January 14, 2014, Legislative Session Opens!
The Alabama Birth Coalition has tried for years to pass the ideal, a bill which would license Certified Professional Midwives. We have repeatedly been shut out by our opposition because we're just parents, not a special interest group with deep pockets. Meanwhile, babies don't wait and parents are caught in the middle, wanting to follow the law but forced to make difficult choices. So this year we have brought a decriminalization bill which would provide an immediate solution to parents who want to and are giving birth in their own homes now. Decriminalizing Certified Professional Midwives costs the state nothing. But for parents who choose home birth with a midwife, it means everything.
The Alabama Birth Coalition is working toward healthier moms and babies. An all-volunteer, grassroots, non-profit organization, we hope to achieve this goal through increased access to midwives and empowering citizens across the state to make informed maternity care decisions based on the best evidence available.
Based on the evidence, we believe the Midwives Model of Care is the ideal model for improving birth outcomes. Unfortunately, this kind of care is not readily available to Alabama families.
While Certified Nurse Midwives are licensed in our state, very few actually attend births in hospitals and none provide out-of-hospital care. There are no freestanding birth centers in the state. And the state has failed to authorize Certified Professional Midwives, who are specially trained to provide out-of-hospital maternity care, to practice legally. As a result, Alabama families who wish to deliver out-of-hospital with a midwife are often surprised and distressed to learn that any midwife they hire to attend them risks prosecution.
Families are forced to choose among difficult and limited options. Some find a midwife who is willing to risk prosecution to attend the birth. Some choose to birth in the hospital although they would prefer a midwife. Some travel to birth in states that license midwives. Some give birth unassisted.
Alabama families deserve better options. Therefore, the Alabama Birth Coalition is working to change state law to license Certified Professional Midwives to attend out-of-hospital births in Alabama. We work for the day when all Alabama families will have access to the safe, proven, cost-effective care provided by Certified Professional Midwives.