As an organization, Citizens for Midwifery supports the Big Push campaign and is also a partner in the MAMA campaign. However, I think it important to acknowledge that there are strong differences of opinion within the "birth world" about legislative "solutions" in midwifery. I frequently post updates and alerts from various campaigns to this blog. However, there are women who caution that licensing and legislation have unforeseen consequences and I think it is both fair and important to listen to their voices too.
Carla Hartley and Gloria Lemay are women that I admire and respect and both of them have recently voiced their concerns via their blogs about licensing midwives.
Gloria made a thoughtful post titled Licensing, registering and certifying midwives–at what cost?
And Carla has made a couple of quick posts about licensing and also re: malpractice insurance.
My personal feelings about midwifery legislation were deeply shaped by the experiences of living in Missouri for my entire life, in which until last year, the practice of midwifery was a felony. A felony is a serious thing and our intense legislative efforts in Missouri were able to remove that obstacle. There are those who expressed concern about taking a legislative approach, feeling that it was better to leave things as they were and cautioning that legislation has its own risks. I think it certainly is important to be mindful of risks, but I also feel (and felt) very strongly that leaving midwifery a felony was the worst possible tactic to take. I take an, "anything is better than midwives being FELONS!" perspective. Additionally, I felt strongly that it was unethical, impractical, and illogical to assume and trust that another woman would be willing to break the law for me and my family by attending my births--that is a LOT to expect from another woman and from her family, who is by extension also put at significant risk. I couldn't ethically continue to expect that. I do not claim to know for certain if pushing for licensure is the correct answer for every state, however, and I find it important to listen to both sides of the issue. There are a lot of very informed people working on legislative campaigns and I place a great deal of trust in their wisdom and expertise! I also believe that they have the best interests of the consumer at heart.
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