Friday, June 29, 2007

Midwifery in Missouri

I'm deviating from my usual reading-materials-only format to post briefly about the midwifery legislation situation in Missouri. The MSMA has filed a lawsuit with the state in an effort to get the midwifery provision overturned (declared unconstitutional). Birth is a business in the US and this lawsuit makes that abundantly clear. The MSMA is joking if they think their lawsuit has anything to do with safety for mothers and babies.

The Governor of Missouri has come out in support of our legislation. I shared my thoughts on a politics blog as follows:

"I am politically liberal & have not been a special fan of Gov. Blunt. However, I'm so encouraged to see that he is "hearing" the voices of the people on this issue and not just the voice of big business--lets face it, for the MSMA this is NOT about the safety of mothers and babies. It is about politics, power, and money, nothing else. There are relatively few families in Missouri who would even consider homebirth with a midwife. It does not make any sense to restrict their choices in this way, particularly because in many other states families DO have the choice of midwifery care (and it is even covered by Medicaid in several states). There is not a single study that shows homebirth and midwifery to be any less safe than hospital birth, indeed, there is ample evidence that hospital births carry significant health risks for both babies and mothers. It is time to place the burden of proof on the medical profession--can they prove that hospital birth with an OB is actually safe? Studies so far indicate that maternal and infant mortality and morbidity rates are 2 to SIX times higher for hospital births with OB care."

For an exploration of this issue from a consumer rights perspective, check out Susan Hodges excellent and informative article: Mother-Friendly Childbirth Is A Consumer Issue

This issue cuts across partisan lines--ALL women deserve access to midwifery care, not just pro-life women or pro-choice women. We cannot be divided by political party lines--midwives are good for women and babies. Period.

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