What do we really know about the case of foster children that moves social networks?

During the week, you have therefore seen the testimony of this mother living near Rennes, whose 2 children have been placed. Back on this controversy which arouses as many emotions as questions…

This is the kind of story that automatically arouses emotion: Raphaël and Noémie are young parents and live in Vitré, near Rennes. To warn about a procedure that they consider abusive, they testified on social networks of their story, which went viral in a few days: everything seemed to be going well for this couple who are raising Nausicaa, 2 years old, and who had just welcomed Lou on June 3.

The unassisted delivery (ANA) went smoothly at their home. Things get tough when on June 7, Raphaël declares his child at the town hall. He is refused registration on the grounds that he has no certificate attesting that the child is in good health, as Noémie recounts:

“The lady panicked when she saw that we had no medical assistance at home. »

On June 8, Raphaël presents himself again to the civil status office, this time with Noémie and the newborn, which makes it possible to ascertain his existence, in the absence of his state of health, and therefore to proceed with the registration. The Maternal and Child Protection services (PMI) are then notified by the civil registrar.

On June 10, the couple and the child end up going to a pediatrician, who according to them, notices nothing abnormal in Lou. A visit is also planned with the services of the PMI, at home this time.

But it is the gendarmerie who arrives at the end of the day. The two young children are removed following a report from social services and on the grounds of a “suspicion of abuse”. UN ” removal “ plain and simple; for Raphaël and Noémie who contest this decision.

In a video, Noémie, visibly in shock, recounts the cruel circumstances in which she was learned that she would not be able to see her two children for three weekspending the judge’s decision.

Since then, the couple have been trying to assert their rights and have received a lot of support. A mobilization is organized, notably supported by feminists committed to the issues of gynecological or obstetrical violence, including Marie-Hélène Lahaye, who believes on Twitter that these placements take place in the overall context of a witch hunt against women who make the (lucid and informed) choice to live outside the hospital. Outside of doctor’s control ».

A kitty to finance the legal procedures of Noémie and Raphaël has been put online.

Is unassisted childbirth the cause?

If the story is undeniably moving, are the reasons for the withdrawal of the children really abusive as the parents claim, who felt that the PMI made this decision because of the unassisted childbirth?

In a press release published on Tuesday June 14, the town hall of Vitré details the circumstances which led to a report to the PMI. She points out that the newborn’s birth certificate was registered without any objection from the agent, who however “recalled the importance of having the child visited by a doctor in order to ensure his state of health, without this advice seeming to find a favorable echo with the father. » :

“Under these conditions, in view of the risk to the child’s health, the civil registrar transmitted the birth to the PMI, as provided for by the regulations for each birth, informing it despite the particular circumstances and the absence of a medical visit.

The civil status service thus complied with the regulations by registering the birth within the deadlines, without requesting documents that were not carried out by the regulations.
If the children have been removed from the family, it can only be by social services for circumstances that have not been communicated to us.

The Rennes prosecutor’s office also clarified the reason for the placement “not directly related to the fact that the birth took place at home” :

Only relevant considerations of the health of these two children and their care motivated this decision by the prosecution.

Still, it’s good childbirth which is cited first in the Interim Placement Order cited by Checknews, following further submissions regarding the health of the baby, but also of his 2-year-old sister :

“Lou X (1) was born on 06/03/2022 at home in precarious conditions; that it was not monitored by PMI; that she has gained only 10 grams since birth; that meetings at home with the PMI are put in check by the parents; that Nausicaa X’s state of health is worrying, that she is in a state of apparent malnutrition; that the mother, Noémie X refuses to become an examiner and that a departure plan for the east of France for a period of fifteen days has been issued and that no PMI follow-up can be put in place. »

Asking the right questions beyond the Vitré affair

If the conditions of childbirth could therefore be one of the reasons that led the prosecution to withdraw the two children aged 2 years and a few days, to their parents, the other reasons have not yet been developed, concerning the risks and dangers likely to be exposed to the two children.

For the moment, the two children remain far from their parents. Whether the measure is perceived as disproportionate or justified, it points to a form of mistrust towards medicine, and the conditions in which we give birth today in French maternity wards.

For the association Parents and Feministsit is necessary to take into account in this business the disapproving glance still often carried on unassisted childbirthin France : “The Rennes prosecutor, in charge of the file, declared that the ANA did not appear in the reasons for the placement. However, can we rule out that this unusual situation had no influence on the file when we see the radical and inhumane solution implemented? ».

The association believes that it will also be necessary to question what drives so many women to make this decision:

“This story reveals the shortcomings of our system and requires making it a priority: so that each woman gives birth as she wishes, with or without an epidural, accompanied by the co-parent or not, in a physiological or squatting position, at home or in a medical setting, master of her choices and of this unique moment. To understand this requires a feminist analysis of parenthood. She is still sorely missed. »


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Photo credit: Emma Bauso via Pexels

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