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.