ICAN – Shielding women from the truth since the 80’s

ICAN – The International Cesarean Awareness Network, Inc. (ICAN) is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to improve maternal-child health by preventing unnecessary caesareans through education, providing support for caesarean recovery, and promoting Vaginal Birth After Caesarean (VBAC).

You all know I am very much pro VBAC, I fully support a womans right to a vaginal birth after caesarean. It’s often a much easier option, carries less risk than a repeat section and allows for a much faster recovery. There are of course times when a repeat section is required, or an emergency section needs to be conducted during a VBAC attempt. These interventions often mean the difference between life and death for the baby, and thus it is so important a woman VBAC in a medical facility fully equipped for such an emergency.

With the current trend of HBAC and the influx of avid HBAC supporters it is crucial that women are fully aware of all the risks involved. Women need to be able to make an informed, educated decision on their birth. ICAN (according to their website) agree with this notion and their site states:

Being educated is an important part of childbirth preparation. Whether you’re trying to avoid a caesarean, plan a family centered caesarean, preparing for a VBAC, or just learning about your birth options – ICAN is here for you! Maybe you’ve heard this before, but there’s a phrase we adore that says: “If you don’t know your options – you don’t have any.”

So when a post appears on the main ICAN facebook page asking for information and statistics on Uterine Rupture you would expect ICAN to allow people to respond honestly and openly…

This is the question that was asked:


As you would expect it prompted people to respond, included in those responses were of course comments from the HBAC movement, encouraging her to birth at home. There were stats being thrown at this poor woman which were wholly inaccurate. Some even saying the risk of rupture is the same as that of a first time mum! (FACT: Risk after 1 previous section = 1 in 200, Risk with no previous sections is between 1 in 5700 – 1 in 23,000 depending on personal circumstance… a little different don’t you think!)

A friend who has also ruptured posted on the thread, she was polite and understands the risk of HBAC far greater than anyone as she lost her Son to Rupture during a HBAC. This is what she wrote:

carolyne ican

She is right of course, during a rupture you have very little time to get baby out safely. Even if you lived 2 minutes from the hospital a transfer plan wouldn’t get you into theatre in time to save your child. This wonderful lady is just sharing her story, on a post specifically asking for information about rupture. Who better to reply than a woman who has ruptured.

I also replied to the thread, in fact I think I must have made 5 or 6 comments on different spin offs within the thread. I was highlighting the risk of rupture at home. I was actively encouraging VBAC, but citing evidence in relation to the safety (or lack of) during a HBAC. I was told that my stats were off on many occasions. Thankfully I can back up my stats. It’s widely known that there is a 1 in 200 rupture rate, what isn’t widely known is that these are all full ruptures. Many of the HBAC community are led to believe that the 1 in 200 includes windows and scar separation. IT DOES NOT!  It’s so simple. If you HBAC you have a 1 in 200 chance of your baby dying or being left seriously brain damaged. This is not fear mongering, it’s not a scare tactic, its just the truth!

The HBAC community hear about the successful HBACs in their groups all of the time, women birthing at home after 1, 2 even 3 previous sections! They don’t see the 1 in 200 that was devastating for the family, they don’t see the babies who died. they don’t see the women who have to live with their choice for the rest of their lives. These stories are removed from view, hidden away and if ever they crop up they are classed as fear mongering!


What did ICAN do with our comments on their facebook page? You would imagine with an organisation like ICAN, who actively promote education and informed decisions for women that they would fully support all comments made, especially the factual ones. You would almost expect it.

But no….

ICAN deleted our comments, not only that but they banned us from ever commenting on their page again.


Yes it gets worse, after another friend and commenter brought this up with the admins they deleted the post!

I have some questions for ICAN and I would really appreciate it if they could facilitate a response, Women are being hushed all of the time in the Natural Birth and HBAC groups, but I really expected better of ICAN. So if there is anyone out there from ICAN who can answer these I would really appreciate it:

1: Why do you delete comments from your main page that are not derogatory and are offering advice and support?

2: Are you pro HBAC?

3: Why are you jumping on the Home Birth revolution and removing posts that show there are risks involved?

4: Why are you removing posts with accurate statistics and leaving posts with wholly inaccurate statistics?

5: Why are you allowing HBAC supporters to actively encourage other women to HBAC?

I don’t know what more I can say, I am outraged that our comments were removed, appalled that ICAN are allowing the solicitation of women for HBAC and just totally disgusted by the whole situation!

ICAN – Shielding women from the truth since the 80’s

1 thought on “ICAN – Shielding women from the truth since the 80’s

  1. I’m disappointed that I haven’t had a reply yet. There are a group of us talking about this, and I just wanted to say this to ICAN:

    I’m disappointed that our posts were removed from your page. There were 5 of us whose comments were removed at the same time were banned from ever commenting again. None of us were disrespectful at any point. It is so important that women know the full story, removing posts and comments like ours prevent these women from making an informed decision. We can’t wrap women up in cotton wool. 3 babies have died in as many days and a further two are in special care, one of whom is in critical condition fighting for his life. All HBAC related. Let us have a voice please. Women deserve to know all aspects of home birth after caesarean before they decide to HBAC. Only then can their decision be an educated and informed one.

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