First births done at home are riskier.

A study demonstrated that a woman’s first childbirth (but not births after the first) is much more riskier if done at home. Sociological Images asks the natural question: so what? Legal policies are not made on the basis of risk.

Home birth seems safer than letting children ride around unrestrained in the back of pickup trucks, which is legal in North Carolina – as long as they’re engaged in agricultural labor. On the other hand, we have helmet laws for kids on bicycles in many places. And if a child is injured in either situation, hopefully an ambulance would take them to the hospital even if the accident were preventable.

In other words, I don’t think policy questions can be resolved by a comparison of risks, however rigorous.

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