Thursday, January 21, 2010

Certified Professional Midwives

It's that time of year again . . . South Dakota's legislative season. This little beauty was created by for Massachusetts folk by two Massachusetts groups advocating midwifery. (They have legislation going forward this year as well.)

The twelve minutes are well worth your time. This video is extremely well-done; it provides an astute and concise synopsis of the medical model of birth in the US today and why we need midwives.

EDITED to say: Unfortunately, this vid was pulled off YouTube the very next day. Saaaaaad. It was so good.

As far as access to Certified Professional Midwives across the nation goes, here is the state-by-state break-down, with thanks to the national organizing force, The Big Push for Midwives.

In South Dakota this year, instead of a CPM licensure bill, midwifery advocates will be introducing a decriminalization bill. The idea is that in these tough economic times, a licensure bill wouldn't have a chance - but that a bill allowing Certified Professional Midwives to practice without fear of prosecution and jail-time* is better suited.

*Think that's nuts? Me too. And it's true... My midwife is a South Dakotan and has served jail time. That was before she moved her practice across the state border to MN; now she serves her SD clients across the border at Safe Houses.


Shannon said...

Midwifery is illegal in SD? Wow. Wow. That is news to me. I had my baby with midwives. It was the greatest experience of my life. I don't know whether they have to be liscenced in MD or not. I suspect they probably do. They have birthing centers here that are staffed with midwives. I should read up about this. I can't imagine why it would be illegal to be a midwife...Wow.

a. borealis said...

I is SO outrageous that it is hard to believe. It really is.

CNMs can practice in a hospital-setting, but CPMs (who specialize in homebirth) are prosecuted and jailed for their work. Even goofier, it is legal to have a homebirth, but illegal to have a midwife attend your homebirth; she can go to jail if she is present.

A group called SDSCO (SD Safe Childbirth Options) has been working to pass this through the SD Legislature since 1992. The medical lobby has a stronghold over the state, to be sure.

Though, last year there was a small breakthrough: CNMs (not CPMs) can attend homebirths if the work in correlation with a doctor. The problem with that? Only 1% of CNMs work in a homebirth setting nationwide - most of them are at hospitals or birth centers. In SD, I believe there is only 1 (maybe 2 by now) CNMs attending homebirths in the entire state.

Ultimately, this is a growing movement and slowly but surely the legislators (and general public) is being educated on this issue. Rest assured, they will see it year after year after year until it FINALLY becomes legal.