Sunday, March 15, 2009

Upcoming Rally in Support of Health Coverage for Home Birth - Outside SEIU on Wednesday, March 18th

Afternoon Hearing Will Determine Coverage for Union Employee’s Wife

New York State Law Covers But SEIU Rejects

NEW YORK – Choices in Childbirth, a New York City nonprofit that helps women make informed maternity decisions, is holding a rally to support a 3:00 PM hearing for Julie Finefrock. Ms. Finefrock is six months pregnant and medically eligible for a home-birth, which she has chosen for herself and her baby, but for which she has been denied coverage by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). Ms. Finefrock’s husband is an SEIU employee and she is appealing her denial of coverage.

Under New York state law, Ms. Finefrock would have the benefit of medical insurance coverage, yet the SEIU, because it provides a self-insured health policy to its members, has found a loophole to exclude coverage for planned homebirth care via the Employee Retirement Income Support Act (ERISA). This federal law sets minimum standards for retirement and health benefit plans in private industry. Ms. Finefrock is asking the SEIU to give her parity with non-union NY State residents and allow her to choose the medical care that evidence has shown is both safer and more economical than hospital birth.

Choices in Childbirth has unfortunately found a growing number of self-insured corporations using this ERISA loophole. It is Choices in Childbirth’s belief that New York State residents deserve equal coverage regardless of their employment situation, and encourages the SEIU to support appropriate maternity care in line with that of New York State law.

WHAT: Rally in support of appeal to the SEIU to cover home births, as New York State law permits

WHERE: Outside SEIU 32BJ, 101 Avenue of the Americas

WHEN: Wednesday, March 18th at 11:30–1:30; hearing is at 3 pm

Choices in Childbirth

At Choices in Childbirth, our mission is to improve maternity care by providing the public, especially childbearing women and their families, with the information necessary to make fully informed decisions relating to how, where, and with whom they will give birth.

For further info, contact: Kelly Renn,, 212-867-9646