Missouri Midwifing

The Columbia Daily Tribune has an article about a provision added to a bill about health insurance.

If I'm understanding this article correctly, a state senator (John Loudon R-Chesterfield) added a provision to a health insurance bill that would increase state protection of midwives. Apparently, he added measure somewhat secretly, but the bill passed and it seems to be consitutional. Except that the doctors of the state disagree.

Anyway ... here's what the article says about it:

But doctors' groups claim the provision allowing midwives to deliver babies without threat of prosecution was improperly added to the health insurance bill. They say the law violates state constitutional provisions against going beyond the title and original purpose of the bill.

Attorney Harvey Tettlebaum, representing the Missouri State Medical Association and other medical groups, argued that the bill's title - "relating to health insurance" - leaves no room for the midwife provision.

"Effectively what they're asking this court to do is change the title," he said.

The law was to go into effect Aug. 28, but Cole County Circuit Judge Patricia Joyce issued a temporary restraining order blocking it last month. On Thursday she heard arguments on whether to permanently keep the law from going into effect later this month, but did not immediately rule.

She asked attorneys to submit their proposals by Tuesday.

Midwives typically provide prenatal care and help deliver babies in mothers' homes. The legislation says that regardless of a state statute making midwifery a felony except in limited circumstances, anyone with a "tocological certification" - meaning in obstetrics - from a privately accredited group can provide services related to pregnancy.

I don't know a whole lot about midwifery in Missouri - and actually, most of my knowledge of midwifery is about the practices prior to 1800. But I thought I'd draw your attention to this.

My gut reaction is that it's ridiculous to make it a felony for the midwife to deliver the baby. I also know that this will never affect me personally, but there's something about encroaching on individual choices that bothers me here.

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