Q&A with The Big Push for Midwives

by PushGirl Friday on January 20, 2014

Submit your question to The Big Push for Midwives.

qaQUESTION: Home birth legislation seems to be a true non-partisan issue, with Republicans politicians showing support from the right, as well as feminists from the left. Has this been your experience? Is there any instance from state to state that you know of where pro-midwife legislation has been split legislators along party lines?

ANSWER: In every state the support for CPM legislation has been roughly 50/50 between Republicans and Democrats—in fact, another comment we frequently hear is how unusual our list of co-sponsors is and how they’ve never seen certain far right and far left legislators on the same bill together. And that is one of our primary strengths as a movement, that supporting access to out-of-hospital maternity care and midwives who are specially trained to provide it is naturally bipartisan.

In fact, the only people who oppose expanding maternity care options and choices are the special interest groups with a financial stake in maintaining and the legislators who are beholden to them. 

What’s inspiring about our movement, though, is that we’re such a refreshing example of how politics is supposed to work. Many of the legislators we try to recruit have been “bought” by medical industry money, but if enough of their constituents speak up, votes often trump special interest money. And we’re able to mobilize a significant number of voters in every state, not only via outreach to legislators and staff, but also through the campaign work we do in support of our friends and, sometimes, against our opponents. Midwifery supporters in a number of states have played a significant role in influencing the outcome of state legislative races—in Wisconsin, we even mobilized the Amish to turn out and vote.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

natasha January 28, 2014 at 3:20 am

I am writing in hopes of assistance in advocating the rights of women for use of midwives at a home birth in the state of Hawaii. SB2569 proposes to not only deny women care if they wish to seek an out of hospital birth and do not meet the bills narrow definition of “low risk”. Women must be examined by an appointed physician whether it is indicated or not, only be provided care by a board appointed certified nurse-midwife and also sign an informed consent claiming an increased risk of neonatal mortality with use of a midwife and a home birth. Any deviation from the boards definition of a normal labor and the woman must undergo an “immediate transfer to an emergency medical facility”. Further yet, any non compliance in any are of this bill and the self appointed board is granted the authority to investigate and prosecute any home birth providers. At this time Hawaii does not recognize CPM’s and if implemented this bill will cause this state to be the most backwards in providing the right for women to make an informed decision in care for their pregnancy and birth. This is an insult to the intelligence of all birthing mothers. It is instilling unnecessary fear into the minds of women that birth is not something our bodies are capable of without the interference of the all knowing modern medical system.

Please, help me understand if it is possible to change this movement around to put Hawaii on the map for recognizing midwives and educating the population on the truth about home birth and midwives.


Katherine Prown February 4, 2014 at 12:06 pm

Thanks for getting in touch, Natasha, and for outlining just a few of the reasons why SB2569 is such a terrible piece of legislation for families in Hawaii who are seeking alternatives to hospital-based maternity care. Since it is too late in the session to introduce a better bill, the first action on the agenda is to make sure that SB2569 is stopped in its tracks. Please forward the link below to all of your family and friends and ask them to contact their legislators in both the State Senate and House and tell them to stop SB2568 because it will criminalize nearly every midwife in Hawaii who is currently serving families who choose to have their babies at home due to their cultural, religious, or personal beliefs and who are seeking a safe and affordable alternative to hospital-based care.

Find your legislators here:

This is also an excellent opportunity for people to educate their legislators about Certified Professional Midwives and their specialized clinical training in out-of-hospital maternity care. CPMs are the only midwives in the U.S. who are required to undergo training in out-of-hospital settings, which of course is the primary reason why SB2569 is such a misguided piece of legislation–it would limit licensing to midwives credentialed by the AMCB, which does not require any training at all in out-of-hospital clinical settings.

Thanks again for getting in touch, Natasha, and please spread the word and keep us posted about your progress!


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