Wednesday, February 20, 2008

If you live in Utah...

UPDATE: SB93 is likely going to be voted on in the House this Wednesday or Thursday (Feb. 27 or 28). There are a couple of subs in the making. Ideally, we would like for the bill to just be killed, period. But if there has to be a sub, the one that is going to be presented by Rep. Biskupski is the one that's closest to a compromise. So, if you haven't already, contact your Reps and encourage them to say NO to SB93. This would leave the law as it currently stands. If they do feel an amendment is necessary, encourage them to vote in favor of the sub to SB93 that's going to be introduced by Rep. Biskupski. :o)

Please help us in the fight to preserve women's rights to choose home birth! Senator Dayton and the Utah Medical Association are at it once again (some of you may remember my rant on this subject last year). SB93 is seeking to "regulate" the scope of practice of licensed direct-entry midwives here in Utah. The problem with the "regulation" is that it is so restrictive, it would essentially prevent 90% of the women who currently seek care by a licensed direct-entry midwife from doing so in the future. The definitions of "normal birth" in this bill are very broad, and just about anything short of the baby falling out of mom could mandate transfer of care. I'm not kidding, it's that extreme. Furthermore, the Utah Medical Association was supposed to meet with the midwives to draft a compromise bill after the original version passed the first committee in Senate. Meetings did take place, and compromises were reached. However, the UMA decided to go behind the midwives' backs by drafting a version of the compromise and rushing it through Senate that was, in fact, NOT the compromise reached between the two parties. Let me also mention at this point that there is a separate rules committee in place, through the Department of Professional Licensing, which handles decisions regarding the scope of practice of midwives. Regulations should be made through this committee, NOT by putting them in statute. As a matter of fact, when midwives in UT were first licensed (3 years ago), the UMA had a chance to send a representative to the meetings to help determine rules and regulations. This representative NEVER showed up to the meetings! Now they're trying to push their agenda through legislation. While I can understand that some people believe there should be regulation, going this route is NOT the way to do it. The midwives have shown that they are willing to negotiate and compromise, but apparently, that is not enough for the UMA. So, even if you wouldn't choose home birth for yourself, please consider the implications the passing of this bill would have for women in this State. If you feel so inclined, please email your House Representative and ask him/her to oppose SB93S1. See below the letter I wrote to my own Rep (the bill has, by now, passed through Senate, and is in the House). You can find your Rep by going to Votesmart and entering your ZIP. :o)
__________________________________________________________________

You may be aware already that SB93S1 may move from the Senate to the House soon. As one of your constituents, I would ask you to please OPPOSE SB93S1. When SB93 was first introduced in Senate this session, it was passed through the first committee with the stipulation that the Utah Medical Association and the Licensed Direct-Entry Midwives get together to work out a compromise bill. SB93S1 is this supposed compromise bill. Sadly, the UMA set up the bill in a way that does NOT reflect the compromises that were made with the LDEMs during meetings. Instead, it puts further restrictions on not just licensed midwives, but unlicensed midwives, as well (who were supposed to be left out of the original SB93). If you’d like to know the exact points why SB93S1 does NOT reflect the compromise worked out between the midwives and the UMA, I have listed them below.

Let me close by saying that SB93S1, as it stands now, would severely limit my choices in healthcare providers. I am a mother of soon-to-be four. I have a college degree; my husband is going to graduate from USU with a PhD this May. We are educated people, and we care intensely about our children. I have done extensive research on childbirth, its history, and the history of obstetrics. I have also done extensive research on the safety of home birth. While my first three children were born at the hospital, my husband and I have chosen home birth for our newest addition. We have only done so after lots of prayerful consideration. I have read the outcome reports for LDEMs in Utah for the last two years, and am satisfied that these midwives are well aware of their scope of practice. They know which clients they can and can’t safely care for, as well as when to transfer care to a physician. I would like to retain my freedom to choose the healthcare provider I feel can provide the best care for me and my baby. I do NOT need the UMA or the State of Utah to make these decisions for me. Again, I ask that you please OPPOSE SB93S1, as it currently stands. Thank you for your time.

6 comments:

Keith and Nicci said...

Here's mine:) Glad you brought that to my attention, because even if I never have a home birth, I don't like this regulation and what went on with it.

As one your constituents I am asking that you OPPOSE SB93S1, which may move to the House soon. This bill will severely limit my options in choosing a maternity healthcare provider. I had my first child naturally (no drugs, no interventions) in the hospital under the care of a very competent midwife. While my husband and I had a great experience, we look back and realize the experience may have been even better had we chosen to have our baby at home, with a hospital and doctors nearby had there been any problems. We would like to have that option in the future, as giving birth is OUR experience and it should be OUR choice as to what is best for OUR family. I hope you will oppose SB93S1, which would limit that choice because of the regulations it puts on midwives. Thank you for your time.

Doreen said...

Thanks Nicci. :o)

Jeannie said...

Wow, I hope it doesnt pass. I hate when legislators sneak things inot bills...

If it passes, will it mean you have to go to the hospital instead?

Doreen said...

It wouldn't affect me, since it wouldn't be put into law until after I'm due. I do have friends who would essentially be forced into the hospital, though, as they are due later this year (or planning on having more kids in the future). The thing that really bothers me is that there are other ways to regulate that are less "invasive" than putting something straight into law, that haven't been fully explored yet. In my opinion, that should happen first, you know?

Travis and Chandra said...

Doreen,

I'm sorry to hear that the bill passed. I am writing a comparative health law paper about regulation of midwifery in the U.S. and in the Netherlands. Do you know where I can access SB93 as it was passed? Or even as it was proposed?

Travis and Chandra said...

Doreen,

Never mind. I found it. And this is an old post, so you may not see my comment anyway.

Thanks and good luck.