Today’s the day!

31 July 2008 at 8:36 am 2 comments

Since everyone has been working so hard to spread the word on the
Midwifery Bill (SB 2636), several people have written in to ask–why do
we need this bill?

In a nutshell, we (the Mass Coalition for Midwifery–a group of midwives
and consumers who birthed with midwives) are working hard to get this
bill passed because there is no regulatory board that oversees midwives
in MA.

The reason the Newton/Wellesley Birth Place (a freestanding birth center
where my son was born in 2004) closed is because the midwives need a
“patron” OB to “oversee” their practice. Although I saw no OB during my
entire experience at the Birth Place, when the OB who “oversaw” the
midwives retired, the Birth Place closed.

Midwives are competing with docs for turf, and because birth, especially
surgical birth and interventionist birth, is very, very lucrative. The
OBs are fighting like mad to prevent midwives from having more autonomy
in their practices (another thing the bill would provide).

In addition, homebirth midwives (CPMs) are currently not recognized in
MA (as they are in 28 other states). As a result, CPMs are technically
practicing medicine w/o a license. In NY, where, like MA, they also
have no recognized status, they are declared felons. Recently in CT,
which, like NY and CT does not recognize CPMs, 2 midwives had to defend
themselves in criminal court and have been banned from practicing

The bill will create a Board to oversee all midwifery practices,
ensuring better safely standards for women and their families.

Here’s a link to the current text of the Midwifery Bill, Senate 2636.

Please feel free to direct folks to the site (Mass Friends of
Midwives) which has lots of info, too.

Here, once again is how to find your MA State Representative’s contact
information: Go here and type in your address. Your state representative’s email and phone
number is found here.

Please email us at to let us know if you’ve successfully
reached your Rep’s office and what they responded.

The clock is running down. Any support you can provide is much, much



Entry filed under: Uncategorized.


2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Laurie A. Friedman, CNM, MSN  |  1 August 2008 at 8:06 pm

    Dear Ann,

    Just a little correction. Midwifery is NOT the practice of medicine, and here in Massachusetts we have case law that explicitly clarifies this issue. An opinion by the State Supreme Court in the case of Leigh Vs. Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

    In some states the medical practice act explicitly claims attendance at birth as the practice of medicine, but not in MA.

    The situation in NY is different. They have a Board of Midwifery, but it has chosen NOT to license CPMs.

  • 2. Jill Herendeen  |  30 December 2008 at 7:15 am

    Actually, in NY, certification by NY REQUIRES the CPM to have a written practice agreement with an OB or a hospital which offers OB services. Practicing without NYS certification (or without this written practice agreement, since NYS will not allow certification without the written practice agreement) is a felony. Naturally, OBs are not constrained to agree to having written practice agreements with anyone if they don’t feel like it.


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