No, we say YOU are unconstitutional!

I became aware of this story yesterday via the ICAN board.  I received permission to reproduce this post here on my blog.  This really is quite a blow, not just to midwifery but to the many many women who rely on and benefit from the midwifery model of care.  TEN states have legislated that direct entry midwifery is illegal!  Now, I’m only at the beginning of my study on homebirth, but what legislator has the right to decide that I can’t labor legally at home with a midwife of my choosing?  (crickets chirping)  Yeah, that’s right . . . none of ‘em.  Maybe homebirth and/or midwifery is not a choice you as a woman will make, but consider that it is a choice that you should be allowed to make.  Who knows better – you or the puffed-up suit???

Here’s the story as it was relayed to me:

Sad news -

Yes, Cole County [Missouri] Judge Patricia Joyce ruled against the midwifery
provision contained in HB818 today. Her final judgment in the case
says that the midwifery provision is unconstitutional because it does
not relate to the underlying purpose and subject of the bill -
expanding health insurance coverage.

She doesn’t write favorably of the practice of Certified Professional
Midwives, saying:
“The midwife provision broadly authorizes certain unregulated persons
to provide pregnancy services without limitation,” Joyce wrote. “Since
the midwife provision does not relate to health insurance, and is
therefore not encompassed within the title for House Bill 818, the
title “relating to health insurance” is underinclusive.”

Seeing some of Judge Joyce’s descriptions and choices of words, one
attorney reading through her judgment today commented, “It looks like
she let the plaintiffs write her judgment for her and then she signed
her name at the bottom.” Not exactly, but her judgment seems to have a
smidgen of her personal dislike for the midwifery issue showing
through. We had heard some things through the rumor mill about her
personal opinions on the matter, but hoped that she would review the
constitutional issues in an unbiased manner in spite of her personal
opinions and preconceived ideas about midwives. Her decision is
disappointing, but not entirely surprising.

HOWEVER, this is not the final verdict! We intend to appeal to the
Missouri Supreme Court and we feel hopeful for a eventual favorable
outcome there. The MO Supreme Court has a strong precedent in recent
cases of upholding whatever the legislature passes and saying, “We are
not here to make laws. If the legislature passed it, and the Governor
signed it, it should probably not be thrown out by us.”

We have 30 days before we can file papers to appeal to the Missouri
Supreme Court. During that time, we MUST raise money to cover our
legal fees to continue fighting this battle as it makes it way through
the court system.

If you have not already contributed to our legal expenses fund, I hope
that you will consider doing so today. If you have considered it, but
are financially challenged right now, I hope you will consider how you
can raise some money or solicit donations, whether through a dinner
party, a garage sale, a bake sale, or sending letters to your friends.
Feel free to forward this email on to your friends.

All contributions should be made online at: http://www.freethemidwives.org
Or mailed to:
Free the Midwives
PO Box 2319
Rolla, MO 65402
Contributions are not tax-deductible.

Lastly, there is a great need for the homebirth families of Missouri
to speak up about this and how Judge Joyce’s ruling will negatively
affect their families and their access to quality, affordable
healthcare. Send letters to the editor, talk to the media, blog….
Remind people that this was all about organized medicine, mad that
they lost the battle in the legislature, now attempting to regain
their turf and reclaim the pregnant women that they consider “their
patients” in the court system.

Please go to
http://blogs.columbiatribune.com/politics/2007/08/judge_strikes_down_midwifery_s.html#comments

http://blogs.columbiatribune.com/politics/2007/08/graham_praises_midwifery_decis.html#comments

and add some comments to the blog posts above about the midwifery
ruling, including the statement issued by Senator Chuck Graham. I hope
some of the pro-choice feminists that he claims to represent and who’s
life and health he claims to care so much about protecting, call him
out on his statement!

Thank you, and let’s keep up the fight! Never, never, ever give up!

Mary Ueland -  legislativechair@misssourimidwivesassociation.org

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