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Legislative updates.


The sunrise-sunset committee meeting in July went favorably, with the committee recognizing the need to legalize midwifery and drafting a bill to do so. In its present form, the bill will require that the midwife register with the state. It also requires her to provide clients with a "disclosure statement" discussing her training and the risks of homebirth. The bill will be introduced in January, 1991, and much work and financial assistance will be needed to assure its passage. Contributions can be sent to the Colorado Midwives' Assoc., Box 1067, Boulder, CO 80306.


Members of the Midwives' Association of Florida, along with Florida Friends of Midwives worked hard for the passage of Senate Bill #1066 to reopen licensure for direct-entry midwives. Despite the recommendation of a legislative-mandated study that direct-entry midwives were safe and cost-effective and should be licensed again, the bill was nonetheless defeated. Ina May Gaskin reports that the most vocal opponents of licensure of direct-entry midwives were the Florida Nurses Association and Florida's chapter of the American College of Nurse-Midwives.


A working committee has been formed at the state level to advise state policy-makers about providing medicaid coverage for homebirths. Washington is the first state we know of to be considering such reimbursement. Licensed direct-entry midwives are being reimbursed like other practitioners for medicaid births that occur in the hospital or a licensed birth center, but only for prenatal and postpartum care when women give birth at home.


A bill introduced in January to make the practice of midwifery without certification a felony has been stalled in committee.

Midwife Martha Ivey has been under investigation for the past year in an attempt to prove the "practice of medicine without a license." When unable to obtain enough evidence for that charge, on May 24, 1991 she was charged with "practicing midwifery without a certificate of authority." This charge was filed almost 5 months after she moved out of the state of Georgia into Tennessee.

Martha has recently filed a counter suit because Georgia has legislation on the books to certify direct entry midwives, but the health department have refused to issue such certificates since 1963. Martha has tried repeatedly to apply for certification without success.

Recently, in light of the counter suit, they have made a desperate attempt to cover themselves by stating that they will now certify, but that anyone desiring certification must meet CNM qualifications. Due to the fact that separate legislation exists for CNMs, this is redundant and in clear violation of the intent of the law.

Information on midwifery suits, physicians for expert testimony, statistics and financial assistance is desperately needed and can be sent to Martha Ivey, 422 Kingsridge Dr., Hixson, TN 37343 (615)870-1691.


Sheila Nichting, RN, whose birth center Country Cradle was raided in January, 1991, has reached a settlement with the State Board of Nursing which still allows her to deliver babies. She must practice under standing orders and protocols issued by a doctor who lives within 50 miles of her facility, have her practice evaluated once a year by a CNM and a representative of the nursing board, and meet other requirements. She still faces eight felony and two misdemeanor charges of practicing medicine without a license.


Linda Arnold Momsen, midwife and director of Cada de Nacimiento in El Paso, Texas, has filed a counter-suit against three local physicians and a hospital after they filed a $25.1 million lawsuit against her. Momsen's suit maintains gross medical malpractice by the hospital and attending physicians following presentation with a prolapsed cord. The mother was transported in knee-chest position with the head held off the cord. Fetal heart tones were noted by emergency medical technicians. However, following the cesarean the baby was kept alive on life support systems and pronounced brain dead two weeks later.

Momsen alleges that the hospital's protocols for cord prolapse were not followed, FHTs were not monitored once the mother arrived at the hospital, the attending physican delayed proper care, Medicaid was improperly billed, and the death certificate was falsified. The suit also hopes to examine possible motives for the initial suit, specifically the discrediting of midwives.

Donations to help with Momsen's legal fees and expenses, which are not recoverable, can be sent to Momsen's Defense Fund, in care of her attorney Mickey Milligan, 5766 N. Mesa, El Paso, TX 79912.

--From a press release by Alison Osborn
COPYRIGHT 1991 Association of Labor Assistants & Childbirth Educators
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1991, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:midwife legislation in Colorado, Florida, Washington, Georgia, Missouri, Texas
Publication:Special Delivery
Date:Sep 22, 1991
Previous Article:Is a birth stool better?
Next Article:The professional midwife.

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