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Letter to the Editor: Midwifery bill includes safeguards

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

To the editor:

Recent letters from Dr. Thomas Kelley and Dr. Scot Pringle demonstrate a lack of knowledge about what is being proposed in Senate Bill 637, which seeks to decriminalize and then license certified professional midwives in Missouri. I have spent thousands of hours working on the midwifery bill and find it offensive that someone would write about the bill without getting the facts.

Midwifery organizations have been careful to make sure this bill does not in any way release a midwife from accountability for her own actions. The bill states that only the midwife would be liable for her own negligent or willful or wanton acts or omissions. If SB 637 becomes law, it would be possible to prosecute sloppy, negligent or otherwise bad midwives. It would be possible for the state to revoke or suspend their licenses.

The bill would allow a midwife to have an apprentice working with her under direct supervision, just like physicians who are doing an internship. If it is wrong to allow students to practice their new skills under direct supervision, maybe we should do away with medical interns.

This bill seeks to make midwifery care available to those who want it while setting a safe state standard for good care.

As much as some physicians like to talk about the dangers of midwifery care, they cannot produce any good scientific studies that show it to be less safe than standard hospital care for healthy pregnant women.

MARY UELAND, Mansfield, Mo.