Making Mississippi Midwives Illegal

I was horrified to find out that a bill has passed the Mississippi House of Representatives, and was sent to the Senate, to make CNMs the only legal midwives in Mississippi. My state was one of the few that was “alegal” — there was no language specifically protecting or prohibiting non-nurse midwives.

While it’s too late to contact the Representatives (I emailed mine anyway), you can email the Senators and ask them to vote against it. Even if you’re not from Mississippi, I would still appreciate a show of support for CPMs from citizens of other states. There are almost no CNMs in Mississippi anyway — none that I know of in the top half, perhaps the top 2/3 of the state; when I had Seth, my midwife (a CPM) was from Tennessee — I don’t know how that might affect midwives crossing state lines. Currently, CPMs are illegal in Alabama, but some Tennessee CPMs have set up a “birth house” just over the border to accommodate women who don’t want to give birth in the hospital, but live close enough to the border to drive there in labor.

My mind is still reeling — I feel like I’m writing pretty scattered, here — hopefully you can find the coherent thought in it, though.

I have nothing against CNMs — I had a CNM attend the birth of my first baby. This isn’t some sort of turf war — just trying to keep alive the only form of midwifery available in my area.

Please share the word, too, if you will. Thanks!

Update: — I just noticed that some of the email addresses of the Senators are incorrect — two at least are misspelled (one “seante” and another “.us” instead of “.gov”), and one email address was listed as the same address for at least 3 different Senators. Sandra has commented below with a list of email addresses which appear to be correct, so you may want to use those instead. The first list is by district whereas Sandra’s list is alphabetical, so you should probably use one of the other and not both, in order to make sure you get them all.

2nd Update: — if you’re on facebook (and maybe even if you’re not), here is a post I wrote that I hope was a little more collected, outlining why I support home birth. It is what I used as the base for my email to the Senators (mostly changing the end from “please contact” to “please vote against this bill”). Feel free to pass it around and use what you want from it in your own emails if you wish. I don’t know if emails make more impact if they’re similar or if they’re all unique (probably the latter), but if you don’t have time to write a response of your own, I don’t mind if you use portions of what I’ve written and make it your own.

3rd Update: — if you’re on facebook, you can join this group to keep up with what’s going on. If you know of any other groups (large or small, official or unofficial) that are involved in defeating this bill, please let me know, so we can join forces.


9 Responses

  1. I just ran through the roster to pull out the names of the senators for Hinds County (my former district). I will be emailing them, as although I gave birth in Florida, I spent most of my pregnancy in Mississippi and was NOT impressed with the state of maternal healthcare there, even in Jackson!

    • Please make PHONE CALLS to your Mississippi State Senators. Legislators pay WAY more attention to phone calls — and generating lots of phone calls from constituents is the way to go. Get your family members, friends, church members, co-workers of family members — you don’t have to be a midwife or a client of a midwife to oppose this bill. You just have to be a citizen of Mississippi, and you have to make the phone call. The Big Push alert contains handy links to information about state senators and how to reach them. Let’s launch a huge effort to stop this in its tracks. After we defeat it, we’ll find out who was responsible.
      The fact that there are few actual midwives in MS is not really all that relevant — Wyoming is getting ready to pass a legalization and licensure bill and it has only ONE CPM in the entire state. This is an issue for consumers — do you want to have access to legal midwives or do you want to keep having to drive to Tennessee or find an underground midwife in your own state? Why should you, a citizen of Mississippi and the United States, not have access to legal, licensed, regulated midwives who offer a variety of services — CNMs for hospital, CPMs for home, both for birth centers — whom you know are regulated by a state board that ensures that someone who calls herself a midwife really is one and is certified and a safe practitioner? Aren’t you just as entitled to that as your sisters in Tennessee?
      Consumers are winning the day in Wyoming and are carrying the ball in your neighbor state of Alabama. Consumer in Mississippi who want to have this choice have the right, the opportunity, and the responsibility to take action now. Make your phone calls, but also consider getting a bunch together to go up to Jackson to tell the Senate you do not want midwives to be made inaccessible.

  2. Members of the Public Health and Welfare Committee in the MS State Senate: Hob Bryan, Chairman; Alan Nunnelee, Vice-Chairman. Members: Terry C. Burton; Eugene S. Clarke; Bob M. Dearing; Joey Fillingane; Hillman Terome Frazier; Billy Hewes; W. Briggs Hopson III; John Horhn; Cindy Hyde-Smith; Gary Jackson; Kenneth Wayne Jones; Tom King; Chris McDaniel; Nolan Mettetal; Willie Simmons; Bennie L. Turner; Lee Yancey.
    get their email addresses here:

  3. Kathy, is there a way to email the senators en masse, rather than individually? Let me know what you think!

    • Diana,

      What I’ve done is emailed 5 or so in a group, copying and pasting each individual address into the “to” line. I was afraid to do more, for fear that their email provider would register a mass email as spam. The good news is, there are only 52 Senators, so it doesn’t take very long. I did about half last night before going to bed, and am going to do the rest now. Will follow up with phone calls today.

      I don’t know about non-residents — presumably, they’re just trying to limit the out-of-state influence in state matters, but you might try to call and see what happens. Not saying you would want to lie, but if they don’t ask where you’re from, you don’t have to tell them. 🙂

      Also, see Sandra’s comment — she put in all of the Senate’s email addresses into a comment, so you can click to automatically open an email message to that Senator. See also MrsW’s comment, with members of the committee who are dealing with this. Just fwiw, I know that Alan Nunnelee (R), the Vice-Chairman, is running against our current US Representative (D) this year, in case that info helps.

  4. P.S. All the stuff I’ve seen just says “please have Mississippi residents call” – is there anywhere non-Mississippi residents can call?

  5. It won’t help for non-Mississippi residents to call–legislators care most about what their constituents have to say. Calls from out of state, and even from outside of their district in Mississippi, are going to be considered harassment more than anything else.

    The best thing non-Mississippi residents can do is to keep spreading the word online and encouraging everyone in the state to call their Senators.

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