Midwifery in Missouri Continues to Attract Attention
The fine folks over at the Missouri Political News Service have alerted us that my op-ed from last month, "Missourians Should Be Allowed to Use Midwives," has been getting a large number of hits on their site today, all arriving from Mothering: Natural Family Living. Sure enough, the piece is currently linked as one of the top news items on that magazine’s front page.
Although I didn’t report it on this blog at the time, I was happy to see that advocates of midwifery filed an appeal with the Missouri Supreme Court late last month, asking for the midwife provision of HB 818 to be reinstated:
Sen. John Loudon, R-Chesterfield, who added the midwifery provision to the bill, defended his inclusion of the provision.
“Health insurance is about access to health care, nothing else. And allowing the public access to additional providers fits right in (to health insurance issues). I thought it was a perfect fit,” he said when reached by phone Friday afternoon.
“I think it’s crazy that we’re the only place in the world that makes (midwifery) a felony,” Loudon said. “We should be giving pregnant women every comfort and option they desire, rather than let the doctors and the politicians dictate their options.”
Whether the appeal effort succeeds or not, there’s no question that midwives should be allowed to practice if expectant mothers prefer to use their services. Statistics show that midwives are a safe option for most women, it’s true, but even more than that, it’s an issue of personal freedom and choice. As I wrote in my op-ed:
One fact that’s often overlooked in the debate about the safety of midwifery is that it’s already legal for just about anybody to deliver a baby in Missouri. You can have your neighbor or your mail carrier or your pizza guy deliver your baby without legal repercussion. It’s only when you seek out someone with relevant experience and pay her to perform a delivery that it becomes against the law. Any system that penalizes training and competency just because money is involved needs to be altered.