Chesapeake Family Magazine - The Push for More Homebirths - April 2012
Maryland Dept of Health Secretary Fran Phillips states she is against licensing Certified Professional Midwives a complete 180 from her testimony before Maryland legislators earlier in April 2012 at the Health Govt and Operations Committee Hearing. She states licensing CPMs would be "lowering quality expectations" and cites that because one local CPM had two tragic deaths last year as her reasoning for only using nurse-midwives. However, Sec Phillips failed to mention that our Maryland infant mortality rate is mostly affected by preterm birth in hospitals attended by doctors and that no provider in any setting doctor or midwife in hospitals, birth centers or homebirths are going to be free of tragedy. Unfortunately, even with the best skilled providers with decades of experience like this CPM has will have loss occur. Additionally, loss in homebirth does not only happen with CPMs but happens in the care of CNMs, too. It isn't always avoidable but homebirth midwives do have a much lower infant mortality rate than any hospital providers can boast. The vast majority of the hundreds of babies dying in Maryland each year die in Maryland hospitals and were not planning homebirths.
The ACNM testified before the legislators that they opposed only on the grounds that a MEAC accredited education wasn't required by the CPM bill but did not agree that CPMs should not be licensed as Melissa Garvey of the ACNM stated in this article. So ACNM, do you support CPM licensure or not? It's interesting that many CNMs are trained in CPM-owned and operated birth centers across this nation and that often CNMs have CPMs at their side helping with births at home.
Will Maryland go another 10 years with unlicensed underground midwifery? Will Fran Phillips ever get on board and work with the legislators and other groups to figure out how to license the midwives who are attending the majority of Maryland's homebirths? Most of us won't stop using CPMs despite whether they are legal or not so when will they make birth safer and license CPMs like 26 other states?