The International Cesarean Awareness Network, Inc. (ICAN), a non-profit organization, was founded by Esther Booth Zorn in June of l982. ICAN has a threefold purpose:
- To lower the rising cesarean rate through education
- To provide a forum where women and men can express their thoughts and concerns about birth
- To provide a support network for women who are healing from past birth experiences and those who are preparing for future births
Statement of Beliefs
We, of the International Cesarean Awareness Network, believe that:
1. The cesarean rate remains at an alarmingly higher rate than the 15% average recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO). WHO estimates that half (50%) of all cesarean sections performed in the United States are unnecessary.
2. When a cesarean is necessary, it can be a lifesaving technique for both mother and baby, and worth the risks involved. With half the cesareans being performed deemed unnecessary by WHO, the risks these mothers and babies are exposed to are avoidable and costly.
3. In most cases VBAC is safe for both mother and infant. A repeat cesarean should never be considered routine–it is major abdominal surgery with many risks.
4. Birth is a normal physiological process. Given sincere emotional support, real education, and an honest opportunity, 90 to 95% of women can deliver vaginally, joyfully, and as nature intended.
5. Women have the right to accurate information regarding nutrition and risks of drugs during pregnancy and labor. Poor nutrition, smoking, alcohol, and medications taken during pregnancy and labor often affect the infant’s well-being and contribute to unnecessary cesareans.
6. Women have the right to the information necessary for using medical technology and procedures judiciously. The misuse of technology has fostered the high cesarean rate. Women have the right to know what tests are being performed, the side effects of such tests, and the right to decline any procedures. Informed consent is not a privilege; it is a right of all birthing women.
7. Women must be allowed to express all their birth-related feelings in a safe and supportive environment. The emotions of a pregnant and birthing woman have profound effects on the birth outcome.
8. Patient-choice cesareans are unethical and immoral on the part of the physician. Women are not being fully informed of the risks of this option in childbirth, and therefore make decisions based on cultural myth and fear surrounding childbirth.
9. We, as women, must now assume more responsibility for our own bodies and births. At stake are our babies, our bodies, and our futures.