Dear Families and Friends of Midwives:
We are entering the Autumn “veto session” period of the first year of the 98th General Assembly.
We will have a short window during this time, when legislators will be back in Springfield to finish up the year’s work. This will be the optimal time for us to bring legislators’ attention back to home birth and midwifery. If you value CPM licensure, we need you to call your legislator MONDAY or TUESDAY and ask for a quick appointment this week in their local office. If they can’t meet you this week, ask for an appointment sometime before November 11th. If you just can’t visit them, please send a letter this week.
Here’s the good news. We have THREE bills for you to tell your legislator about!
Many of you have heard of our defeat in March of this year, of a bill that would have licensed CPMs to work independently as home birth providers with few restrictions. It was HB2685, the Home Birth Safety Act. Most legislators would characterize that bill as “dead” however it is technically not completely gone until the end of the 98th General Assembly in Jan 2015.
Many of you have also heard that after that bill’s defeat we submitted another bill, HB3636, The CPM Licensure Act. This bill would enable midwives to work, under supervision, primarily in settings other than home, such as birth centers and medical clinics. This bill is much more likely to gain legislative approval because of the supervision clause, but very few, if any, midwives will be able to attend home births under this bill.
What you may not know is there is yet another bill that was an exact replica of a bill we filed during last year’s General Assembly. We have learned that it was quietly re-submitted by one of our sponsors, this past January. This third bill, HB1194, allows CPMs to practice home birth care, but requires written collaboration from physicians or CNMs, just like the CNMs need right now. Though this is not ideal, the bill does allow the CPM to practice anyway if she makes 10 documented attempts and cannot gain collaboration.
Now that we’ve caught you up, we would like to ask you to do something different.
GO TALK TO YOUR LEGISLATOR ABOUT ALL THREE BILLS.
Let them know you want access to CPMs for Home Birth.
Tell them, the Illinois Home Birth Crisis continues. Home birth increased by 50% between 2004 and 2011 yet there are fewer providers than ever in Illinois. Only 6 out of 102 counties have nurse-midwives providing home birth services. CPMs have been filling in the massive gaps in care, but have no legal access to life-saving anti-hemorrhage medications, no access to oxygen, and no smooth communications with hospital staff in the event of an emergency.
v HB2685 could have solved the problem, but it was killed in committee.
v HB3636 has been offered as a full capitulation that won’t even solve the home birth crisis, but at least it would let midwives work in birth centers under supervision but the Illinois State Medical Society opposes even that…. This opposition makes it clear that the ISMS has a philosophical objection to CPMs working at all, and will never come to an agreement about licensure.
v HB1194 could be the answer, providing a solution to the problem of a provider shortage, yet providing oversight that legislators seem to desire. HB1194 is such a good compromise that last year, in the 97th General Assembly, the Illinois Association of Family Physicians removed opposition to a bill that was identical to HB1194. (It was HB5370 filed in 2012)
v If we do nothing, it is only a matter of time before there is a preventable tragedy – a mother or baby death – because of failure to take action to solve the shortage. It has happened before, it can happen again.
ASK YOUR LEGISLATOR TO CO-SPONSOR or at least commit to voting YES for one of these bills.
With the Affordable Care Act coming into play, and with the need for states to expand their pool of providers, this may be the year the ISMS loses some of its power to block other professions. See the Crain’s Chicago Business article at the link below. CPMs are mentioned. Print that article and bring or send to your legislator. Point out that doctors are just trying to block progress at every turn. Then talk about the points listed above and ask your legislator if they will support ANY of these three CPM bills.
Here’s how to look up your legislators. http://www.elections.il.gov/DistrictLocator/DistrictOfficialSearchByAddress.aspx
For now, focus on your State Representative, but do take note of who your State Senator is.
Here is the Crain’s article. http://tinyurl.com/l5rzcc5
Please let us know what happens!
(Hit reply if you are reading this in email or post in the Illinois Friends of Midwives facebook page or group.)
Best wishes, The Coalition for Illinois Midwifery Board
Rachel Dolan Wickersham, CPM, President
Tonisha Cross, Vice-president
Vicki Johnson, CPM, Secretary/Treasurer
Audrey Stillerman, MD
Becky Coolidge, CPM
Ashley Price, President ILFOM
Carrie Vickery, Events ILFOM
Indiana Increases Access to Maternity Care
The Governor of Indiana just signed a bill licensing CPMs, making Illinois surrounded on three sides by states that recognize the importance of homebirth safety. It is unacceptable that the state of Illinois continues to turn its back on homebirthing families. Now is the time to let your legislators know that you want Illinois to get in line with its neighbors and allow our midwives to practice without fear of prosecution.
Go to this website http://gis.elections.il.gov/map_viewer_update/default.aspx to find your STATE representative and senator and write them today. Here are some talking points you can use:
-I can go across the border to (Indiana, Missouri, or Wisconsin – pick the relevant one) to have my baby in a hotel with a CPM, why can’t I just stay home?
-Wisconsin midwives are building a birth center for the families of northern Illinois, and there’s already talks of one going up in western Indiana. Shouldn’t Illinois babies be born in Illinois?
-28 states now recognize Certified Professional Midwives and none have tried to take away licensure. If it works for the majority of the states, why won’t it work for Illinois?
-The Illinois midwives are attempting negotiations with the Illinois State Medical Society right now. Please support this effort to increase access to safe, effective, and low cost maternity care.
Legislators prefer personally written letters with handwritten envelopes. This is the most effective way to contact them. Write your legislators today and let’s bring our underground midwives into the light!