This past week Sen. Margaret Dayton (R) introduced Senate Bill 243 to her colleagues in Salt Lake City. This bill would dramatically restrict the practice of licensed, homebirth midwives. Her bill basically consists of a laundry list of reasons why women wouldn't be able to give birth with a midwife due to medical reasons ie...previous miscarriage, abnormal pap smear, over 35 years of age, previous cesarean, runny nose, hemorrhoids,etc...
This woman happens to be a retired labor and delivery nurse whose husband was a well known, 90 women giving birth a month, busy, obstetrician in Provo, UT. Do you think they hold any biases against traditional midwives or do they have a special interest in seeing them go down in flames? You bet, they do!
If this bill passes as outlined in its entirety midwives wouldn't be able to assist almost 90% of the women they currently serve due to these "medical conditions" which would automatically opt them out of home delivery and midwifery care.
Two years ago I went to the Capitol with a group of midwives who opposed licensure and we fought hard against that because of this very thing that is happening today. We predicted, from our research of licensure in other states, that if midwives would be required to be licensed to practice there would come down the pike a whole gammet of regulations and restrictions which would eventually make the practice non-practiceable under the law and midwives would essentially become extinct or go underground and practice covertly. Interesting how Utah follows this outline perfectly!
It doesn't take a whole lot of common sense to realize that when you bring attention to something so "alternative" in our medically minded society that law makers will want to control it and make it "safer" for the people of their state by putting "necessary"restrictions and regulations upon it. Wha-la! Sen. Margaret Dayton appears and with a quick wave of her medical model wand she changes the face of Utah midwives forever!
I feel so much sadness and disappointment because of this unfounded hoopla surrounding simple, non interventive, natural home birth. The midwives from Salt Lake City who sponsored the licensure bill two years ago are now doing some major back peddling to come up with studies and statistics for safe home birth with low intervention and morbidity numbers.
Sorry ladies, you've done your damage by bringing the midwifery profession to the lawmaker's den. You no longer hold the power or privelege...you are at their will and whim.
I've watched this happen all over the U. S. as each state tries to define and control the beautiful, all encompassing responsibility of the lay midwife and I have only seen two states really do it justice: Oregon and New Mexico. These states have a strong midwife, natural homebirth presence and these lawmakers know they don't mess with the ladies in the birkenstocks!
Utah is a bit behind the times and on this bill, especially, we will have to hope for the best and try to do more educating.
Education is freedom for the mind...pass this message along! Happy Valentine's Day...sometimes life ain't too sweet.