An Aiken midwife is facing, and denying, 17 felony charges in Indiana for actions taken during the births of children in 2009 and 2010.
According to the indictments handed down March 28, Carol Velasquez illegally administered prescription drugs including pitocin and cyotec, used to induce or accelerate labor, in births, one of which resulted in the death of a newborn.
The cause of the newborn’s death has not been revealed, nor has it been linked directly to the actions of the midwife.
Velasquez, a resident of Aiken, though formerly of Indiana, is a licensed midwife in South Carolina, and, as such, the medical professional has certain rights in the care of pregnant women – the birth and post-natal care of both child and mother. The same level of rights are not extended in the state of Indiana, where the indictments were true billed by a grand jury.
She faces 13 counts of unlawful practice of medicine and four counts of obtaining or procuring prescription drugs.
“The problem isn’t with home birth and the problem isn’t with midwifery,” said Marion County, Ind., Deputy Prosecutor Kristina Korobov. “The problem is with the use of drugs. I would encourage her supporters to pick up a copy of the charging information and to read through the charges and ask themselves if this, I guess, jives with what their idea of what a home birth process and how it is supposed to work.”
Velasquez’s supporters do not believe the charges to be true, but further see these extant charges being prosecuted years later as part of a political movement against midwifery.
“I think they are completely false and not true. I’ve worked with Carol. I know her to be an upstanding citizen,” said Angie Herzberger, a friend of Velasquez’s speaking to an Indiana TV station. “I have never seen her use any illegal drugs. She uses only natural methods.”
In several states, including South Carolina, there are bills being proposed to tighten restrictions on midwives who are not also registered nurses.
The bill has sparked a lot of concern and attention around South Carolina with near 5,000 signing an online petition against it. Its opponents feel this would stop women in South Carolina from choosing home births and how their children are delivered. This was enhanced by the fact that two of those who sponsor the bill are themselves practicing obstetricians and possible advisories of increasingly popular births away from hospitals.
Now out on $15,000 bail, Velasquez will next face a pretrial hearing on May 26.
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