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THANK YOU FOR THE sensitive article about lay midwives (“Midwife Crisis,” 3/3). As a childbirth teacher in Maryland, I am familiar with Judie Pradier’s work. On two occasions she has rescued my clients from unnecessary Caesareans, after these laboring women had walked out of hospitals in disgust. Peaceful home births followed, proving that the threatened surgeries were for the doctors’ benefit, not the patients’.

I have taught a number of Judie’s clients and found them to be intelligent and well-informed. They know the risks of home birth and the risks (yes, there are quite a few) of hospital birth. They choose the risks they wish to take, both for the mother and the baby. That is their right and their responsibility. I, too, chose to have my son at home, but nine years ago there were certified nurse-midwives in Maryland doing home birth. Now, for many women to exercise their right to birth where they wish, the choice is limited.

Judie and other lay midwives are providing a valuable service that our technological and lawsuit-laden medical profession cannot.

Silver Spring, Md.