From the Ohio Friends of Midwives:
Immediate Action Needed on Behalf of Midwifery & Home birth in Ohio!
Dear Midwifery Supporter:
As of December 1, 2005 changes in the Ohio Department of Health Rules (3701-5-16) were adopted and the interpretation of those rules are making it burdensome for Ohio citizens to obtain birth certificates for their children born out-of-institution. The above rule now requires that a person submit acceptable documentation of (1) evidence of pregnancy and (2) evidence of live birth when applying for a birth certificate. The full text of this rule is enclosed with this notification. The interpretation of the Ohio Department of Health of the above rule is that these two evidences can only be provided by a licensed midwife in the state. As you are aware, the midwives who assist with home births in Ohio currently have no licensing mechanism available to them and therefore, are no longer being seen as a credible witness of pregnancy and birth in this matter.
Midwives have been providing, and Ohio accepting, verification of live birth with their signatures on birth certificates for decades. To no longer accept a midwife as a credible witness to the pregnancy and birth of a child in the out-of-institution setting is creating needless challenges for Ohio's families and is a discriminatory act toward those who choose to home birth.
Your voice, as a consumer of midwifery care and a home birth proponent, is needed to motivate the State of Ohio to once again accept the verification of a pregnancy and birth by a midwife. Please take a few minutes to write a simple letter encouraging the ODH to move toward that commonsense goal. Talking points in your individually written letter might include:
Verification of home births has been provided by midwives for decades and should continue to be considered as a credible witness to pregnancy and birth.
Determining both pregnancy and live births under the new rule 3701-5-16 is well within the qualifications of a midwife, regardless of licensure status.
Rule 3701-5-16 does not require that pregnancy/birth verification be provided by a licensed health care provider. This interpretation is subjective on the part of the ODH.
Requiring an expectant mother to have prenatal visits with a medical provider (physician, public health nurse, chiropractor, etc.) in order to obtain written pregnancy/birth verification puts an unjust time and financial burden on Ohio families.
Personal records and examinations by medical professionals to apply for birth certificates are unjust and invasive expectations of the ODH when a written statement/verification from the attending midwife could be utilized.
Any other statements that uphold midwifery care in the home setting that you may want to acknowledge.
Your letter asking that the State practice a common sense approach with this issue rather than instituting rules that don't best serve the citizenship of Ohio. The sooner the ODH receives many letters on this issue, the sooner favorable resolution will be instituted and home birthing families will be able to return to a credible and simpler method of filing for birth certificates.
Write or FAX a letter, email or make a telephone call in this regard as soon as possible to:
Dr. J. Nick Baird, Director
Ohio Department of Health
246 North High Street
Columbus, OH 43216-0118
Thank you for taking the time to uphold the continued rights for home birth and the midwives that serve them in our state! Please do not put this need aside hoping that enough other voices will accomplish the protection of your rights to birth certificate simplicity. YOUR voice is needed now! Feel free to share this request with other home birth and midwifery supporters.
10000 Waterford Trail
Chagrin Falls, OH 44023
3701-5-16 Registration of out of institution birth.
In any case where a birth occurs outside an institution and the birth certificate is filed within ten days of the birth, documentation of the following shall be required in order to register an out of institution birth:
(1) Evidence of pregnancy, such as, but not limited to:
(a) prenatal record, or
(b) a statement from a physician or other health care provider qualified to determine pregnancy, or
(c) a home visit by a public health nurse or other health care provider, or
(d) other evidence acceptable to the state registrar.
(2) Evidence that the infant was born alive, such as but not limited to:
(a) a statement from the physician or other health care provider who saw or examined the infant, or
(b) an observation of the infant during a home visit by a public health nurse, or
(c) other evidence acceptable to the state registrar.
(3) If the birth occurred in the mother's residence, evidence of the mother's presence in Ohio on the date of the birth, such as but not limited to:
(a) a driver's license, or a state issued identification card, which includes the mother's current residence on the face of the license or card, or
(b) a rent receipt or any type of utility, telephone or other bill that includes the mother's name and address.
(4) If the birth occurred outside of the mother's place of residence and the mother is a resident of this State, such evidence shall consist of:
(a) An affidavit from the tenant of the premises where the birth occurred that the mother was present on those premises at the time of the birth and;
(b) Evidence of the affiant's residence;
(c) Evidence of the mother's residence;
(d) Any other evidence acceptable to the state registrar.
At the discretion of the state registrar, additional evidence may be required to verify the facts of birth. If the required evidence is not available and the local registrar is not able to verify the facts of birth, the out of institution birth may be registered only by a court of competent jurisdiction.