I'd like someone to explain to me why midwives are seemingly infallible? Why are they not capable of making mistakes, of acting negligently, of doing harm? Are they not human? Are they somehow immortal? No matter how much you love your midwife as a friend or "sister", no matter how "empowering" your home birth might have been, is it too much to consider that midwives are human and make mistakes? Is it too much to understand that in the nature of their job those mistakes can be so great that they cost lives and permanent damage? And further, if those mistakes are repeated, does a community not deserve to know there is a problem?
Why are midwives not capable of malpractice? (Meaning they deviate from a standard of care that otherwise prudent people of the same profession adhere, putting women and babies at risk of death or injury.) The inherent problem here is that too often there is no consistently defined, standard of care I suppose.
Why is it that when a family suggests mistakes were made and actions are taken to hold midwives accountable, that that family is made out to be the enemy? Why is accountability not expected of the "profession" of midwives? Why is every death or injury not worthy of at least an investigation? Why is every death and injury not reported to anyone? Why are these situations ignored, dismissed as irrational, or worse imagined never to have happened? Why are these situations not acknowledged, addressed, and carefully analyzed to improve practice?
How is it that Michigan has no regulations for midwives to date? How is it that there is no defined scope of practice or mandated reporting of outcomes? Why can anyone call herself a midwife regardless of educational training? Why do midwives not have to be certified in neonatal resuscitation? Why can midwives traffic prescription drugs illegally and that's somehow okay? Please tell me how midwives who are arrested repeatedly or out on bail on one state can come to MI and set up a birth center, no questions asked?
Why do midwives not have to bother with carrying insurance? Are they infallible, on par with God himself who can make no mistake? Why don't we expect more of our midwives? Why are midwives exempt from any and all accountability?
I don't presume to have the answers to these questions because many of them are puzzling to me. I will say this...that midwives and the women who value their care need to think deeply about these questions. If midwifery is to be a responsible, professional, sustainable option for women, midwives must hold themselves to a higher standard. Having "choices" in the birth of our babies does NOT mean subjecting ourselves to unaccountable, randomly educated, and apparently criminal midwives.
Why can't we expect midwives to be educated, licensed, insured, ethical, and held accountable when they have made mistakes? What's wrong with higher standards? Why is it rendered "anti-midwife" sentiment to expect professional standards and conduct? Can't I have my midwife, my choice, and some standards too?
Establishing standards does not equal elimination of choice, it simply asks that those choices be as safe as they possibly can be.