The most urgent issue facing Missouri on the healthcare freedom front is the needless prosecution of Missouri midwives. Families who want to give birth at home need access to trained midwives.
Midwifery care has been proven to be equal to or slightly safer than standard hospital birth for low-risk, healthy women. Numerous, carefully designed studies from around the world, published in such prestigious journals as ACOG’s Obstetrics and Gynecology and the British Medical Journal, come to the same conclusion – planned homebirth with a trained midwife is as safe as hospital birth with an obstetrician.
Homebirth and midwifery care is not for everyone, nor should it be. Although common in many European countries, only a small percentage of Americans choose it! But, it is proven to be a safe alternative that actually:
~ Lowers healthcare costs
~ Lowers prematurity rates
~ Lowers cesarean rates
~ Lowers episiotomy rates
~ Increases bonding and breastfeeding rates
~ Lowers maternal and neonatal infection rates and
~ Has the highest patient satisfaction rate of any maternity care services!
In much of the industrialized world, midwifery care is the “gold standard” of maternity care and even across the US, midwives are legal in approximately 40 states.
But in Missouri, homebirth families are faced with the harsh reality that their midwife could be tried and convicted as a FELON!
Homebirth families are faced with several options – go out of state to get the maternity care they desire; find a midwife who is willing to put herself at risk for being convicted of a felony; go it alone; or be forced to use the only maternity care system that is currently legal – even if they incur unwanted risk and expense by doing so.
Missouri families often cannot find a midwife willing to risk going to prison for delivering their baby. If they do find a midwife who is willing to put herself at such enormous risk, they face the possibility of their midwife being arrested during their labor or birth – just when they need her most. Families fear transferring care to a local hospital or pediatrician, because many parents are harassed or threatened for having made the decision to give birth at home with a midwife. This does not create a setting for good care. Only when healthcare professionals can freely share information is the patient’s safety assured.
Why has Missouri decided that midwifery is a crime?
Missouri is the ONLY state where the definition of the practice of medicine includes midwifery. You can see this yourself: click here or ask your librarian to show you Missouri Statute 334.010.
The practice of medicine by people who are not physicians is a felony in this state. Therefore, practicing midwifery in Missouri is a felony for everyone except doctors and nurses working under the supervision of doctors. The law does not make an exception for a midwife helping only women in her own community or church, or even her own family. There is no loophole for a midwife who does not charge money for her services.
Our goal is to see that midwives are legal and available in Missouri.
We believe that parents should be allowed the freedom to make informed choices about what they feel is the best and safest care for them and their children, including maternity care.
Our focus for the 2007 Missouri legislative session will be decriminalizing midwifery in Missouri!
We hope that you will join us and contribute what you can towards making Missouri a better place for you, your children, and your grandchildren to live. Please sign up for our e-news updates today!
Click here for more details on the history of midwifery or specifics about Missouri midwifery law.
To find out more about other states ’ midwifery laws.
For more information on midwifery and other healthcare freedom issues, check out these sites:
Henci Goer’s website (Obstetric Myths vs. Research Realities, etc.)
Show-Me Freedom in Healthcare PAC does not endorse any or all content found on these sites.