who I believe wrote that "Epidurals are for wimps" article I mentioned some months back). I'm pretty pro-NCB and I think that midwife-attended homebirth for low risk women is safe, but poorly written nonsense like this drives me up a wall.
1) Homebirth is not "banned in 10 US states". It is not possible to ban a woman from giving birth at home. What is banned is having a midwife attend you at home. It's a small but important difference. A woman faces no legal risk from birthing at home regardless of her state's laws (unless the baby dies and you get a zealous prosecutor). The attendant is the only one taking a risk.
2) "Only 8% of women are able to use midwives, who specialise in natural birth, and instead have to see obstetricians, whose metier is highly interventionist hospital delivery." Well, way to set yourself up there. One, you're applying the UK model to the US. While I don't feel that having an OB handle all patients is the best model, this feeds into the stupid, pointless "bad OB, good midwife" idea that's rampant amongst NCBers. While OBs are trained in a more interventionist model, there's a lot more involved than training. A lot depends on the individual practitioner and the constraints under which they are forced to practice. A great OB or midwife is useless if they're put into a hospital with 1970s practices and a VBAC ban.
3) ""Sure, there will be babies who die at home who wouldn't have died in hospital," says Horn, "but the other side of that is there are babies who die in hospital who wouldn't have died at home - the ones who get MRSA among them."
*headdesk* This is the kind of magical, false, bad science home birth thinking that gives NCB/HB advocates a bad name. The risks of being in a hospital do not outweigh those of being at home. Even the most pro-HB studies only show an equal perinatal mortality rate, not an decreased one--and that's for carefully selected, low risk women, which is why official NHS guidelines are so strict on who can home birth (although because of the duty of care, all you have to do is refuse to go to hospital--they HAVE to send a midwife then). And the MRSA is stupid, bad science thinking. The biggest infection risk to a newborn is... its mother.
Of course, the article is irrelevant. Homebirth rates in the UK will not rise for one very important reason: a homebirth requires at least 2 midwives (one to attend the birth, then a 2nd comes to take care of the baby at the end, and if birth is prolonged the first midwife may have to be relieved). In London hospitals, midwives are looking after 2-3 women at a time. The government will not fund the midwives necessary to make homebirth possible. So it doesn't matter what women want: the NHS will do everything possible to discourage further taxing of limited resources.