Midwifery law put on hold pending review

Wednesday, July 4, 2007 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 8:12 a.m. CDT, Monday, July 21, 2008

JEFFERSON CITY — A judge temporarily barred a new law Tuesday that would let some lay midwives deliver babies in Missouri without the threat of criminal charges and prison sentences.

Cole County Circuit Judge Patricia Joyce issued a temporary restraining order against the midwives law, scheduled to take effect Aug. 28, and set a hearing to consider a preliminary injunction on Aug. 2.

A senator secretly attached the midwives provision to a bill intended to make health insurance more affordable and accessible to some Missourians.

Several physician groups sued last Thursday, claiming the midwife language violates the Missouri Constitution by going beyond the bill’s health insurance title and by changing the bill’s original purpose.

In court Tuesday, an attorney for the doctors’ groups argued that women and infants could be placed at risk by allowing the practice of midwifery by people who aren’t licensed by the state and may have no collegiate education in medical care. Attorney Harvey Tettlebaum also argued that doctors who cooperate with lay midwives could risk professional discipline by their state oversight board.

Midwives typically provide prenatal care and help deliver babies in mothers’ homes. Under existing Missouri law, midwifery is illegal unless done by physicians or certain specially trained nurses working under a physician’s supervision. A violation is punishable by up to seven years in prison.

The recently passed legislation says anyone who holds a current certificate for minister of religion or tocology from the National Organization for Competency Assurance can provide services related to pregnancy.

Like what you see here? Become a member.

Show Me the Errors (What's this?)

Report corrections or additions here. Leave comments below here.

You must be logged in to participate in the Show Me the Errors contest.


Mary Ueland July 4, 2007 | 8:30 a.m.

The new law does NOT allow any lay person to hold themselves out to be a midwife. NOCA does not offer any ministerial certifications, so the only two credentials that would be allowed to provide tocology (i.e. midwifery) services are the Certified Nurse Midwives and the Certified Professional Midwives.

For the doctors' groups to claim that they are protecting mothers and babies is very telling. If they wanted to protect mothers and babies, why did they make the bill putting Certified Professional Midwives under a state licensing board one of their number one priorities to kill for the past two years??

The lawsuit shows that their real purpose it to make sure that there are NO midwives available for Missouri women.

Why don't the doctors and Senator Graham agree to come to the table and make a safe solution available to women who want to birth at home?

To do any less disregards the intelligence and rights of women of childbearing age.

(Report Comment)

Leave a comment

Speak up and join the conversation! Make sure to follow the guidelines outlined below and register with our site. You must be logged in to comment. (Our full comment policy is here.)

  • Don't use obscene, profane or vulgar language.
  • Don't use language that makes personal attacks on fellow commenters or discriminates based on race, religion, gender or ethnicity.
  • Use your real first and last name when registering on the website. It will be published with every comment. (Read why we ask for that here.)
  • Don’t solicit or promote businesses.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through. If you see something objectionable, please click the "Report comment" link.

You must be logged in to comment.

Forget your password?

Don't have an account? Register here.