Mississippi Friends of Midwives is pushing you to go to Jackson and you might be wondering why. Aren’t the calls and emails enough? Aren’t other people going and talking to the legislators?
Last year, a bill was introduced that would have restricted childbirth attendants to OBs and CNMs (Certified Nurse Midwives) in hospitals. This would have made the Direct Entry Midwives (DEMs) that attend home births in MS illegal. The bill went right through the House of Representatives and over to the Senate without hesitation. Just then, word spread to the home birthing families in MS about the legislation and there was a strong outcry against the bill. Senators let the bill “die in committee” by not bringing it up for a vote by the deadline.
Fast forward exactly one year….After a lot of hard work by MS Friends of Midwives and the MS Midwives Alliance, House Bill (HB) 207 has been passed by the house and now sits in the hands of the very same, Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee with that same deadline approaching, March 1st. (Learn more about the bill and why it is important here: http://biancawooden.blogspot.com/2011/02/why-do-we-need-hb207.html )
The Medical community is at the Capitol every day lobbying AGAINST our bill. Women in Mississippi have enjoyed the right to birth at home with the care provider of their choice since the beginning of time. However, there are organizations in our state (such as the Mississippi Medical Association) that are working to see that right taken away. The organizations that tried to make home birth illegal last year did not give up. They are working to kill our “pro-homebirth” bill and take another shot at eradicating it next year.
We need your help to make a change. The legislators of MS are somewhat supportive of home birth and are willing to consider a law to recognize midwives and their role in the maternity care system. We have some momentum and we need to keep it going and gain the favor of the Senators.
Lobbyists are at the Capitol EVERY DAY trying to kill this bill. Are you going to let them stamp down families that support the right to birth at home. We KNOW the system of maternity care needs to move forward and accept women who choose to birth at home. Do something about it.
The deadline is March 1st. If we can’t convince the Senators in the Public Health and Welfare committee to bring this bill up for a vote, it dies. All of our hard work and money is lost. And, our opposition will be poised to make direct entry midwives illegal next year.
The future of midwifery care is in your hands. I know you are busy, taking care of a hundred responsibilities. So am I. But, this is your chance to make a real difference in our state. It is the consumers that have the power to make this change, not the midwives.
Our state legislature is in session 12 weeks. We are halfway through with a SPRINT to the finish line. THIS WEEK IS THE MOST CRITICAL TIME TO BE AT THE CAPITOL.
If you are saying, “I want to help, but I just can’t go.” We are here to help! Call a board member and let us know why... you can't afford gas, you don't have reliable transportation, you need help with your children, you don't feel comfortable talking to a Senator or maybe you are confused about the bill.
Whatever the reason, we are here to do everything we can to get you to Jackson! Let us help!
There are a handful of people who have dedicated A LOT of time to getting us this far. Don’t let their work be in vain.
Bianca Wooden: 228.233.0686
Vanessa Dudley: 228.282.3346