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The Midwifery Modernization Act

Photo by eyeliam at Wikimedia.

KW: From a colleague I met two times on life’s journey: Once as a faraway member of a group I belonged to, another time as a hostess when we visited cohousing communities in upstate New York:

Hi all,

I’m contacting all my friends and family and acquaintances who live in New York or know others in New York about some midwifery legislation that is on the verge of a vote.  Have you heard about the Midwifery Modernization Act?  Long story short, passage of this bill will make midwifery care more widely available to women across New York State.  Current legislation requires midwives to get a written practice agreement from a doctor.  The problem with this is that those doctors who are supportive of midwives and happy to work with them are frequently pressured by their malpractice insurers not to take on additional liability for patients they’ll likely never see.
The end result?  People like me travel 3 hours round trip to get midwifery care.  For Dmitri’s birth, I had care locally.  After my midwife moved, other mothers and I organized in an attempt to get a written practice agreement for another local midwife who wanted to come out of retirement.  No dice.  Those things are hard to get, and the difficulty in securing them has little or nothing to do with the quality of a midwife’s care.  Many doctors don’t want to support what they see as their competition, and for the ones who are supportive, there are often others (insurers) standing between them and their support of midwives.  For Susanna’s birth, I traveled 1.5 hours each way to and from the midwife.
Midwives are already regulated by a rigorous licensing process in NY.  In fifteen other states, they practice successfully without a written practice agreement requirement.  It’s time for New York to come out of the dark ages to make midwifery care widely available.
Here’s where you come in.  Can you make three phone calls in support of this legislation and pass this email on to others in New York?  Legislators have been turned into supporters after hearing from as few as two constituents, so your calls make a real difference.
Instructions here:
If you want me to make it really easy for you, just reply to me with your street address, and I’ll personally send you the phone numbers and phone script.
Please forward this widely if it feels right to you.  You can also post this email along with my contact information (julesmiel@gmail.com) on discussion lists, in a forum, or on Facebook.  I’m happy to personalize the calling information for anyone at all who lives in New York.  Thanks for your help!
Julie Boerst
P.S.  For fun, you can see a photo of Mitri & Sue in the Free Our Midwives gallery here:
Click on the photo in the third row, second from left.

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