Midwives May No Longer Be Felons In Missouri?

Amie Newman

Midwives in Missouri may go from felons to legal health care providers if the legislation that has passed the MO Senate today also passes the House.

Midwives in Missouri are celebrating tonight the birth of some potentially transformative legislation that has passed their state Senate, over twenty-five years in the making.

According to the Big Push For Midwives, a campaign to legalize and regulate Certified Professional Midwifery (CPM) in all 50 states as well as Puerto Rico and DC, HB2081 passed the Missouri Senate today by a strong majority.
HB2081 would provide for the licensure and regulation of Certified Professional Midwives. CPMs are currently allowed in 40 states, 24 of which license and regulate them.

bill ensures that midwives who have met the national standard and state
regulations are legally available to provide care for families who
desire out-of-hospital births. It also provides transparency and accountability through the state agencies that oversee midwife licensure and birth records.” said Debbie Smithey, President of the Missouri Midwives Association.

CPMs provide crucial pre-natal, childbirth and post-natal care options for healthy women who do not wish to birth in a hospital, or for whom care from a midwife is more desirable.

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What about the House version? Steff Hedenkamp, of the Big Push, says they have heard rumblings that the Missouri House is wondering when the bill will make its way back to them for a vote and adds:

"We believe we have the votes to pass the legislation as is, but of course, we can take nothing for granted. Our extensive state network
of families are contacting their representatives now to help push the
bill through to Missouri Governor Matt Blunt for signing."

However, there is an
emergency clause that will allow the law to go into effect as soon as the governor
signs the bill, instead of waiting until the end of August.

This is great news for women who practice Certified Professional Midwifery in Missouri but it’s even better news for women in Missouri who want to have children. Midwifery provides a birth option for women and their families that grounds birthing women in their own strength, offers a relatively medical-intervention-free birth and brings childbirth in healthy women out of the realm of "sickness" into the world of "health" where it belongs.

For the back story, check out Pamela Merritt’s coverage of the "fierce debate" leading up to today’s victory.


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Reproductive rights are a public health issue. That's a fact.

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