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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Jill McDonald Fairview Article

Choice must precede profit

I shouldn't be surprised that the Missouri State Medical Association is fighting midwifery legislation tooth-and-nail. I just find it hard to believe that a bunch of doctors can tell me that I don't have the right to choose who will attend me at the birth of my babies.
In Missouri I have the right to a home birth; I just don't have the right to choose a midwife who has been trained to know how to handle a normal birth and when to transfer the situation to a doctor. I can have the mechanic who lives down the street from me deliver my babies at home. I can decide to "go it alone" and hope for the best. The medical associations only want to make it a crime for me to use someone who represents herself as a trained professional or charges money for her services.

I think for all the MSMA's pandering to people's fears about birth gone wrong and the safety of mothers and babies, they are really worried about one thing: profit. Explain to me how the USA is 20-something in the rankings for birth outcomes when all the world's developed nations are compared? Don't we have the best obstetrical technology in the world? What does that say about our current system?

This is a matter of personal freedom. A powerful group is protecting their own interests at the cost of my freedom to choose what is best for my family. I don't feel I have the right to decide what is acceptable for others, but who is more qualified to choose what is right for me: myself or a well-paid lobby group? Forty other U.S. states have passed laws legalizing midwives that allow pregnant moms a range of options. Missouri women want this freedom, and they have been denied it for too long.

My four healthy, happy children were all born outside a hospital with the expert and attentive care of a midwife. We had a couple of minor complications, like a cord wrapped around the baby's neck and a stuck set of shoulders. In both instances, midwives knew exactly what to do. These occurrences are normal, and a midwife is trained to deal with normal birth. It's what midwives do.

Doctors provide excellent care for high-risk birth. I am glad they are there if I should need one. But I am healthy and low-risk and deserve a choice. I don't want to make everyone else have babies with a midwife. I just want to be able to choose it for myself. I want my three daughters free to choose when that time comes. More and more Missourians are realizing that this is not a safety issue. This is all about family freedom at stake.

If you think we should have this right in our state, let your representative and senator in Jefferson City know. Thank the governor for signing the recent midwifery legislation. Write to your local newspaper editor. Let your voice be heard about the lawsuit the MSMA has filed against the state of Missouri to challenge the new law.

Jill McDonald Fairview

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