Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Missouri families and midwives lose in court today...

I haven't talked much on this blog about our work here in Missouri to legalize midwives. I find that rather strange, as it is such a big part of our life right now. Anyway... if the following announcement raises questions for you, feel free to ask.

Cole County Judge Patricia Joyce ruled against the midwifery provision contained in HB818 today. Her final judgment in the case says that the midwifery provision is unconstitutional because it does not relate to the underlying purpose and subject of the bill - expanding health insurance coverage.

She doesn't write favorably of the practice of Certified Professional Midwives, saying:"The midwife provision broadly authorizes certain unregulated persons to provide pregnancy services without limitation," Joyce wrote. "Since the midwife provision does not relate to health insurance, and is therefore not encompassed within the title for House Bill 818, the title "relating to health insurance" is underinclusive."

Seeing some of Judge Joyce's descriptions and choices of words, one attorney reading through her judgment today commented, "It looks like she let the plaintiffs write her judgment for her and then she signed her name at the bottom." Not exactly, but her judgment seems to have a smidgen of her personal dislike for the midwifery issue showing through. We had heard some things through the rumor mill about her personal opinions on the matter, but hoped that she would review the constitutional issues in an unbiased manner in spite of her personal opinions and preconceived ideas about midwives. Her decision is disappointing, but not entirely surprising.

HOWEVER, this is not the final verdict! We intend to appeal to the Missouri Supreme Court and we feel hopeful for a eventual favorable outcome there. The MO Supreme Court has a strong precedent in recent cases of upholding whatever the legislature passes and saying, "We are not here to make laws. If the legislature passed it, and the Governor signed it, it should probably not be thrown out by us."
We have 30 days before we can file papers to appeal to the Missouri Supreme Court. During that time, we MUST raise money to cover our legal fees to continue fighting this battle as it makes it way through the court system.

If you have not already contributed to our legal expenses fund, I hope that you will consider doing so today. If you have considered it, but are financially challenged right now, I hope you will consider how you can raise some money or solicit donations, whether through a dinner party, a garage sale, a bake sale, or sending letters to your friends. Feel free to forward this email on to your friends.

All contributions should be made online at: FreeTheMidwives
Or mailed to:
Free the Midwives
PO Box 2319
Rolla, MO 65402
Contributions are not tax-deductible.

Lastly, there is a great need for the homebirth families of Missouri to speak up about this and how Judge Joyce's ruling will negatively affect their families and their access to quality, affordable healthcare. Send letters to the editor, talk to the media, blog.... Remind people that this was all about organized medicine, mad that they lost the battle in the legislature, now attempting to regain their turf and reclaim the pregnant women that they consider "their patients" in the court system.

Please go here and here and add some comments to the blog posts above about the midwifery ruling, including the statement issued by Senator Chuck Graham. I hope some of the pro-choice feminists that he claims to represent and who's life and health he claims to care so much about protecting, call him out on his statement!

Thank you, and let's keep up the fight! Never, never, ever give up!
Mary Ueland

Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up. - Thomas Edison

The only sure bulwark of continuing liberty is a government strong enough to protect the interests of the people, and a people strong enough and well enough informed to maintain its sovereign control over the government. - Franklin D Roosevelt

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