Saturday, August 18, 2007

Appeal to the Supreme Court

I added a new blog to my list today, "Molly Reads." This avid reader, (a woman after my own heart) reads and reviews birth related books for her blog. What a great service- thanks Molly! As an avid reader myself, I keep a stack of books on my bureau, (and one in my purse for spur of the moment reading) that I am constantly devouring. Right now I'm finishing up, "The 21 Irrefutable Qualities of a Leader" by John Maxwell, an absolute must read for anyone in a leadership position or who wants to be.
I got news of an update on the Missouri battle for legality here on our borders. There has been much buzz about it throughout Kansas and Missouri in the birth community. Though the initial legal battle was lost, there is intent to carry the case to the supreme court. Here is an article from the Friends of Missouri Midwives website:

Midwives supporters to appeal injunction on new Missouri
Midwifery Law to Missouri Supreme Court
(JEFFERSON CITY, MO.) – Missouri midwifery supporters say the injunction barring the new midwifery law is disappointing, but that it’s not the end of the story. The coalition of four nonprofit midwifery organizations has determined it will appeal to the Missouri Supreme Court based on the fairly well-stated position of that court that they do not make the laws, and that the Missouri Legislature does, enabling “wide latitude” in what laws are passed and how.
“If a law has been passed by both chambers and signed by the Governor, it indicates a pretty solid process, and the Missouri Supreme Court has a lot of respect for that,” said Mary Ueland of the Missouri Midwives Association. “We feel very optimistic about the likelihood of the Court upholding the midwifery provision,” she stated, referencing the Missouri Supreme Court’s three most recent rulings on these kinds of constitutional challenges, in which the court has upheld what the Missouri Legislature has passed.
“Frankly though, the larger issue here is why the Missouri State Medical Association is talking with the American Medical Association to raise more money to fight this law,” Ueland asked. “Why is it that they fail to see the midwifery provision of HB 818 is indeed related to the underlying health insurance bill, when we know the Missouri Supreme Court has already ruled that health insurance and health services are closely related and interdependent on the other.”
Ueland isn’t the only one who questions the seeming stranglehold that organized doctor’s groups in Missouri seem to want to put around the Midwives Model of Care and the profession of being a Certified Professional Midwife, a career that is legal and regulated in 24 states, and that is Medicaid recognizes as eligible for reimbursement in nine states.
President of Friends of Missouri Midwives, Laurel Smith, says efforts to thwart midwifery on these weak “unconstitutional” grounds obscure the larger issue that organized doctor groups are fearful of the imagined impact midwifery will have on their financial bottom lines and thus try to strike down any attempt to create midwifery policy.
“We must remember what got us to this point: the filibustering of Sen. Chuck Graham and Sen. Yvonne Wilson of a Missouri midwifery bill that had majority support for passage,” Smith said. “Sen. John Loudon tried another way to bring the Midwives Model of Care to Missouri so families can have access to maternity care that is safe, respectful, family centered, health promoting, and cost effective, and now the doctor’s groups are coming at it a different way.”
Dr. Elizabeth Allemann, MD is one of the intervenors in the case to support Certified Professional Midwives in Missouri and said that despite the documented evidence proving up the Midwives Model of Care, it generally causes great fear and alarm in the organized medical groups. “What is interesting to me is that we seek not to take anything away from doctors, but to work very closely with them, as is the case in other industrialized nations to a significant extent. We seek to expand access to healthcare services, which is exactly what decriminalizing midwifery does.”
Dr. Allemann says it is clear they will continue on to the Supreme Court. “We will continue to shine light on the creation of a healthcare system in Missouri that includes Certified Professional Midwives, which ultimately is good for mothers and babies. While I understand the organized doctors’ groups are not limited in the amount of money they will spend to continue to fight about this issue, honestly, my concern is more about the women in our state who cannot even afford prenatal care due to skyrocketing costs.”
She said she hopes she can help facilitate a time when the state’s medical and midwife communities will be able to be work together. “We will stand shoulder to shoulder to do the very best for women and babies in Missouri,” she said.


Mimi said...

Oooh, I'm also a reader and off to look at her blog!

Nicolita said...

Hey I live here in Missouri and am 36 wks pregnant w/my 2nd. I'm plannning a home birth for this one too (first was born at home when I lived back in Northern California) Boy are things different out here! I have been lucky enough to find Dr Alleman, who is a wonderful lady and will be attending my birth. I've been enjoying your blog, and just wanted to let you know I'm here in solidarity and keeping my fingers crossed that everything will turn out well in the end for the midwifery bill!