Petition to Support a Midwife and Midwifery Care

by Mrs. BWF on December 13, 2012

Daja, a long time BWF follower emailed me that her midwife is being wrongly persecuted and needs our help! Please sign this petition!

She writes…

She was arrested for “practicing medicine without a license.”  But, as you and I both know midwifery isn’t medicine!  She’s been safely supporting women in birth for 22 years.  This arrest was not the result of any bad outcome, no hospital transfers or injury to mother or child.  It’s simply the fact that the California Medical Board is cracking down on midwives and doulas in California.  It’s, unfortunately, happening all over.

Brenda, who has supported me in the births of six of my seven children. She is completely upfront with all her clients that she is not licensed.  She is a direct entry midwife, not a CNM.  She practices under the “religious exemption clause.”  Meaning, that all of her clients sign a statement that they are choosing to birth at home and employ her services for their own religious/philosophical reasons.  She has never misrepresented herself...

In addition, unlicensed midwifery is not a crime in California.  The California code only states that it is a crime to use the term “licensed midwife” if you are not licensed.  So, this case really has no legs.  However, there is a lot of money and power behind the California Medical Board.  Brenda is potentially facing a felony charge when she is arraigned on Dec.14.  Which just boggles the mind.  She’s 60 years old, a mother, grandmother, wife of a retired pastor.  I cannot imagine anyone less likely to face a felony!  In the twin birth on the BWF blog the mom called her “mother earth embodied” and such she is.  Gentle and kind and nurturing as anyone you’ll ever meet.

You can read the details of this case here: California Midwife Arrested.

This battle for birth freedom in California has been going on for decades.  In fact, my own mother went to court to defend her right to birth my brother and me at home.  (If you’re interested you can read that here: The Most Political Thing I’ve Ever Done.).

THANK YOU for spreading the word!  This petition isn’t just about Brenda (but of course that is hugely important to me personally, because she’s like my mother!), it’s also about the freedom for women to choose how they want to bring their children into the world.  It’s religious rights, women’s rights and parental rights.  Thanks for signing and sharing the petition:

 

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Vita December 13, 2012 at 12:26 pm

This is outrageous. I’ve heard a lot of bad things happening in California – they’re after chiropractors, homeopaths, colon hydro therapists, reflexologists and all other alternative health practitioners. I guess with the substandard care that you get from a regular doctor who is only concerned about money and lawsuits patients started leaving their care in thousands. They want their money now and try to destroy the competition.

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Dorothy Abdelaziz December 13, 2012 at 3:31 pm

Thank you for posting this letter and bringing this cause and petition to your readers. Daja is my daughter. I have been at all of her births. And I’m the mother Daja mentioned who 35 years ago fought for her right to birth her babies at home. It is sad that we have not come further. But, thank you for all you’re doing for women and their babies!

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Future midwife December 13, 2012 at 4:14 pm

There is licensure for Certified Professional Midwives in California. One (of the many) reasons they are cracking down is to increase the standard of care. For instance, with someone who is unlicensed you may not be able to tell what type of training (if any) they have received. Why does she not just take the NARM exam and become a CPM? If we intend to advance the profession it is vital that we all have a standard minimum of training. It sounds like she has the opportunity to get licensed (according to the Midwives Alliance of North America CPMs can even bill medicaid in CA) but is choosing not to.

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Daja December 14, 2012 at 11:39 am

There are many legitimate reasons for a midwife to intentionally choose to be unlicensed and for a mother (such as myself) to intentionally choose an unlicensed caregiver.

First of all, licensure does not necessarily equal compentency. I am a doula and have attended several births out of hospitals with midwives who I could never imagine choosing for myself. Incompetent doesn’t even touch it. Their birth philosophy was not one that respected birth as natural and beautiful. Instead, they managed birth and, in my opinion, caused some emotional trauma to the parents-to-be. Now, certainly this experience isn’t typical of midwives, but just to say that just because someone has a license hanging on their wall does not mean they are qualified.

Secondly, a licensed caregiver’s allegiance is not primarily to mother and child. In order to protect her license, doctor back-up and malpractice insurance, there are certain women she is not allowed to assist (twins, breech, over a certain age, obese, VBAC, etc.). This leaves some women in the position to choose major abdominal surgery or to birth unassisted at home (which by the way is not illegal, either!). But, an unlicensed midwife is free of any conflict of interest to act in the true best interest of mother and child.

Thirdly, unlicensed midwives offer a truly affordable option to uninsured or underinsured women. True, they cannot bill medicaid or insurance companies. But, they don’t need to! Because they don’t have licensing fees to pay and malpractice insurance to maintain, they can keep their rates affordable for all to pay out of pocket.

I have nothing against licensed midwives. They fill an important role for women in our system. But, so do unlicensed midwives. And women should be free to make the choice for themselves about what is best for themselves!

This case and this petition is not about whether you yourself would choose to have an unlicensed midwife attend your home birth. This is a case of whether or not we believe and protect the right of each woman to decide what is best for her! It’s about the right of each of us let our faith and conscience dictate our course rather than Big Brother!

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Brittany December 18, 2012 at 7:59 pm

Thank you for this comment. It is very informative.

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Kathleen Neely December 13, 2012 at 10:30 pm

I know Brenda personally, what a sweet lady, I had passed my birthing years when I met her, But I heard her praises from everyone that used her. She is just an amazing precious woman.

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Wendy December 17, 2012 at 7:52 pm

Yes, Future Midwife, she is choosing not to. Not to be restricted by the onerous demands and un-scientifically-based restrictions set on CPM’s by the state.

Being a CPM would mean she would be unable to attend many home births, no matter the health of baby or mother, for ridiculous reasons.

Twins?

Breech? VBAC? These situations would make it illegal for her to support the mothers. These mothers would then be forced to make a choice: a hospital where they don’t feel respected or safe, or unattended at home, which not many people are comfortable doing.

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steph bonadio December 19, 2012 at 7:34 am

this is happening to my midwife, too. she has legal battles going on in two states, maryland and delaware. it’s heartbreaking. and to future midwife, the doctors that push interventions and trick women into csections are licensed…a license means nothing to me. 30 years of experience in care that is focused solely on the mother and baby, and not hindered by a hospital’s rules or influenced by a bottom line are what a CPM means to me.

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Melissa July 17, 2013 at 5:38 pm

Do we know what happened with this case? I’d love an update!!

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