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Midwifery Persecuted in New York State

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Date:          Thu, 8 Feb 1996 15:33:34 -0500 (EST)
Subject:       Midwives in NY State (Long)
Here's the information about the bad stuff that is happening to Midwives in New York state that I thought you'd be interested in. I typed in the information being distributed by the Friends of Midwives. Please, pass the information around the net so that as many NY state residents as possible see it!
Friends of Midwives
PO Box 6134
Albany, NY 12206
Midwifery Bulletin: NYS midwives are being investigated and arrested for practicing midwifery without a license. Concurrently, their applications for licensure under NY's new midwifery practice law are being categorically denied. Here's the sequence of events: Just at a time when many were hoping to see midwives included in the health car system, midwifery in New York has come under attack. Without these midwives, the choice for a safe home birth may no longer be an option.

Your help is essential RIGHT NOW Consumers are the most critical force in demonstrating the widespread support for midwifery and home birth. You need to stand up and be counted, to show that midwifery supporters are of many beliefs and backgrounds, with the shared belief that birth belongs to women and their families.

Here's what you can do:

1. Write to (see sample letter below) or telephone today:

The Board of Regents:
Chancellor Carl Hayden
303 William St.
Elmira, NY 14901
Ed Meyer 8 Frog Rock Rd. Armonk, NY 10504 212-661-3900

Diane McGivern 50 W. 4th St. NY, NY 100212

Department of Education: Richard Mills Commissioner of Education State Education Building, Room 111 Albany, NY 12234 518-474-5844

Send a copy of the letter to the bill's sponsor to let him know that the law doesn't work: State Legislature: Assemblyman Richard Gottfried 270 Broadway Suite 1516 New York, NY 10007

Assemblyman Ed Sullivan Chair, Higher Education Committee Legislative Office Building Albany, NY 12201

Contact your local media: Saturate local newspapers with letter supporting direct-entry midwives and home birth choices.

Support our federal lawsuit against New York State, which speaks to the rights of parents to choose where and with whose assistance they give birth:

In 1994, Julie Lange-Kessler was told by the Department of Health to immediately cease and desist from practicing midwifery, and was subject to an internal department hearing. In response, she filed a federal class action law suit. The suit challenges the constitutionality of the New York law based on the right of parents to retain decision-making power over their births, and also addresses the right of midwives to independent practice with freedom from restraint of trade. It will be heard in federal court in Binghamton beginning on April 29, 1996. Michael Sussman, a constitutional lawyer, has agreed to handle the case pro bono. Funds will be needed to cover both research costs and travel and housing expenses for expert witnesses. Consumers will also need to fill the courtroom for the four to six weeks of the trial, to show their support. For more information contact: Homebirth Option/Midwifery Independence Box 336 New Hampton, NY 10958 914-355-3529 914-355-1416 (fax)

Tax-deductible donation to offset expenses outlined above may be sent to: Center for Social Justice, c/o Mary Whately, 25 Main st., Goshen, NY 10918 (Mark your check "Midwifery fund")

Support your local midwife. It is expected that legal costs will be incurred by individual midwives as they respond to the charges brought against them.

Join the New York Friends of Midwives. Your $20 membership will help you keep informed, and help us all to work together. Our address is at the top of this letter; our newsletter is forthcoming.

Your response makes a difference! make your voice heard. Let it be known that midwifery matters to you. Thank you for taking action.

Dear :

Midwifery is an issue close to my heart. As a taxpayer within New York State I expect to see my dollars being used to expand available health care options. I thought that the passage of the 1992 Midwifery Practice Act would enable more midwives to be licensed and caring for women. The stated intent of the law was to open up the licensing process to midwives educated outside of nursing, thus expanding the pool of midwives in NY and broadening the maternity care options available to women in our state. Instead, these very same midwives are having their applications for licenses denied, and are being investigated and/or arrested.

Ironically, while there are no funds available for the midwifery board to even meet regularly, resources are apparently available for investigations by the state Education Department. The investigators from the Office of Professional Discipline have stated that their intention is to stop the practice of all non-licensed midwives. I thought the intention of the state Education Department was to license midwives.

I would like to see my dollars and you, my representative in state government, supporting the integration of all midwives under the NYS Board of Midwifery, thus supporting licensure, not prosecution, of midwives.

This Web page is referenced from another page containing related information about Legal Aspects of Midwifery


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