The Turquoise Revolution
by Diana Paul

[Editor’s note: This is an excerpt of an article which appears in Midwifery Today, Issue 108, Winter 2013. View other great articles and columns in the table of contents. To read the rest of this article, order your copy of Midwifery Today, Issue 108.]

The Turquoise rEVOLution (also known as the Birth Revolution) was launched in March this year (2013) following the Human Rights in Childbirth Summit at the Midwifery Today conference. If you were there, you probably sang the song, wore the color and danced among hundreds of helium-filled turquoise balloons. It was profound as we prayed for our persecuted sisters. It was also momentous as we banded together to declare our rights as women to choose where and with whom we give birth. Since 2005, I have been following the CIA World Factbook’s statistics on infant mortality. At that time, the US ranked 43rd in the world behind Cuba and other developing countries. In first place was Singapore as the safest place in the world for a baby to be born. Looking at the cost of health care in both Singapore and the US revealed that the US spent 20 times the amount per capita on health care as Singapore, yet Singapore was ranked 1 and the US 43. (There were no CIA stats for maternal mortality in 2005.) My neighbor suggested we make a t-shirt with this question: Why is the USA ranked 43rd in the world for infant mortality?

We made the shirts. When it came time to reorder, the US ranking had deteriorated by three points. The next shirts asked this question: Why is the USA ranked 46th in the world for infant mortality? (The CIA World Factbook still hadn’t reported stats for maternal mortality.)

In the spring of 2013, when it came time to order more t-shirts, I checked the CIA World Factbook and nearly fell off my chair. The US now ranks 50th in the world for infant mortality. And now the Factbook includes maternal mortality stats showing the US in 47th place, so we needed more than just t-shirts. We needed tools to combat ignorance, awaken confidence in birth and insist that lawmakers defend, not curtail, our human rights. We turned to the work of Gene Sharp, three-time nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize.


Diana Paul is the executive director of LoveDelivers.org. The videos she has produced include Miss Margaret; Five Countries, Six Births, Seven Babies; Birth Day and more. She is the author of the alphabet book, Wild Naked Ladies: Mother Nature’s Design for Birth.


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