Press Release: McClendon Holds House Midwife Bill Hostage

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 24, 2014

 

Hannah Ellis: (256)-975-3845
alabamabirthcoalitioninfo@gmail.com
www.alabamabirthcoalition.org

 

Lawmakers are running out the clock on the Home Birth Safety Act

 

The Alabama Legislative session is about to wrap up, but supporters of House Bill 601, and Senate Bill 99 “The Home Birth Safety Act”, are still waiting for a vote. Originally sponsored by Rep. Mike Ball, R-Madison (HB67), and Sen. Paul Bussman, R-Cullman, the bill would decriminalize the practice of Certified ProfessionalMidwives (CPMs) so that families choosing home birth in the state could have access to professional careproviders. CPMs are trained to respond to emergencies, nationally certified, specialized to the out-of-hospital birth setting, and currently authorized to practice in 28 states. The Senate Judiciary Committee held a public hearing and scheduled a vote on February 5, but Sen. Bryan Taylor, R-Prattville halted the legislative process by calling for the bill to be tabled.


Rep. Joe Hubbard (D-Montgomery), member of the House Health Committee, emerged as the new champion of the bill by sponsoring a duplicate bill (HB601) and successfully advocating for a public hearing on March 19 before the House Health Committee. In his testimony, Hubbard urged the Health Committee members to set aside personal beliefs about the safety or appropriateness of out-of-hospital birth and focus on the actual legal question being raised: Should the state be putting resources towards prosecuting midwives as criminals, no different from trespassers, perpetrators of assault, or illegal drug possessors? He made a common sense safety appeal that because it's legal to have a baby at home, it should be legal to have professionally trained assistance.


Families seeking safer out-of-hospital maternity care in Alabama are outcompeted year after year by special interest groups that finance fierce lobbying and make generous donations to legislative campaigns (followthemoney.org).

 

It is now entirely up to the House Health Committee Chair, Rep. Jim McClendon (R-St. Clair, Shelby) to schedule a committee vote. Even though HB 67 was pre-filed ahead of session, McClendon has made no effort so far to move it in Committee. It is late in the game but supporters of the legislation are not deterred.“We want to make the most of this session with HB601 and families would appreciate a fair vote”, says Hannah Ellis, President of the Alabama Birth Coalition. “The only position that the Alabama Birth Coalition can take is one of supporting safe care for all Alabama families, regardless of chosen birth setting.”

 

For more information, visit www.alabamabirthcoalition.org or find the organization on Facebook.  The Alabama Birth Coalition (ABC) is a 501c4 non-profit, grassroots organization.

Press Release: Public Hearing On Home Birth Safety Act

For IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 24, 2014
Hannah Ellis
256-975-3845
alabamabirthcoalitioninfo@gmail.com
Public Hearing On Home Birth Safety Act

The Alabama Senate Judiciary Committee has scheduled a Public Hearing for SB 99, "The Home Birth Safety Act". The hearing is scheduled to take place in the State House (room 325) on January 29th at 1:00pm.    SB 99 is sponsored by Senator Paul Bussman (R) and supported by the Alabama Birth Coalition.  SB 99, and its companion bill, HB 67, sponsored by Representative Mike Ball (R), would enable Alabama families choosing home birth to receive care from Certified Professional Midwives (CPMs) without their midwives risking prosecution for the act of attending their births. 
 
Alabama law currently allows families to choose home birth as long as their home births are not attended by any professional care provider.  Any midwife who attends an Alabama home birth risks prosecution.  
 
"Alabama legislators have a responsibility to make home births the safest possible," says Lisa Clark, long-time Alabama Birth Coalition supporter.  "As parents, we are asking that our babies and mothers be given access to the same safe, affordable, respectful care that mothers and babies in other states benefit from."
 
Certified Professional Midwives are specifically trained to attend home births, and are prepared to facilitate life-saving first response in the event of a complication arising at home.  In other states, CPMs work with medical professionals to ensure the highest quality of home birth care.  Alabama is one of only eight states that prosecutes Certified Professional Midwives who attend out-of-hospital births. 
 
The Alabama Birth Coalition is a non-profit, grassroots, all-volunteer organization made up of Alabama families.  The organization has introduced bills to increase access to Certified Professional Midwives since 2007.   For more information on the Alabama Birth Coalition and The Home Birth Safety Act, visit: http://www.alabamabirthcoalition.org/.

 

Press Release: Consumers and Lawmakers Support Home Birth Safety Act

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

January 14, 2014

Hannah Ellis

256-975-3845

www.alabamabirthcoalition.org

alabamabirthcoalitioninfo@gmail.com

 

Consumers and Lawmakers Support Home Birth Safety Act

Do Nothing, Decriminalize, or License?

 

Rep. Mike Ball, R-Madison, and Sen. Paul Bussman, R-Cullman, are taking a different approach this year to legalizing midwifery in the state. House Bill 67, and Senate Bill 99, "The Home Birth Safety Act", would decriminalize the practice of Certified Professional Midwifes (CPMs). CPMs are highly trained, nationally certified, specialized to the out-of-hospital birth setting, and currently authorized to practice in 28 states.   

 

Since 2003, the Alabama Birth Coalition (ABC) has worked to regulate the practice of out-of-hospital midwifery through state-issued permits or licenses, but has not been successful due to intense lobbying from the Medical Association of the State of Alabama, which does not support home birth.  Proponents say because it's legal to have a baby at home, it should be legal to have appropriately trained assistance. Home birthing parents and midwifery professionals will continue to work towards state licensure as the ideal but are seeking this compromise in order to provide immediate relief to families choosing home birth in the state. 

 

Women choose to give birth in alternative settings for cultural, religious, economic, and personal reasons. The Alabama Department of Public Health reports that between 2005-2012, 1,448 out-of-hospital births occurred in state.  Among that number are women who gave birth without any professional assistance.  The women broke no laws by giving birth unsupported but any skilled midwife would have risked prosecution had they assisted.  According to Rep. Ball, "It's an informed choice that a mother makes about how to have her baby and, the fact is, a lot of people are doing it anyway," he said. "This would improve care."  

 

For more information, visit www.alabamabirthcoalition.org or find the organization on Facebook. The Alabama Birth Coalition (ABC) is a 501c4 non-profit, grassroots organization.

 

PDF Version

 

Freedom For Birth Screening--FREE To ATTEND!

"The freedom in a country can be measured by the freedom of birth." - Ágnes Geréb

Join us for a free screening of the film, "Freedom For Birth: The Mothers' Revolution": Friday, June 7, 2013 at the Villiage Church in Huntsville, Al.

"Freedom for Birth" is described by the filmmakers as a documentary about the abuse of human rights in childbirth around the world. The film tells the powerful story of Agnes Gereb, a Hungarian midwife imprisoned for helping to give women choice in birth. It features the story of how a Hungarian mother, Anna Ternovsky, who wanted a home birth with Agnes, took her country to the European Court of Human Rights and won a landmark case which might have changed the world! Also in the film are over 40 of the world's leading birth experts including: Ina May Gaskin, Sheila Kitzinger, Sarah Buckley, Robbie Davis-Floyd and Michel Odent.

At the conclusion of the film, we will read a personal account of an Alabama midwife's arrest and prosecution and open the floor for Q&A.

There is no cost to attend, but a "love offering" for ABC will be taken after the film.  More information is available on Alabama Birth Coalition's facebook page.

Sign Petition! Alabama Mothers Deserve Midwives!

In the next few weeks, we are in need of 2,000 signatures for the following petition: 

"Petition To The Alabama State Legislature: 

We the people declare that Alabama families need and deserve increased access to midwives.  We request legislation be passed to license Certified Professional Midwives."

By signing this petition you agree to release your contact information to Alabama Birth Coalition.  Your contact information will not be sold.  If you do not already receive Alabama Birth Coalition email alerts, please sign the petition by filling out your contact information: click here to sign.