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No rehearing in Missouri midwifery case

Thursday, July 3, 2008 | 5:33 p.m. CDT; updated 3:10 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008

COLUMBIA — Missouri is one step closer to legal midwifery this week after plaintiffs in a suit against the state of Missouri and midwifery groups decided not to file for a rehearing of the case in the Missouri Supreme Court.

“We’ve decided that we are not going to make a motion for a rehearing,” said Tom Holloway, director of government relations for the Missouri State Medical Association, in a phone message on Monday. “I think we’re just going to let it go and explore our other options.”

Holloway did not elaborate on what those options might be.

A Cole County circuit court had previously ruled against the 2007 law allowing certified midwives to practice without a doctor’s supervision on the grounds that its passage in an unrelated health insurance bill was unconstitutional. On June 24th, the Missouri Supreme Court upheld the law making midwifery legal, saying that the parties bringing the suit had no legal standing. However, plaintiffs who do have standing could still bring challenges against certified midwifery.

“The court found that the people who challenged the suit had no legal right to do so,” said Beth Riggert, spokeswoman for the state Supreme Court. She said the next step in the current case would be for the court to issue a mandate within 15 days of the original ruling, making last week’s decision against the plaintiffs final.

Columbia is home to Dr. Elizabeth Allemann, one of the defendants of midwifery in the June 24 suit. Allemann is medical director at the Columbia Community Birth Center, which employs two of the 10 certified professional midwives in Missouri.


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