Letter to the Editor

Time to license Missouri midwives

Sunday, April 20, 2008

To the editor:

It is high time that certified professional midwives be licensed in Missouri.

For the past 50 years, these highly skilled practitioners have been deemed felons. During the last 20 years, a small but mighty group has been at the Capitol daily, fighting for change.

Every spring begins with a bill to legalize midwives but ends with disappointment for homebirth families.

Our state leaders keep deciding that women cannot make their own decisions and should not have freedom over their own births. This is a public-health outrage, and it has gone on long enough.

It won't be long before I am having babies myself, and I should be able to find a homebirth midwife in the Yellow Pages.

Enough talk on safety already. The research is overwhelming. Midwives and homebirth are safe -- in fact, optimal. Read the certified professional midwives 2000 study in the BMJ, the journal of the British Medical Association. Rent "The Business of Being Born." Browse www.childbirthconnection.org. You'll soon see this isn't about safety. It's about power.

The power should not reside within the Capitol walls. The power should belong to Missouri people. I am a Missourian, and I am saying yes to midwives. I'm saying no to collaborative practice, and I'm saying no to the Board of Healing Arts as well. And I'm in good company. I wonder when my government, the public servants, will start listening.

There are four weeks left to license midwives this year, and it's time. It was time half a century ago.

HALLEY WATSON, Columbia, Mo.