Thursday, June 26, 2008

Physician groups play dirty

News from Missouri Midwife Supporters

CONTACT: Mary Ueland (417) 543-4258, grassroots@...

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, June 26, 2008

Opponents of Midwives Launch Smear Campaign

In a Desperate Attempt, Play the ‘Abortion Card’

JEFFERSON CITY, MO (June 26, 2008)—Just hours after the Missouri Supreme Court ruling that declares Missouri families now have legal access to professional midwives to help deliver babies in the state, the coalition of physician groups that tried to fight the law in question have launched a misinformation campaign seemingly designed to cast doubt among citizens, and based on false claims that the new law will permit Certified Professional Midwives (CPMs) to perform abortions.

“To suggest that CPMs are trained to do abortions—or that they would even want to—is beyond the pale. CPMs are all about delivering babies—abortion is not within their scope of practice. Abortions are performed by obstetricians, not by midwives,” said Mary Ueland, Grassroots Coordinator for Friends of Missouri Midwives (FOMM). “But considering that the Missouri physicians association told their own members last year that this legislation would allow bricklayers and crane operators to deliver babies, I’m not surprised at this new attempt to distort the truth.”

Certified Nurse-Midwives (CNMs), who are licensed and regulated in all 50 states, are trained to deliver babies in the hospital and to provide family planning and well-woman care. Certified Professional Midwives (CPMs), by contrast, limit their scope of practice to the management and care of healthy women experiencing normal pregnancies. They also undergo specialized training to qualify as experts in the provision of out-of-hospital maternity care.

“This interpretation is incorrect and obviously so,” stated Susan Jenkins, Legal Counsel for the National Birth Policy Coalition and a member of the legal team for the Friends of Missouri Midwives. “The new law clearly references the federal Medicaid statutes to define the scope of practice for which CPMs are certified and, as everyone knows, the federal Medicaid program does not cover abortion, except under rare circumstances as defined by the Hyde Amendment. More importantly, CPMs are not certified to provide abortions by their certifying body, the North American Registry of Midwives, and this statute is directly linked to CPMs certified scope of practice. The basic certification of CNMs does not include abortion either.”

In a 5 to 2 ruling Tuesday, the Missouri Supreme Court upheld a law that legalizes Certified Professional Midwives (CPMs) who practice in the state. The Court determined that the physician groups that brought the suit to overturn the law lacked standing because their only interest in the case was economic. The decision makes legal Certified Professional Midwives (CPMs) and removes the threat of prosecution to professional midwives who assist families who choose out-of-hospital birth. State and national birth and midwives advocates hailed the ruling as a triumphant and historic moment in Missouri’s history and evidence of a tipping point at hand on the national scale.

The Court’s summary is posted online. With this ruling, Missouri joins the majority of other states where Certified Professional Midwives are legal. There are only nine remaining states where they are prohibited. Twenty-four states license CPMs.

Missouri is a priority of The Big Push for Midwives Campaign <>, a nationally coordinated campaign to advocate for regulation and licensure of Certified Professional Midwives (CPMs) in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, and to push back against the attempts of the American Medical Association Scope of Practice Partnership to deny American families access to legal midwifery care. The Big Push for Midwives Campaign is the first initiative of the National Birth Policy Coalition (NBPC). Through our work, we are building a new model of U.S. maternity care delivery at the local and regional levels. At the heart of this new model is the Midwives Model of Care, which is based on the fact that pregnancy and birth are normal life processes.

Media inquiries about the Missouri Supreme Court case should be directed to Mary Ueland at (417) 543-4258, grassroots@.... Media inquiries about The Big Push for Midwives Campaign should be directed to Steff Hedenkamp at (816) 506-4630, RedQuill@....


Friends of Missouri Midwives

Missouri Midwives Association

Show-Me Freedom in Healthcare

Free the Midwives

The Big Push for Midwives