Sunday, February 20, 2011

Midwifery Advocates...We Need YOU!

Mississippi Friends of Midwives is pushing you to go to Jackson and you might be wondering why.
 Aren’t the calls and emails enough?
 Aren’t other people going and talking to the legislators?

Before we answer those questions, let's have a mini history lesson...

Last year, a bill was introduced that would have restricted childbirth attendants to OBs and CNMs (Certified Nurse Midwives) in hospitals. This would have made the Direct Entry Midwives (DEMs) that attend home births in MS illegal. The bill went right through the House of Representatives and over to the Senate without hesitation. Just then, word spread to the home birthing families in MS about the legislation and there was a strong outcry against the bill. Senators let the bill “die in committee” by not bringing it up for a vote by the deadline.

Fast forward exactly one year….After a lot of hard work by MS Friends of Midwives and the MS Midwives Alliance, House Bill (HB) 207 has been passed by the house and now sits in the hands of the very same, Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee with that same deadline approaching, March 1st. (Learn more about the bill and why it is important here:

So, to answer those questions,
Yes, there are a handful of the same people that have been to the Capitol repeatedly to speak with Legislators.
And, NO, at this point in the process, calls and emails are NOT enough!!

Let me tell you why.

The Medical community is at the Capitol every day lobbying AGAINST our bill. Women in Mississippi have enjoyed the right to birth at home with the care provider of their choice since the beginning of time. However, there are organizations in our state (such as the Mississippi State Medical Association and the Mississippi Nursing Association) that are working to see that right taken away and limited to their services in their hospitals. The organizations that tried to make home birth illegal last year did not and will not give up. They are working to kill our “pro-homebirth” bill and rest assured, they will take another shot at eradicating it next year.

We need your help to make a change.
 The legislators of MS are somewhat supportive of home birth and are willing to consider a law to recognize midwives and their role in the maternity care system.
We have some momentum, but we need to keep it going and gain the favor of the Senators.

The deadline for the bill to come out of committee and be voted upon by the Senate is March 1st.
If we can’t convince the Senators in the Public Health and Welfare committee to bring this bill up for a vote, it dies.
All of our hard work and money is lost.
And, our opposition will be poised to make direct entry midwives illegal next year.

The future of midwifery care is in your hands.
I know you are busy and taking care of a hundred responsibilities.
So are we.
But, this is your chance to make a real difference in our state.
 It is the consumers that have the power to make this change, not the midwives.
The Senators are asking  to speak with their own constituents on the Midwife Safety Bill.

Lobbyists are at the Capitol EVERY DAY trying to kill this bill with faulty information and telling our Legislators that home birth in unsafe and should not be "approved" by the State by allowing this bill to pass.

 Are you going to let them stamp down families that support the right to birth at home?
We KNOW the system of maternity care needs to move forward and accept women who choose to birth at home and that by providing these minimum standards for midwives, we make that choice more credible to the consumer.
 Do something about it!

You may be saying to yourself, "I want to go. I want to help, but I just can't".
Well, we are here to help!
Let us know your reasons for not being able to go...
financial reasons, transportation, childcare, uncomfortable talking to Senators, have more questions about the bill...whatever your dilemma, Mississippi Friends of Midwives Board Members are available to help.
Contact us via email, facebook or by phone (on our Contact Us page).
Let us help you get to Jackson!

Our state legislature is in session for 12 weeks.
We are halfway through with a SPRINT to the finish line.

Our opposition will be there, will you???