Guest post by Arielle Stagnola
On February 20, 2011, a local Certified Professional Midwife (CPM) was arrested for providing midwifery services without a license in North Carolina, igniting passions of advocates of midwifery and home birth across the state. North Carolina Friends of Midwives (NCFOM) has been actively working to fix legislation, but has not yet accomplished this task. Supporters were outraged to hear of the arrest, something all had hoped would not happen before new legislation legalizing CPMs could be passed.
With cesarean rates in North Carolina on par with the national rising national average of 32.9%, options for vaginal birth are waning. Healthy women seeking a vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC) who are unable to find area physicians or midwives to provide care in a hospital or freestanding birth center setting frequently seek care from CPMs, who assist them in childbirth without the risks of major abdominal surgery. There has never been a more critical need for skilled, licensed CPMs than now.
Momentum is gaining quickly in this fight and hopes are high this week. On February 23, Senator Thom Goolsby agreed to sponsor a bill that would license CPMs, which is currently being written. Angered supporters from diverse backgrounds are now channeling their energies into a protest march being held in the state capitol next week. The Birth Freedom March will take place in Raleigh, NC at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, March 2nd at the State Legislative Building. Hundreds of mothers and families will gather with home birthed babies to show support for and demand legislation to legalize and license CPMs. Attendees are scheduling appointments with their representatives to speak to them face to face about the importance of licensing CPMs.
Anyone interested in joining this most important of gatherings should visit NCFOM for more details. There is also a Facebook event set up. NC residents are encouraged to visit http://www.ncga.state.nc.us/ and contact their local state representatives to set up meetings, send letters, and make phone calls to make our voices heard.
News coverage of the story:
Professional Midwife Arrested for Practicing Illegally (myfox8.com – February 23, 2011) Dr. Henry Dorn interviewed in this article.
Midwife Supporters Outraged; Investigators Explain Arrest (wsoctv.com – February 24, 2011)