Kathryn A. Ziegler, Ph.D., FOMM Membership Coordinator
While I have never given birth, I have been interested in and advocating for midwifery and midwife care models since my doctoral work in Communication and Women’s Studies in Southern Illinois University. There I worked with a midwife who was also a fellow student who revealed to me the precarious position midwives were in at that time in Illinois and Indiana. I informally took up her cause and taught it in women’s studies classes. I returned to Michigan to teach women’s studies courses at Eastern Michigan University, Albion College, Huron Valley Women’s Correctional Facility and had the great pleasure of meeting and working with Amanda Howe of New Moon Midwifery who graciously volunteered countless hours speaking to my classes. I am thrilled to be the Membership Coordinator for FOMM to use my skills and formalize my passionate support for midwives, midwifery care and women’s health rights. I live in Ypsi with my cat Wilma, and currently teach gender and sexuality courses at EMU and Huron Valley Correctional.
If you are new to campaigning or prefer to do your campaign work with a partner, contact Beth at email@example.com with your location and availability.
Action Alert: Senate Bill Introduced, Opportunities to Help
Midwifery friends, we have exciting news! Senator Mike Green has introduced a bill in the Michigan Senate to license Certified Professional Midwives! SB 1310 joins HB 5070, the companion House bill sponsored by Rep. Ed McBroom. Sen. Green and Rep. McBroom have been working closely together, and we’re excited to have Sen. Green as a leader in this effort. Licensing for Certified Professional Midwives is taking yet another step forward. We need your help. Read on for a full legislative update, and to learn how you can offer support.
Q: How can I help support the Senate Bill?
A: WE ARE ASKING SUPPORTERS TO DO TWO THINGS!
1. Email Sen. Mike Green at firstname.lastname@example.org to thank him for sponsoring a CPM licensure bill. We are grateful for his willingness to champion this issue in the Senate! If you really want to practice gratitude, email a note of thanks to his chief of staff, Emily Carney, at email@example.com – a HUGE supporter of midwives!
2. Next, at http://www.senate.michigan.gov/fysenator/fysenator.htm, identify your state senator and send him/her a brief email urging support for licensure of CPMs. See the sample message below. If you prefer to leave a voicemail, that’s fine too.
SAMPLE MESSAGE TO SENATORS (feel free to personalize and/or shorten)
Hello! I am writing to ask Senator <last name> to please support SB1310, a bill to license Certified Professional Midwives that was introduced this week by Senator Green.
I strongly support this bill. Parents want the option of an out-of-hospital birth. With licensure of Certified Professional Midwives, parents can be sure that the midwife they choose has the education and training necessary for a safe out-of-hospital birth. I believe that it is time for Michigan to join 27 other states and pass legislation to license Certified Professional Midwives.
Thank you for considering my views on this important matter. Please don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions.
Name (mailing address and if you wish, your phone number)
Q: What happens now with Senate Bill 1310?
A: The Senate process mirrors the House process: the bill will be assigned to a committee the Senate Health Policy Committee.
Just a bit of legislative process 101: each bill that is introduced, regardless of whether it starts in the House or the Senate, must complete the entire legislative process from start to finish. The bill must be passed by the committee, then passed by the entire chamber (House or Senate) and then repeat the same process in the next chamber, and ultimately be signed into law by the Governor. During this whole journey, the bill number does not change, although a suffix will be added every time the bill is amended. For example: House Bill 1234 (H-1) becomes House Bill 1234 (H-2).
Q: Is the content of the Senate bill the same as HB 5070?
A: Sen. Green’s bill is identical in content to the current working draft of HB 5070. Rep. McBroom’s working draft includes changes to correct a drafting error and other changes based upon input from Friends of Michigan Midwives (FoMM), the Michigan Midwives Association (MMA) and various other parties. The working draft is not available on the Michigan Legislature bill tracking system because the draft has not been officially adopted by legislative committee vote. However, it is recognized as the sponsor’s current draft; contact Rep. McBroom or MMA/FoMM for a copy.
Q: When we contact our Senator about SB 1310, should we also mention Senate Bill 1208, which would ban CPMs in Michigan?
A: No, we are staying positive and focusing on Sen. Green’s bill, Senate Bill 1310. Do not mention SB1208.
Q: What is the status of House Bill (HB) 5070 (sponsored by Rep. Ed McBroom) – the House bill to license Certified Professional Midwives (CPMs)?
A: Chairwoman Gail Haines has not scheduled HB 5070 for a hearing in the House Health Policy Committee, despite vigorous lobbying by midwifery consumers, midwives and Rep. Haines’ fellow legislators. We are very disappointed by this failure to hold a hearing. We ask that our supporters do not repeatedly contact Rep. Haines at this time, however, and that any interactions that do take place remain fully respectful and cordial.
Q: I am hearing horrible, untrue things about CPMs and moms who choose out-of-hospital births. How should I respond?
A: We are developing a written guide for responding in these situations. Remember: with a few exceptions, it is usually not productive to engage in these arguments. It is unlikely that anything you say to the opposition will change their minds. It is helpful to educate people who are interested in learning more about CPM licensure and to share why you personally support access to safe and legal midwifery care.
Q. How else can I help?
A. Friends of Michigan Midwives is recruiting volunteers in all areas of the state. We can use your help on a variety of efforts! Please e-mail us at FriendsofMichiganMidwives@gmail.com.
Friends of Michigan Midwives is looking for leaders to continue our fight to protect midwifery.
Did you know that FoMM is completely run on volunteer time? We are a working board made up of motivated consumers, mothers and birth workers, and we need more hands! We currently have openings on our board that we need filled in the coming months.
As many of you know, FoMM has been working to pass Legislation to License midwives in the Michigan for the past 5 years. Last year HB-5070 was introduced by Representative McBroom and 36 co-sponsors. Since the introduction of HB-5070 we have been waiting for our bill to be called to hearing in Health Policy Committee. We must be organized in order to continue our work to pass HB-5070, but we can’t do that without the support of volunteers helping to organize in their own communities around Michigan.
We are currently looking for Regional Coordinators in Grand Rapids, Lansing, Northern Oakland County, Traverse City, and Mid-Michigan. We also have positions open for a Fundraising Coordinator, Membership Coordinator and Events Coordinator. Please visit our Volunteer Page for a detailed job description and application instructions.
Please remember, this fight can not be won without the support and work of our volunteers. Please consider lending your time and talents to FoMM.
Friends of MIchigan Midwives
Board of Directors
A Dangerous Bill ~
Six Action Steps to Take TODAY
As many of you are aware, Sen. Gretchen Whitmer has introduced Senate Bill 1208 (SB-1208), which would radically alter the face of midwifery in Michigan. This bill would have disastrous results for midwifery in Michigan. Whitmer’s bill would:
• Outlaw all non-nurse midwives
• Eliminate access to out-of-hospital birth in most of our state, which has only a small handful of nurse midwives who choose to attend out-of-hospital births; this would force many women into unassisted births
• Eliminate the designation of Certified Nurse Midwife and create a completely new category of “licensed midwife,” with new rules and restrictions not modeled on any successful law in any other state
• Legislate many new restrictions on which births can take place at home – legislators get to choose, not women and their midwives; goodbye informed consent, goodbye options
• Eliminate free-standing, independent birth centers by requiring them to work under hospital supervision.
Our option to give birth out of the hospital is seriously at risk. Friends of Michigan Midwives is the voice of midwifery consumers in Michigan, and we strongly support House Bill 5070 as an alternative to Sen. Whitmer’s troubling bill. House Bill 5070 provides safe, accessible care to Certified Professional Midwives, who are specialists in out-of-hospital birth. Despite 37 bipartisan co-sponsors, the bill is languishing in the House Health Policy Committee, as the committee chair, Rep. Gail Haines, refuses to allow our bill to even come up for a hearing!
Twenty-seven other states license CPMs, Michigan must come in line with this national trend. Regulation of midwives in Michigan is going to happen. We must work for HB 5070, which was crafted with extensive input from midwives and consumers.
What can you do to help? Here are six specific steps our supporters must take today:
1) Contact your Senator and express your opposition to Sen. Whitmer’s misguided bill (SB1208). Ask your Senator to express his or her opposition personally to Sen. Whitmer. Express your support for House Bill 5070 and licensing Certified Professional Midwives as a safe and reasonable alternative, inform your senator that we expect a Senate bill to license Certified Professional Midwives to be introduced soon, and ask for their support. Your e-mails, phone calls and letters all help. You can also go to see your Senator when they have office hours in your district. (Find your Senator)
2) Contact your Representative and express your strong support for HB 5070, which provides safe, accessible access to Certified Professional Midwives, who are specialists in out-of-hospital birth. Ask your Representative to urge Rep. Gail Haines to allow our bill come up for a hearing in the House Health Policy Committee. This single legislator is holding up our bill! If your Representative is a Democrat, also ask him or her to please let their colleague Sen. Whitmer know that they oppose her bill, which is potentially devastating for women, babies and families. Call, write, e-mail, go to see your Rep. when they are in your district. (Find your Representative)
3) Write, call and e-mail Rep. Gail Haines and strongly urge her to call up House Bill 5070 for a hearing in the House Health Policy Committee. Let her know you are a Michigan voter and you support this bill!
4) Organize a letter-writing party in your community, invite your friends and ask them to do the three steps above while you are together.
5) If you have professional skills and time to volunteer, please contact Friends of Michigan Midwives to get involved on our board. We especially need board representatives from the Detroit and Lansing areas. E-mail Jonelle.
6) Join our Facebook group for continuing updates on how your can help.
If you care about out-of-hospital birth in our state, you must act NOW. Please don’t wait, women, families and babies are depending on us.
Our midwives honor our families, our bodies and our birthing power. Now it’s time to honor them!
During the month of February, Friends of Michigan Midwives will honor your midwife with a special FOMM Valentine when you donate at least $60 in her honor. That means we’ll send her a special message, and also promote your donation in her honor on our Facebook group page. Let the world know how much you love your midwife!
Licensing for Midwives in Michigan has never been closer. In 2011, Rep. Ed McBroom introduced our bill in the State House of Representatives, backed by an amazing 36 co-sponsors. Still, our work is far from done. There will be a hearing in the health policy committee later this month. We will not be able to win with out the continued support of our home birth and birth center families.
With a donation of as little as $10 a month for the next year, you will help Friends of Michigan Midwives to plan for the future and cover our legislative cost for 2012. A donation of just $60 will allow us to honor your midwife with a Valentine, and $120 also enters you in our give-away for an amazing FOMM Postpartum Gift Basket (contains a sling, herbal bath, salted caramels and more pampering goodies). Please help to honor your midwife and let your legislators know that Michigan families support our midwives. (Just put the name of the midwife you want to honor in the “comments” section when you process your credit card or PayPal payment. )
Donate by Feb. 29 to qualify for the give-away and Valentine promotion. We have nothing to lose, only safe accessible midwifery care to gain!
Donate today by visiting our website!
Welcome to the Friends of Michigan Midwives blog. We plan to use this space to help promote midwifery in our state, and to keep you updated on midwife-friendly legislation. Thank you for joining us!