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The Home Birth Safety Act, which has a new bill number, SB3712, will be voted on this week here in IL. Everyone, PLEASE, call your reps in their Springfield offices to show your support and see how your rep will be voting. Also, please thank them gratuitously if they are supporting the bill. We're getting close, let's make this happen!!!<br><br>
House members: <a href="http://www.ilga.gov/house/" target="_blank">http://www.ilga.gov/house/</a>
 

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The Coalition for IL Midwives, of which I am a member, has been working on getting licensing for home birth midwives for many years. We are now moving the bill in the state legislature in spite of many many challenges. If you are willing you can help make history. Here is how. This will have a positive impact on all women’s health and will benefit all mothers and babies!<br><br>
Please call today to have a chance to make history!<br><br>
--*<br>
Peace on earth begins with birth and body work.*<br><br>
Jo Anne Lindberg MEd ABT<br>
President & Founder<br>
BirthLink.com<br>
Five Element Shiatsu<br>
1555 Sherman Avenue #175 (mailing address only)<br>
Evanston, IL *60201<br>
847-733-8050<br><br><a href="http://www.birthlink.com" target="_blank">www.birthlink.com</a>
 

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Yes, Illinois folks, this is THE DAY to get over shyness and make a phone call on behalf of midwives! You guys have never been closer to having licensed midwives in Illinois!!!<br><br>
xoxoxo your sisters in Friends of Iowa Midwives
 

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I read the whole bill and it is for veterinary medicine. I don't see any midwife language in there. Am I missing something? I'll call but I want to see what I am calling about first!<br><br>
ETA: I called and left a message in his Aurora office - should I call downstate too?
 

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This bill is ridiculously and dangerously restrictive and repressive, and if passed it basically prevent the women who need homebirths most, from getting it. It will also make it quite difficult and tricky for mws to reach the ed req's. ICAN is NOT supportive of this bill, which bans HBAC except for moms with a successful hospital vbac behind them--in a state where hosp. vbac options are dwindling more by the day.<br><br>
Much as I'd like to see midwifery legalized in IL, I do not support this bill. History in various states has shown that 'any license' is NOT better than 'no licensing'. Such licenses do nothing so much as prompt mws to 'out' themselves fully to the state, giving med boards even freer rein to persecute midwives and control choices that by our constitution should remain, with fully informed consent, in the hands of individual families and mws.<br><br>
If you are considering calling your rep about this bill, PLEASE read the bill thoroughly and give it some real thought before you urge support.
 

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Really? <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"> I know vbacs down here are basically impossible. The hospital I had my first 3 dc at did vbacs, but I don't think they still do, and I was told they don't here. That has GOT to change!
 

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Yes, really.<br><br>
Plus--they will only excuse the ed reqs for midwives who have received their CPM from NARM at least 5yrs ago, have also kept up their certification w/NARM, and practiced out-of-hospital for 5yrs.<br><br>
Which means that mws who have practice longer--some far longer--will not be able to be licensed until they do meet the ed reqs, or get their CPM/update their CPM and continue to practice (still illegally) for 5more years.<br><br>
It's pretty draconion, and I really do not believe that it is mws OR families best interests to support this bill. IMO, better to let it retire this time--and let more time pass, more stats roll in from "CPM-only' licensing states, and try again for a more fair, basic, and informed-consent-based bill to be presented.
 

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Dear all,<br><br>
I'm a home VBAC mom myself, and president of the Coalition for Illinois Midwifery.<br>
I co-wrote the Home Birth Safety Act.<br><br>
Before passing judgement or taking action against something that will protect the midwives we know and love, I would encourage everyone to take a look at the history of this bill. It had it's beginnings 30 years ago when most of us were children. I joined the effort 10 years ago. Ever since then, in every Illinois legislative cycle, a bill has been brought forward and has failed to even get out of committee, until we:<br><br>
a - hired a lobbyist,<br>
b - re-wrote the bill to fit Illinois licensure bill standards, and<br>
c - sat down at the command of the legislators and tried to come to an agreement with some of the major opponents to the bill.<br><br>
After the first two changes, the bill passed the Illinois Senate on a vote of 51 - 7. It took the third change, negotiating, to get the bill moving in the House.<br><br>
Now the bill is moving and yes, it allows CPMs to take care of VBAC moms throughout pregnancy. It calls for CPMs to transfer care to their collaborator for a client's first VBAC. After that CPMs can attend all subsequent VBACS.<br><br>
Although it does not accomodate all VBAC moms, it is a major step forward because right now, NO direct-entry midwife can attend ANY VBAC or any other mother, for that matter. It's illegal for them to attend ANY birth in Illinois. Anyone who does, is doing so illegally and risking her freedom or her life's savings to do so. One can only work this way for so long.<br><br>
Because of this, and because Illinois is hostile to underground midwives, this state has lost over 20 home birth practices in the past 10 years. Killing the bill because it does not accomodate all VBACs right now, only promoted the continued oppression of midwives and midwifery in Illinois and the continued exodus of midwives to other states where they can practice legally.<br><br>
Three years ago a midwife, a friend of mine, left the state. Two years ago a downstate midwife received $10,000 in fines. Last year another midwife left the state. Next week another one is leaving as well. We've been losing a midwife per year or more almost every year since I had my home VBAC 15 years ago. Why? because it's hard to practice underground. it invites jail time. After a while working underground is exhausting. Eventually the midwife is caught or just gets tired and leaves.<br><br>
This cannot be good for VBAC moms. it's not good for ANY Illinois home birth moms.<br><br>
In state after state, once the law passes, midwifery thrives. Practice grow. Options increase. Protecting our midwives and taking one small step forward for VBAC will improve some things for some VBAC women. Then we can take another step forward and another and another. Once the midwifery bill is passed, we can write a VBAC bill and seek to amend the midwifery law to open it up more. But we must pass the law first.<br><br>
Our midwives have been risking their safety to serve us ever since the 1960s when Illinois stopped issuing midwife licenses. Who are we to tell these wonderful, selfless women that they need to wait for their license even longer so that we can have all things in the bill the way we want them?<br><br>
I urge everyone to support this bill in order to improve home birth safety and give our midwives the opportunity to practice legally. Feel free to contact me off this forum to discuss.<br><br>
best wishes,<br><br>
Rachel Dolan Wickersham<br><a href="mailto:[email protected]">[email protected]</a>
 

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Rachel--<br><br>
Unfortunately, most of the IL mws will STILL have to wait some years, even several, to get their licenses under this bill, due to the ed reqs and highly restrictive grandmothering clause. And you say that further steps can be taken over time to improve the regulations....but I know of mws in many states who have never been able to get the slightest loosening of the grip of overly-restrictive regs. Sometimes what actually occurs in licensing states is that things become MORE, not less, restrictive over time, as to who can have a homebirth and under what specific conditions a mw is still eligible to serve a family.<br><br>
I have nothing but admiration and gratitude for the women like yourself who have fought so hard for mw-licensing in IL. Really, truly. As someone who has put quite of lot of my own time, intelligence, resources and courage into that fight in IL, I know something of what it takes to face daily the absurdity, unfairness, vicious greed and plain stupidheadedness of the legal and medical systems when it comes to midwifery.<br><br>
And I'm sorry, I wish I could affirm this and so, affirm you and the other hardworking IL women more fully--but I can't believe that the current bill will be truly be any kind of relief to IL mws or hb families.
 

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Mrs. Black,<br><br>
I understand your concern for the current system of midwives and it's true, some will have to go back to their community college and earn an associates degree in addition to their CPM in order to practice in Illinois if licensure is achieved, but I question how it could possibly be detrimental to clients or midwives to have their midwife earn an associates. It's means a rounding of education, an elevation of the profession. And, it improves the lives of midwives as workers if their profession no longer causes them to risk freedom or life's savings. These things are not detrimental.<br><br>
Yes, some might choose to suspend practice while finishing up that associates. But some might decide to keep practicing under the radar while they earn that associates. Keep in mind, they are practicing under the radar now. How different would it be? How could it be detrimental to offer those who want it, a chance to elevate their level of education and become legal?<br><br>
For those who feel they cannot afford the additional education, a non-profit has already been identified that might be able to grant-write for educational funding. But one cannot grant-write to fund illegal activities. We must pass the bill first.<br><br>
Some midwives will always choose to be outside the system. They will be in no more danger than they are now, perhaps even less if the state assumes everyone will apply for a license and stops hunting midwives down. The clients of these midwives who choose to remain outside the system stand to lose nothing.<br><br>
Right now I am aware of five IL CPMs and one former CPM who actively support this bill. I am aware of over 20 Illinois CPM students (all engaged in pursuing their credential, some sitting the exam this year) who actively support this bill. This to me, says that the bulk of IL midwives and midwives-to-be support this bill.<br><br>
The only midwives I know of who do not support the bill are non-CPM DEMS who would not be qualified for licensure even if all additional requirements were removed from the bill. They would stay outside of the system anyway because they choose not to be CPMs.<br><br>
Those who are CPMs and those who will be CPMs in Illinois all support the licensure bill. Please do not encourage mothers to not support it. To those of us wishing to practice without fear of prosecution, knowing that some Illinois mothers want us to remain oppressed, is frankly, depressing.<br><br>
Rachel
 

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Sorry Rachel--<br><br>
It just seems to me that the passage of this bill will not change mws from 'oppressed' to 'free'...only from 'oppressed in THIS way' to 'oppressed in THAT way'.<br><br>
Truly I think our goals in IL (and everywhere) are about the same--well, at least quite similar! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/winky.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Wink"><br><br>
And again--I only ask IL families to read the bill carefully, and make up their own minds about it, which is only what any of us should do about any important issue. Not just take other people's word for it, without knowing the particulars and whether or not the bill truly seems to be the best that can be done in THEIR OWN opinion.<br><br>
I know at least one mw from IL who has many years of higher ed, a bachelor's degree along with several years of graduate coursework in various midwifery-related areas of study...and most likely enough applicable science courses among it all to be enough for a Bachelor of Science. But she will not be eligible for licensing. Nor will she, already possessing a BA, be eligible for any form of ed financial support toward taking more undergraduate courses. Neither her self-teaching and years of experience, nor even her 'official education' will be respected under the req's of this bill....and that is just plain ridiculous. It serves no one. I'm sure other mws--some of whom may have decided to go along with this bill, some of whom you may not even know are out there practicing in IL--I'm sure there are other mws who will face similar denigration of their knowledge and experience, and similar difficulties even meeting the reqs, if this bill passes.<br><br>
Know that I trust the families of IL to make what they feel is the best choice in this matter. It's not up to me or any mw--it's up to the Public, the People, to decide. I just hope you all will make a truly informed choice!
 

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it is incredibly disheartening and distressing to know that it is a VBAC sister that is supporting this bill so strongly. :-( While I can respect the great passion and effort and belief in the cause, and do not wish to denigrate the people themselves working on this effort, the idea that we can just go back and "fix" the VBAC clause later isn't supported by any other real life examples in other states. the argument that this bill has been in the works for 30 years doesn't really hold much water for me. If anything, it tells me that people are so sick and tired of fighting for it, that they're willing to do just about anything to finally get the darn thing passed, and that really worries me.<br><br>
What happens if they want more sacrifices to pass the bill? Will even moms with a primary VBAC be added to the "it's for the greater good" pile? What next? Moms of size? Moms with marginal GD? Moms who are judged to have "big babies"? How many other women will get added on, just for the bill to pass? Where is the line in the sand that the IL coalition will draw? Curious to know where and when you will say "no", and wondering why the "no" comes right now at the expense of primary VBAC'ing women?
 
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