Saturday, September 25, 2010

The NY Times on direct-entry midwifery legislation in Illinois

Use of Midwives Rises, Challenging the State to Respond:

Each year, 700 to 1,000 babies are born at home in Illinois, many of them in rural locations, according to the Illinois Department of Vital Health Statistics. Licensed home-birth practitioners work in just 7 of the state’s 102 counties, and most are concentrated in Lake and Cook Counties, leaving the majority of Illinois home births unattended, or attended illegally by someone whose education and licensing are unregulated.

That could change as early as November. After 30 years of trying to get the legislature to license direct-entry midwives, Illinois’s midwifery organizations are guardedly optimistic. In May, the State Senate passed the Home Birth Safety Act. A House vote is pending.

Check out the rest of the article, including their allusion to the fact that not all DEMs want licensure, and a choice quote from the OB/GYN on "natural birth plans". Hey, he's tellin' it like it is!

1 comment:

Susan said...

Here in Indiana I've talked with women who know and have worked with DEMs, and that allusion to these midwives not wanting licensure is true here, too. Some DEMs are concerned that once licensing becomes a law, they will lose their ability to practice in their own way because the license will restrict them - for example, they may be prohibited from attending a woman whose baby is breech. So I'm not sure myself whether state-regulated licensing would necessarily be the best move if it essentially puts even more limits on midwives. I think that what might be a better option would be to focus on regulating the midwifery schools and the apprenticeships so that the majority of midwives are coming out with similar skill sets - so that they all, again for example, know how to assist a woman with a breech baby safely. And I think this regulation should be delegated to the midwifery organizations out there that are already focused on education, such as the ACNM and NARM - maybe getting these two organizations to collaborate for complementary midwifery education. I'm not sure if this would make things any "better" in the eyes of state legislators, but I would imagine it would lend a more professional air to the whole thing and help make midwives as a whole a more powerful group because of common interest and education. As it is, even within the midwifery profession there is a disconnect between CNMs and CPMs because of the different educational routes - kind of reminds me of all the places where women in general are divided, making us far less strong as a collective group than we would be if "all our powers combined." *sigh* Perhaps my brain just belongs in a utopian world. :)