Roundup: Legislature Delivers for New York Midwives

Beth Saunders

The New York legislature approved loosening restrictions governing midwifery with the Midwifery Modernization Act, and new hips for new moms.

Midwives and their supporters in New York have occasion to cheer these days. A few nights ago, the legislature approved the Midwifery Modernization Act, which removed requirements for midwives to have written practice agreements with doctors and/or hospitals. Despite opposition from the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the bill now awaits the signature of Governor David Paterson. Let’s listen in on a few of the celebrations …

Radical Doula reports,

Well, we finally won one! It’s incredible and in many ways unexpected, but a bill was introduced by some amazing and fierce activists in New York State called the Midwifery Modernization Act. This act would remove the requirement for a Written Practice Agreement between midwives in New York State and obstetricians, the contract that was keeping many midwives from practicing because doctors and hospitals did not want to sign them.

Thanks to some amazing lobbying on behalf of birth activists and advocates (and an incredible number of phone calls from folks like YOU) the MMA has passed both the NY State Assembly and Senate.

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Hopefully within a short time (as long as Governor Patterson signs the bill) this will mean that midwives across New York State can practice without being beholden to the signature of one OB or hospital.

This doesn’t mean that the midwives won’t be using hospitals to transfer when necessary, but this one signature won’t be the determining factor for their practice.

Free Our Midwives thanks the women who love their midwives:

Why did this bill pass during such a difficult time in New York State politics?  Because women – and those who love and support them – stood shoulder-to-shoulder with midwives despite formidable opponents, limited resources, and little time to get organized.

Together, women strategized, fundraised, spread the word, and gathered supporters.  The result was a truly grassroots effort that was able to stand up to established and powerful opponents.  Thanks to your time on the phone, writing e-mails, and sending faxes, legislators were able to learn the truth about the importance of birth choices for women.

Thanks to your efforts, women will continue to have access to midwives in New York.   Before this law was passed, many currently practicing midwives were in jeopardy – now they can continue to care for women.  In other areas of the state, midwives will now be able to practice, thanks to your hard work.   There are women pregnant today who will now receive the high quality prenatal care a midwive can provide, thanks to you.

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Midwifery, New York

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