On June 24, 2008, the Missouri Supreme Court handed down their ruling that Certified Professional Midwives would indeed remain legal. After almost fifty years of being felons, Midwives were finally free! What a day!! Around the state, families were laughing, crying and squealing with delight for their hard-won victory. I still remember receiving the news and jumping around, then calling everyone I knew to spread the word.
I also remember the years before when women would call me, looking for a midwife, and not being able to tell them anything. I remember not talking about our births in public or with anyone who wasn’t deemed “safe”. My midwife with one of my sons was given a false name, even to my children. Once, someone mistakenly called me a midwife and I felt it necessary to quickly (and loudly) correct them. Families utilizing midwives had to protect not only the midwife, but themselves as well. Many felt like they were on pins and needles until after the birth when they could safely announce what they’d done.
Today, only 3 years after that ruling, we have midwives with websites, ads in the yellow pages and pages on Facebook. Families desiring a midwife can simply ask a friend, google “midwife in Missouri”, or call up their local FoMM coordinator. We can speak openly about our wonderful care givers, give recommendations and get reimbursed for our costs.
Many, many people worked tirelessly to achieve this goal. Even more people contributed small slots of time, energy and money to keep the efforts going. We have one of the most successful grassroots movements EVER! Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU to the wonderful concerned citizens in Missouri who helped change an unjust law and provide legal access to safe, competent care givers. WooHoo!
Today, on the anniversary of that victory, I send out letters to my legislators reminding them of the sacrifices made by many to achieve something they felt so passionately about. I want them to remember (or realize, if they weren’t in office) the throngs of midwives, mamas, papas and kids who visited over the years and made their votes really count. I want them to know how vitally important this issue is and how we won’t go away!
Happy “Midwives are Free, Not Felons” Day!!!
**If you would like to write your legislator about this historic day, click here to look him/her up.**