Today the Campaign to Save the North Shore Birth Center delivered more than 2,800 petition signatures to Beverly Hospital President Tom Sands, calling on him to reverse the decision to permanently close the North Shore Birth Center. On May 11, Beverly Hospital and Beth Israel Lahey Health announced plans to close the midwifery practice, which has operated on the hospital's campus since 1980.
The petition amassed 2,865 signatures in just 10 days, and the signature count continues to grow. The petition delivery follows a community rally held Monday at Beverly Hospital, which saw more than 200 attendees and included current patients, health care providers, and federal, state and municipal elected officials.
The petition signatories include residents of all 38 surrounding North Shore communities that will be directly impacted by the birth center’s closure. Dozens of signatories also included their reasons for signing the petition:
- "I birthed two of my children at the Birth Center, and the midwives had my back in a way that I did not have on my first birth experience. Please keep the Birth Center open, fund it properly, give them the help they need with hiring, organization and housekeeping, and trust the midwives to do their jobs. The Birth Center is such a valuable and rare resource to have here in MA. I would not have chosen to go to Beverly for my birth had it not been for the Birth Center."
- "I’m devastated by the closure of the birth center. I was a patient and due at the end of September. Now I am scrambling to find alternative care and I no longer have the option for a midwife centered approach as facilities with a similar approach are way too far away for me to commute to. This facility is a gem and it’s heartbreaking for other women like me that will no longer have the option for this type of care."
- "Birth is one of the most crucial times in a mother’s life. Well supported births are not the norm in our country, and we need to keep places like this going so that the practice of midwifery can continue to be an option for those who choose that type of care for their birthing experience."
Since the hospital's announcement in May, thousands of supporters have urged the hospital to retain birth-center-based care led by midwives, a model that provides a relaxed, patient-centered environment for birth, as well as prenatal, postnatal and GYN care. This model of care improves patient outcomes, lowers healthcare spending and addresses maternal health inequities, according to the Massachusetts Health Policy Commission's January 2022 report, "Certified Nurse Midwives and Maternity Care in Massachusetts."
Leading up to the massive community support demonstrated by the petition signatures and rally supporters, campaign representatives met with Beverly Hospital President Tom Sands and his team upon the Campaign's request to work together in the community's best interest. The hospital administration was unwilling to reverse the closure decision at the meeting's conclusion, though they invited further resource-sharing.
The Campaign continues to garner support from elected officials, national partners and maternal health advocates, conveying that birthing people and the community at-large will not accept Beverly Hospital and Beth Israel Lahey Health's decision to eliminate an essential reproductive choice for women in Massachusetts.
The Campaign to Save the North Shore Birth Center is a coalition of patients, community members, professionals and advocates fighting to protect and expand equitable access to birth choice and reproductive care. Located on the campus of Beverly Hospital, NSBC has provided compassionate certified nurse-midwife care to families in the North Shore region and beyond for over 40 years. The Campaign is committed to ensuring this vital resource remains available, given its strong track record of providing safe, cost-effective care rooted in evidence-based practices. Learn more about The Campaign to Save the North Shore Birth Center.