MMA Update

by admin on July 12, 2010

We are all still celebrating our incredible victory in New York State Legislature. We want to say again what a wonderful job you all did making your voices heard and helping get the Midwifery Modernization Act passed! It has been quiet for the past week as the midwives and consumer advocates organize for the final step, which is the governor signing the bill into law. We fully expect this will happen, given the overwhelming bipartisan support in both the Assembly and the Senate. However, the bill needs to land on his desk with a strong showing of support from the citizens of New York State.

We are predicting this will happen soon. When it does, we will be calling upon all of you to contact the governor by letter (snail mail or fax) when the moment is right.  It is a good idea to begin crafting a personal letter now, so that when you receive notice that the governor has the legislation on his desk we can flood his office with positive support for the bill.

This will be incredibly important because The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) continues to lobby against the best interest and health of New York State women and babies. That is, they are encouraging the governor NOT to sign.  It is important that we stay unified in our message and movement until the bill is signed into law.

When we arrive at the moment for sending letters, we will have some sample messages for you.  We are waiting to write those until we know exactly what the letters should say. As you begin to draft your letter, however, keep in mind the following things:

The MMA will effectively remove the Written Practice Agreement from the law, which will give New York State women and babies more access to midwives.

Midwives are highly educated, licensed and independent health care professionals who are obligated to collaborate with appropriate physicians when the need arises.

Midwifery care is cost effective and associated with better health outcomes for women and babies.

This bill does not cost the state of New York anything! (please consider highlighting this point for the governor who is probably overwhelmed by budget concerns).


In other related news, the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology has released a meta-analysis of planned home birth that erroneously claims that lower medical interventions in homebirths are linked to higher neo-natal mortality.

Numerous research-savvy professionals have already highlighted the many shortcomings of this analysis. Please check out this handful of critiques so that we can all be educated about the many flaws in this paper. If we as a community of birth advocates can understand the problems with this study, we can remain well informed about what the evidence actually shows, and can counter fear-based responses to the article.  Here are the links :
Science & Sensibility

Birth Sense

A Summary by Jennifer Block

The Big Push for Midwives- Press Release

ACNM’s Letter of Concern

Coalition for Improving Maternity Services- Press Release

CBC News Article


Be on the lookout for an action alert once the legislation hits the governor’s desk keep an eye out on facebook for news and updates.


Victory! We did it together!

by admin on July 1, 2010

SageAcross the state last night, the champagne flowed as women and their families celebrated the passage of the Midwifery Modernization Act!img_0190

Why did this bill pass during such a difficult time in New York State politics?  Because women – and those who love and support them – stood shoulder-to-shoulder with midwives despite formidable opponents, limited resources, and little time to get organized.

Together, women strategized, fundraised, spread the word, and gathered supporters.  The result was a truly grassroots effort that was able to stand up to established and powerful opponents.  Thanks to your time on the phone, writing IMG_7488e-mails, and sending faxes, legislators were able to learn the truth about the importance of birth choices for women.

Thanks to your efforts, women will continue to have access to midwives in New York.   Before this law was passed, many currently practicing midwives were in jeopardy – now they can continue to care for woimg_9984_0men.  In other areas of the state, midwives will now be able to practice, thanks to your hard work.   There are women pregnant today who will now receive the high quality prenatal care a midwive can provide, thanks to you.

Time to give thanks!

IMG_8645Please take a moment to thank your Senator and Assemblyperson for supporting the bill.   The Senate vote was unanimous, so please thank yours ASAP!  Check here for your Assemblyperson’s vote to see if they supported the bill.  Find your Assemblyperson here and your Senator here and thank them for supporting the Midwifery Modernization Act.

Watch for any last steps

This bill has now been passed by the Assembly and Senate and must go to the Governor’s desk to be sigHuck2ned.  If we need to contact the Governor’s office to encourage him to take action, we’ll let you know!

Keep this victory going

IMG_7464We’ve all learned so much about how to make an impact on the legislative process and the lives of women.  Keep up the good work!  Join your local BirthNet, tell the story of your amazing midwife-supported birth, and stay connected – there is still much to be done to ensure all women have a full range of birth options in New York State.

On a personal note – we cannot even begin to express our gratitude to each and every person who made a call, wrote a letter, or sent in faxes, all while juggling children, jobs, and day-to-day life.   Those of us at Free Our Midwives are filled with awe at the power of women and their families working together.  Thank you.


Will today be the day?

by admin on June 30, 2010

All of us here at Free Our Midwives spent yesterday glued to updates from Albany!  We continue to be amazed by your support – all of your updates have shaped strategy in Albany minute-by-minute.

What we’ve learned is that all of your calls, faxes, and e-mails continue to make a *huge* difference – we are getting closer to a vote on the Senate floor.

If the bill passes the Senate floor vote, all we’ll need to seal the deal is the Governor’s signature.

Now is the hard part – watching and waiting!  Here are a few ways to fill your time between times checking facebook to see if the bill has been put on the “active list” yet (which is when we know it will get called for a vote).

1. If you haven’t yet, call your Senator

Really, really – this is your last chance!  If you haven’t yet, call today.  We’ve gotten lots of questions about whether or not your legislator will know you’ve called.  Even once they are on the floor, Senators still get updates from their staffs on how many people have called in support or opposition to a bill, so pick up the phone.

Yesterday, members of the American Congress of Obstetrics and Gynecologists (ACOG) were faxing legislators  lists of doctors opposed to the MMA.  Let’s out number them today – call now!

Find your Senator here and call them:

Script: Hello, my name is ______ and I am a constituent.  I am calling/writing to urge the Senator to please vote for the Midwifery Modernization Act (A8117-B/S5007-B) when it comes to the floor.   It passed the assembly with overwhelming, bipartisan support yesterday.  Can you tell me the Senator’s position on this bill? The women and families of New York need this bill passed this session. Thank you so much!

Tell us, (via Facebook), what you find out.

2. Keep us company while we watch and wait – join us on Facebook

Last-minute legislative action can mean the need for last-minute activism.  Keep up with us today on Facebook – we’ll be sure you are the first to know about any action needed or progress the bill makes.  Be a part of the action here.

3. Join us in celebrating our newest wee activist

Lead Free Our Midwives organizer Hillary celebrated the passage of the MMA from the Assembly by having a baby last night!  Her beautiful baby girl was lovingly helped out by – who else? – a midwife.  Hillary has been a driving force behind the effort to pass the MMA, and she and her baby – and her midwife! – are an inspiration to all of us.  Welcome to the world, baby girl!  We hope that you have all the birth choices you want when your time comes.  (Check her out – she’s featured in the photo in today’s alert.)

4. Help Support Free Our Midwives

Please consider taking a moment and donating to Free Our Midwives/BirthNet of the Finger Lakes.  We are a small group of dedicated consumer volunteers.  All donations are used towards upkeep of this website, educational materials and outreach.  Thanks!


Is this your first visit to Free Our Midwives? You can learn more about our movement here and more about the Midwifery Modernization Act here.

Do you want to help make sure New York State women have access to the safe and quality care midwives provide? Subscribe for free updates here and we will keep you updated on how you can make a big difference.  Together we will get this legislation passed!