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Birthing documentary featured tonight at Lake Tahoe Community College

Provided to the Tribune

A movie examining birth culture in America has begat a new event at Lake Tahoe Community College.

The college will show filmmaker Abby Epstein’s 2008 documentary, “The Business of Being Born,” at 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 9, in the Duke Theatre. A panel discussion will follow; organizers have lined up midwives, a doula (a nonmedical birth assistant), a childbirth educator, an obstetrician-gynecologist and delivery-room nurses.

In 2001, after experiencing unwanted medical intervention during the birth of her first child, actress Ricki Lake gave birth to for a second time in her home bathtub with the assistance of a midwife.

Lake approached Epstein to collaborate on an examination of birth culture in America that would ask questions about the way women have babies.

Footage of women having babies punctuates “The Business of Being Born.” Each experience is unique. Giving birth clearly is the most physically challenging event the subjects have gone through, but it is also the most emotionally rewarding.

Along the way, Epstein interviewed a number of obstetricians, experts and advocates about the history, culture and economics of childbirth. The film’s fundamental question: Should most births be viewed as a natural life process, or should every delivery be treated as a potential medical emergency?

Epstein’s own pregnancy adds a personal dimension to “The Business of Being Born.”

The film runs 87 minutes and has no rating from the Motion Picture Arts Association, but it contains scenes of childbirth and nudity.

General admission tickets are $5, or $4 for seniors, children and LTCC students with an ID card. Children 10 and younger get in free with an adult.

The box office opens at 6:45 p.m. For more information, call (530) 541-4660, ext. 512.


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