Friends of the Birth Center, a grassroots association of health professionals and activists, launched a campaign last month to advocate for an often-overlooked alternative to hospital birth: midwifery care. The coalition was created by former employees and clients of the Elizabeth Seton Childbearing Center, which closed last year when its insurance lapsed. The group hopes to build a new freestanding birth center, extending midwifery services to teens, immigrants, and low-income women, who are especially vulnerable to pregnancy complications. As Friends of the Birth Center President Maria Freytsis explained, “All women could benefit from respectful and empowering and holistic care.” [11/8/04]