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I managed to mess up on a critical aspect of my daughter's birth (the time of her arrival), and so I thought I'd spend part of her 19th birthday revisiting what I wrote about the momentous event.

Julia's birth story. (Possibly TMI for the squeamish.) )
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The legislative session apparently was chaotic enough that the midwifery issue was not revisited before it ended, which means the slipped-in legislation is still live. Apparently the governor has stated that he intends to sign HB818 as it stands, which means midwifery is legalized by one sentence... no licensure mechanism, no board of oversight, no nothing.

I'm joining Friends of Missouri Midwives and the Missouri Midwives Association in an effort to offset the inevitable Medical Board takeover of the midwifery profession... since I'm stuck here another year, might as well leave the place in a better condition than I found it in.
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So when I got back from my trip, I'd found that an effort to pass midwifery legislation in Missouri had stalled, yet again. Discouraging but not unexpected.

Then I saw that Senator John Loudon pulled a fast one, and attached a sentence referring to "tocology" onto another unrelated health bill that was going to pass with little opposition ("tocology" is a word referring to childbirth, archaic and, in this case, used as obvious trickery). It did pass, and is currently on the governor's desk... although the state legislature is performing spectacular contortions to try to repeal it.

I have to say that I'm dismayed by this turn of events. It has already cost Loudon a committee chairmanship, and the loss of trust by his collegues, even those who support midwifery. He has staunchly defended his action, saying to his fellow Republicans, "I ask you, had I used this strategy to end abortion, would you feel the same?" I have to answer a resounding YES!

While I have always supported a woman's right to choose whether and where and with whom to have her baby, this isn't the way it should happen. The whole idea of birth choice depends on being informed and educated and making a decision based on what's best for yourself and your family. To have the mechanism of this choice forced through legislation via a trick like this seems diametrically opposed to the concept of education and informed consent.

The midwifery advocates here are shouting victory from the rooftops. I feel like some smelly wet blanket... and believe me, I KNOW what it's like to have legislation shot down year after year, to have midwives arrested and prosecuted for serving women, to have to raise money to pay lobbyists, to have a hostile Medical Board shoot you down over and over. I did it for years in California, but we eventually got a good law passed (even if it does need tweaking). The days of the arrests and fear are over... the process DOES work.

But to "win" with a slippery move like this would be wrong. As much as it pains me, I cannot support it.

UPDATE: It now looks like another licensing bill might be substituted for the slipped-in wording. I really hope that version passes... I'd feel so much better about it.

April 2017

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