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URGENT: Oregon Midwife Needs Help

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Oregon Midwife Faces Charges

Carol Severson is an Oregon midwife facing a terrible and unjust challenge!  (see update at end of page)

Here is Carols story, in her own words:I will be in court on June 24, 2004 at 1:30 pm to plead "NOT GUILTY" to a charge brought against me by the District Attorney of Marion County of "Criminal Mistreatment in the 2nd degree".

For those of you have not heard what is happening, on January 31,2001, I delivered a baby with a moderate dystocia and cord around the neck 2 times. Apgars were 3, 7, 9. Baby responded well with our initial efforts of bag and mask.. It was apparent after some time that this baby needed more help, so we transported to the nearby hospital. Baby responded well.

SOMEONE called Salem police, an investigation was made and mistake # 1 (even if you are innocent, NEVER talk to police without an attorney present!). Then on April 16, I was contacted by a investigator who wanted to ask me questions, (Bigger mistake NEVER, NEVER, talk to an investigator without an attorney present!!) but, having nothing to hide, I talked to him. By the way BABY is FINE and parents know nothing of what is going on, to my knowledge. (Mom of baby called the following day to ask me question about birth certificate and tell me the baby had been to the Ped for check up and was doing really good, in the 90th percentile).

The investigation went poorly, he made me feel like a fool, scoffed at me. That was one of the worst days of my life. No "rights" were read to me because he wasn't arresting me, that day. The following week I was given the choice of coming and picking up my citation and being booked(finger prints and all) or them coming out hand cuffing me and taking me to the jail where they would do it.

This can happen to anyone of us, even if the baby if fine. Without a trial this has already cost me close to $4000, and if it goes to trial, ???? $10,000+

I represent all midwives in Oregon and I am going to do my best. I followed my guidelines as a licensed midwife!

The piece of paper given me in the Circuit Court says that I "having assumed the care, custody and responsibility for the supervision of........., did unlawfully and with criminal negligence withhold necessary and adequate medical attention".

If I had called 911 maybe I wouldn't be dealing with this issue.

Yes it has been hard for me, I have never been involved with the law, don't know the process. I dismissed my first attorney because he told me he "loved to go to trial" and after the fourth meeting I decided it would be in my best interest to find an attorney that would try to keep this from going to trial, since that baby is fine. First attorney also said I needed to take out a loan for $15,000 and at that it was still going to cost me more.

I know there is a reason for all of this, if nothing more than a "wake up call" to ALL midwives. If this goes to trial I will let everyone know. Those of you who have the time and want to attend Thursday court are welcome. It will be short, I just plead "not guilty" and a trial date will be set. My new attorney is going to meet with the mother of the baby and see if she will sign an affidavit to get this dropped. Then it will be left up to the court for them to decide if they still want to go to trial. If she signs, this would be an important time for all of you who can come to support midwifery and be there the day it goes to the court to be determined trial or be dropped.


 (note from gail) Every midwife, every student, every apprentice, every homebirth family should rally around Carol. Any of us can find ourselves in a similar situation. Following the rules, obeying all the guidelines, is not a guaranteed protection against an unjust legal attack.

This is an attack against ALL midwives, against Homebirth, and against Midwifery! Support Carol as she fights this charge! Help protect Midwifery!



Carol appeared in court on June 24th and entered a plea of "not guilty". She was given a new court date of July 28th, at Marion County Courthouse in Salem. She would love to have the support of our presence!

Date: July 28, 2004

Time: 8:30 AM

Place: Marion County Courthouse,

100 High Street NE,

Salem, Oregon


(Think how we would feel if WE were the midwife facing this! Wouldnt we hope for help from our sister midwives?)

THE FASTEST AND MOST EFFECIENT WAY TO FUNDRAISE IS TO OPEN OUR OWN CHECKBOOKS! Even if only fifty of us contribute $50 each, Carol will be able to pay $2500 of her attorney fees! Some of us may be able to contribute more and others less, but lets each send every dollar we can! Helping with attorney fees is the best way we can show our support.

Mail contributions to help with attorney fees:

Carol Severson

2532 Santiam Hwy SE

PMB 314

Albany, OR 97322

Or paypal to:

(The logo/button will take you directly to Carol's paypal account)

Please check this website regularly for updates on Carol's case. Try to come with her to court appearances.

Let's stand together -- and promise one another that no midwife will ever have to stand alone!




Do you know of other midwives facing legal challenges? Post them at this website!

to post to this website, email