UPDATED: Sunday July 7, 2019
A Free Birth advocate is facing felony child abuse charges after she attempted to deliver a breech baby without any medical training. The baby died two days later from the injuries sustained from the botched delivery.
According to KETV, Angela Hock attended a homebirth of a client on June 15. First responders responded to a call at the clients home on June 15th at 9:15 pm. When they arrived, they found a 25-year-old woman at full-term-pregnancy in distress.
After the first responders and police arrived, they found Hock assisting with the woman’s delivery. Paramedics noted Hock partially delivered the baby in the breech position. Hock asked for medical scissors and performed a medical procedure on the mother.
When Hock failed to deliver the baby, first responders rushed the mother to the hospital. Paramedics delivered the baby in route to the hospital. At the time of birth, the baby was not responsive and limp.
When the baby arrived at the hospital, doctors placed the baby on life supported in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Scans performed on the baby found that the infant suffered severe brain swelling. Additionally, doctors said lack of oxygen during the birth caused the injuries. Doctors told the family that the child would likely die from the injuries.
Police interviewed the mother of the infant to find out more about birth. According to the mother, she went into labor on June 14th at 9 pm. The mother stated that Angela Hock arrived on June 15 at 6 pm to assist with the childbirth.
After Hock arrived, the baby’s foot delivered first. Realizing the baby was in a breech position, Hock asked the mother if she wanted to continue the birth at home. During the conversation, Hock assured the woman that she had training in delivering breech babies.
Based on Hock’s statements, the woman decided to continue the birth at home. After thirty minutes, Hock only delivered the baby up to its shoulders. The baby became lodged in the birth canal. When Hock could not free deliver the baby, the family called 911.
During an interview with police at the birth scene, Hock told them that she was serving as the woman’s midwife. She admitted to police that she knew the baby had been in a breech position for a few hours before calling for help.
In an interview with police, the mother of the baby told them that she paid Hock $3,000 – $4,000.00 to act as her midwife. The mother said that she and her husband signed a contract with Hock for her services.
Two days after the baby’s botched delivery, she died from her injuries. The family named the baby girl Vera. During an investigation into Hock’s background, police learned that she did not have a license to practice midwifery. A search through a state database indicated that Hock held no medical licenses or training in birth. Police learned that Hock owned a company called Nebraska Birth Keepers.
Birth Keepers are part of the radical free birth movement. They believe that women do not need medical intervention to deliver babies. Birth Keepers do not have medical training nor hold any licenses to practice midwifery. Instead, they are a radical group of women that attend births of clients and help women have a birth experience with as limited assistance as possible.
On her about Angee section, she writes,
“Though I possess knowledge in many birthing techniques, I am a natural undisturbed home birth advocate. I believe that we were created to birth without invention and that women possess the God-given wisdom and intuition to birth their babies free from regulation. I also believe in women making truly informed choices about their births.
Additionally, Nebraska Birth Keepers are part of the Private Membership Association. The group believes any government regulations or laws do not bind them. Hock encourages women to join the association for a fee. The group promises members “immunity from the law.”
According to Angela Hock’s business website, she possesses no medical training or experience in delivering babies. However, she charges women thousands of dollars to help them have unassisted childbirth. She also offers bereavement counseling for mother’s that deliver stillbirths.Hock’s website does not provide any prices for expectant mothers. Instead, the site encourages women to contact the company through their email or phone number.
Despite the promises on Hock’s website, she is not immune to the laws of the United States. In the U.S., it is illegal to practice medicine without a license. When an individual pose as a medical professional and a patient dies, police can charge them with death. Hock lived in fantasy land, believing she could bypass laws by joining a junk association.
According to Nebraska sentencing guidelines, Hock faces up to 20 years in prison. The family of the infant is angry by Hock’s lack of medical background. The grandmother told WOWT,
“I am absolutely outraged,” she said. “I have a beautiful granddaughter that we just buried at Omaha National Cemetery in a tiny little casket; and my heart is broken, and my daughter’s heart is broken, and my son-in-law’s heart is broken, and we’re all heartbroken. This is a beautiful baby.”
In court last week, a judge set Hock’s bail at $25,000.00. After she appeared in court, Hock’s attorney, Stu Dornan, blamed the mother for refusing to go to the hospital. Following the hearing, Hock posted bail. Her next court appearance is in August.
While the family waits for justice for Vera, Hock has set up a GoFundMe to raise legal funds for her case. On the GoFundMe, the update paints Angela Hock as a victim.
“The state of Nebraska is waging a war on the birthing women’s right to choose. Certified Nurse Midwives in Nebraska are only allowed to attend birth in hospitals or birth centers (at the time of this writing, there’s only one birth center in Nebraska).
There’s currently no law on the books in Nebraska explicitly prohibiting attendance of birth by midwives who are not CNMs. Yet there is a relentless move to harass such midwives, prosecute them and drive them out of existence.”
The update continues,
“Recently, Angee was charged with child abuse resulting in death, after a tragic case where a mother who chose Angee to assist her at birth lost a baby.”
“Death of babies happens in the hospitals – and when it does, nobody is criminally charged. There is a double standard: doctors and hospital staff are presumed to have done everything right. Homebirth midwives are presumed to have done something wrong. Midwives are simply not supposed to exist, and women are supposed to accept the powerlessness of not having a choice. This is what criminal charges against Angee are all about.”
What the GoFundMe fails to state is that deaths of babies in hospitals are often the result of doctors doing everything they can to save a baby and mother. In the case of Angela Hock, she had no training and no business being at the birth. Angela Hock’s supporters also omit that in the state of Nebraska home birth is not legal.
The campaign has raised over $5,000 in the past few days. There are absolutely no comments providing condolences to the family of the deceased baby. The real victim in the case is now dead and cannot speak.
*Katie Joy is a columnist and hosts Without A Crystal Ball on Patheos Non-Religious Channel. She writes articles on parenting, disability advocacy, debunking pseudoscience, atheism, and crimes against women and children.
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