MANA has been hard at work with their "Big Push for Midwives" campaign, aimed at licensing CPMs in every state. So far they've been successful in 27 states, but not in Michigan. State Representative Ed McBroom supports licensing for (CPMs) home birth midwives with his House Bill 5070, but what he fails to address in his bill are all the important elements that go along with licensing that would actually help make home birth a safer option than it is at present.
For example, Representative McBroom forgot to include a sound educational standards for the preparation and training of midwives. He also missed defining "midwives" as licensed individuals and not anyone who decides to call herself one, defining a scope of practice as being only for low-risk pregnancies, detailing transfer of care protocols, encouraging collaboration with OBs, establishing a balanced board to conduct oversight of the practice, and requiring midwives to report all outcomes. Not only did he leave these important elements to improving safety out of his bill, he went further to cite NARM as the source who would determine educational standards and hold midwives accountable. This bill seemed more like a favor to the lay midwives that delivered his four children than one that was meant to really protect women and babies.
Should home birth midwives be licensed? Yes. A licensed midwife should be the only "midwife" allowed to practice by law. The caveat is that handing incompetent people a license does not improve safety. Licensing is only one piece of the puzzle. All of the other pieces have to fall into place if the end result is genuinely aimed at improving safety. As it turns out, the "Big Push for Midwives" is more complicated than MANA would have us understand. It's not actually just about licensing midwives.
Michigan families deserve more...and now they have the chance to support a bill that would actually preserve choice and simultaneously improve safety for women choosing out of hospital birth in our state. Senator Whitmer introduced Senate Bill 1208 July 18th, 2012 at our state's capitol.
This bill establishes appropriate, reasonable standards for education and a defined scope of practice for midwives. It will raise the professional bar for all midwives in Michigan, while preserving a woman’s choice to give birth outside the hospital. In essence, it will ensure that women choosing out of hospital birth are in fact low risk, and that they are attended by educated, licensed, insured, and accountable midwives. Here’s what this bill does for you: Senate Bill 1208 Highlights
Michigan says, "No thank you MANA," we need something more. We deserve regulations that improve safety and allow us the freedom to have an educated, licensed, insured, accountable midwife attend our out of hospital births. Indeed, this is the Big Push Back.
Thank you, Senator Whitmer, for representing the voice of many women and babies in our state and for working toward safer practices and improved standards for midwives.
Hey Michigan, we need your voices! Check out our website to learn how you can help and why this bill matters. You'll find links to the bill, highlights, details about who to contact, what you can do to help, and more! Now is the time for safer options in birth for Michigan moms and babies. Help us make a difference.