Woman acting as “Free-Birth” Midwife Arrested For Killing Fullterm Baby

Woman acting as “Free-Birth” Midwife Arrested For Killing Fullterm Baby July 6, 2019

 

Angie Hock photo from Nebraska Birth Keeper Website

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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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Knitting Cat Lady

    Free birther and sovereign citizen scammer?

    Crank magnetism at its finest.

  • Zetopan

    People who buy into one form of irrationality just can’t stop at the first one.

  • DoctorDJ

    “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.”

    Then what the hell services is the mother paying these clowns for? Cheer leading?

  • Brian Davis

    I pity the poor judge and prosecutor who will be dealing with sovereign citizen nonsense.

  • Jaredmba

    On her site, she shares the Nebraska law which states that Certified Nurse Midwives are not allowed to attend home births. It seems like her defense is that she is not a CNM so the law doesn’t apply to her.

  • She even has a GoFundMe set up for her legal expenses. She is getting shredded in the comments.

  • Friend

    The most toxic combo I’ve ever heard of. Sadly predictable in our crazy mixed-up society.

  • Friend

    I found her GoFundMe from 2016 to cover her own medical expenses for symptoms such as “bloatedess.” Oh, and she was building a house.

  • Jim Jones

    Don’t women accept the risk when they choose non-professionals to ‘assist’ them?

    If I break out in a rash, I don’t go to a palm reader.

  • Jim Jones

    In theory, a carpenter could perform brain surgery. But the outcomes might be poor.

  • Wubbsy

    I thought this sounded Libertarian.

  • Friend

    I’m not willing to blame any woman who was taken in by a charlatan. My circle includes people who have traded all sorts of strange but well-meaning ideas about pregnancy.

  • Pretty much.

  • cedrics

    That is exactly what her stance is.

  • LimeGecko

    This is terribly sad. But why would you pay thousands of dollars to someone for something when they clearly state they will effectively provide no service? A real (actual licensed professional) midwife has medical training and would have detected the baby was breech before the mother went into labor, and would have intervened before it started. By sending her to a hospital if necessary. These free birthers are such magical thinkers, a bit like Christian scientists or those fundy cults who won’t go to doctors even for appendicitis. Appendixes rupture and babies fail to settle into the birth canal the right way. These are verifiable physical facts. If you believe in God or the Ur Mother or nothing at all, it doesn’t change the facts.

  • Friend

    Something missing from this sentence?

    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.

    That might sometimes happen, but typically patients die in spite of doctors doing everything they can.

  • The Bofa on the Sofa

    There’s a limit, though.

    Homebirth in the US is about 2.5% of all births. Free birth is only a fraction of that. At this point, we aren’t talking about something about something eccentric – this is something that is well outside the norm. So the question is, why do more than 95% of people all do it this way? Are they all deluded?

    Given the comments from the grandmother, it’s not clear how much the woman even talked to her folks (or the father’s folks). At some point, this isn’t just an issue of ignorance – it has to be a deliberately chosen direction.

    I can’t absolve the parents of all responsibility here.

  • The Bofa on the Sofa

    The attitude of these “homebirth” midwives toward babies dying is pretty horrendous.

    When babies die in hospital, there is generally an inquiry to address the cause of death, with actions taken to try to prevent it from happening in the future. Moreover, if the doctors did act inappropriately and can be blamed for the death, they get sued. And when it comes to dead babies, the OBs lose (that’s why malpractice premiums are so high). When babies die with homebirth midwives, the response is to find wives to prevent responsibility, and if you blame the midwife, they act like they are the real victim. Oh, they don’;t actually have any liability insurance, so lawsuit is not worth it (oh, and since malpractice requires showing that you aren’t following the accepted standards of care – but if you aren’t a medical provider, what standards are there?)

    “Babies die in hospitals, too”: is a callous response. And, I have to add, it’s not a lot of consolation to the one who needlessly lost their baby.

  • Friend

    I was reserving some judgment and also reacting to sarcasm in the face of horror. Angee Hock described herself as a doula on her GoFundMe from 2016. She apparently knew this family for two years. It is possible that she was a highly convincing fraud with a stack of references. I’m not seeing the kind of willful ignorance that is found in stories about parents trying to treat cancer with apricot pits; maybe it is there. The grandmother has commented, but the mother and father have not.

  • Friend

    Horrendous is a good word for the sick form of patient empowerment described here. She writes this:

    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.

    And then blames the mother:

    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.

  • The Bofa on the Sofa

    Still, they knew they were bucking the system, going against the overwhelming behavior of society.

    Maybe they fell for her scam, but they made a choice.

    OTOH, I AM seeing the kind of willful ignorance of the others. The ignorance that says that a “natural undisturbed home birth” is better than the life-saving c-section she had the first time around. Here it’s just appeal to nature instead of relying on God to heal. But it’s all based on the same idea.

  • Friend

    Yeah, to be clear, I think the free birth movement is incredibly dangerous.

  • ArtK

    Sovereign Citizen stuff makes your nuttiest Libertarian seem sane.

  • ArtK

    I can’t wait until Hock sees that there is gold fringe on the flag in the courtroom. I’m surprised that she doesn’t embellish her name, as in: Angela::HOCK.

  • ArtK

    If you haven’t run into the Sovereign Citizens before, here’s a Canadian judge with a very well-written summary of the idiotic arguments. https://www.canlii.org/en/ab/abqb/doc/2012/2012abqb571/2012abqb571.html

  • Friend

    And libertarians won’t just move into your house and claim it’s theirs.

  • Phil Miller

    This women lives in a $326,800 house! Six bedrooms, five bathrooms on 1.3 acres. And she has the gall to put up a GoFundMe page? What about the family who lost a child?

  • John Smith

    What a disgusting POS, blaming the mother when she assured the parents she knew what she was doing. May she burn in hell.

  • Phil Miller

    That’s a $326,800 house with six bedrooms and five bathrooms! Angee, hubby and four kids took a week vacation to California, after starting up a GoFundMe page. Charalatan and fraud.

  • al kimeea
  • al kimeea

    yep, beaucoup $$$ for encouragement

  • otrame

    As someone I wish I could remember so I could cite them properly said, “Sure. Giving birth to a baby is the most natural thing in the world. So is dying in childbirth.”

  • Friend

    My guess: even in cave-dwelling times, people got help from the most experienced people available.