Birth Services

Joyce Kimball, CPM


Midwives don't get to choose the midwives on their Board of Midwifery

If you want to license home birth midwives, ok. But the proposed legislation "An Act Relative to Out of Hospital Birth" House bill # 1189, House docket # 1240; Senate bill # 1206, Senate docket # 567 has non-midwives choose the board of midwifery that will "develop rules and regulations" on home birth midwives and families who choose home birth.  
The proposed legislation says that board of midwifery is "Section 261: ...shall be appointed as follows: the governor, …the governor shall consider the joint recommendations of ORGANIZATIONS REPRESENTING CERTIFIED PROFESSIONAL MIDWIVES AND CONSUMERS OF CERTIFIED PROFESSIONAL MIDWIFERY in the commonwealth. ... (c) Any member of the Board may be removed by the governor for neglect of duty, misconduct or malfeasance or misfeasance in office after being given a written statement of the charges against him and sufficient opportunity to be heard. Upon the death or removal for cause of a member of the Board, the governor shall fill the vacancy from a list of nominees PROVIDED BY BAY STATE BIRTH COALITION or its successor organization for the remainder of that member’s term.”

If we are going to license home birth midwives and develop rules and regulations on home birth families choices in Massachusetts, why aren’t the Massachusetts home birth midwives providing the recommendations to the governor? We have a well-established, long-term professional trade organization here in Massachusetts - The Massachusetts Midwives Alliance (MMA). The MMA was created in 1984 “by and for a dynamic and diverse group of midwives. The MMA was founded to build cooperation among midwives, and to promote midwifery as a means of improving health care for women and their families.” Bay State Birth Coalition was created in 2015 with the purpose of licensing home birth midwives. Since I have opposed this proposed legislation on home birth midwives, would I be unable to be nominated to be on the Board of Midwifery? Why is a non-midwifery organization choose the nominees for a board of midwifery?

Licensing home birth midwives may be coming, but this bill, as written, is harmful to home birth midwives and the families who choose home birth.