SB84: Licensing Midwives and Increasing Birth Options in Kentucky
A Few Words from Mary Duke, LCCE:
“For many years, I have been a volunteer community Liaison and Steering Committee Member for the Kentucky Home Birth Coalition. For the last three years, we have planned a Lobby Day in our state Capitol to show our support for Midwives in Kentucky. It is a huge undertaking, but always worth the effort as we make an impact on our state legislators, encouraging them to increase birth options. I asked volunteer, Leacoln Bale, to guest blog in order to share the details of the upcoming lobby day. I hope that you will join us !”
The Kentucky Home Birth Coalition is a consumer led grass-roots organization working to license Certified Professional Midwives (CPM) in Kentucky, and they have begun 2019 full steam ahead. A bill (SB84) to license CPMs has been filed in the Kentucky State Senate for 2019.
In 1975, the state suddenly stopped issuing licenses to non-nurse midwives, leaving CPMs with no way to obtain the state-required permit that is needed to practice legally. Due to this conundrum, CPMs often operate “under the radar” and usually exercise great caution in making themselves widely available since they are practicing without the required state-issued permit. The goal of the Kentucky Home Birth Coalition is to see the state of Kentucky once again issue licenses to Certified Professional Midwives so that they can fully exercise their scope of practice in caring for women and babies.
On February 13th, the citizens who make up Kentucky Home Birth Coalition will once again convene in Frankfort for Lobby Day. It is our chance as citizens to present a large, united front to our legislators, and express the need for CPMs in personal meetings with as many legislators as possible in a single day. Through sharing personal experiences and expressions of support, we can discuss the need for increased access to Certified Professional Midwives throughout Kentucky.
It may sound like a stiff and intimidating event, but it is actually very family friendly! We really want you and your family to participate, so we have tried our best to simplify the process of attending. If you think you may be able to attend Lobby Day, please click this link and fill out the online form. From there, we will schedule a meeting with your Senator and Representative. Once the meetings are scheduled, we will email you the time at which your meetings will take place. All you have to do is show up at your scheduled time on Lobby Day. It is important to submit the form even if you are not absolutely sure you can make it that day. It is better to cancel an unneeded appointment than to try and secure a meeting at the last minute.
What To Expect
KHBC has already compiled detailed instructions on how to get to the Capitol, where to park, and how to get to the Annex building. These instructions can be found on their website, and they will be reposted on their social media outlets as Lobby Day approaches.
Upon arrival, KHBC supporters will gather in a designated room of the Capitol Annex Building. This room will serve as our “home base.” It’s a place you can hang out before, after, or between your meetings with legislators. We provide printouts of meeting times and talking points. It’s important to note that you will not be sent to meetings alone. A KHBC volunteer will always accompany you. Sometimes legislators may ask questions that you don’t know the answer to. That is okay! That is when the KHBC volunteer will step in. Your only job is to communicate why midwifery and home birth matters to you.
This is a family friendly event and we encourage you to bring your children. We try to organize childcare for at least part of the day, based on the needs of attendees. You are also more than welcome to take your children to meetings with you. You know your children best, and you know whether or not they will do well in meetings. After your meetings are over, you’re free to spend the day touring and learning about the Capitol. After all, advocacy and education go hand in hand!
Other Ways To Make An Impact
If you know you will be unable to attend Lobby Day, there are plenty of other ways to be involved. First, on Lobby Day we will hand deliver boxes of cookies to our Senators and Representatives. It’s a small act of kindness that leaves a lasting impression. We need 150 boxes to make sure everyone gets cookies! You can contribute by visiting this link to purchase at least one box of cookies for us to deliver. Feel free to purchase more than one box. A huge thank you to Boyce General Store for the baking and boxing of all these cookies!
Second, if you are a Doctor, Nurse, NP, CNM, PA, Chiropractor, or other medical professional, you can sign this petition in support of Certified Professional Midwives. If you are not a medical professional, please share the petition with any friends and family that are and ask them to sign it. Third, you can always meet with your Senator or Representative when they are back in your district. If traveling to Frankfort is not an option for you at this time, meeting at home is a great solution. You can message KHBC for a list of talking points and a KHBC liaison may even be able to accompany you to your meeting.
Finally, follow Kentucky Home Birth Coalition on social media. You can find them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. It’s the easiest way to stay up to date on all details as they unfold. KHBC also posts Calls to Action that you can do from home. Calls to Action usually consist of leaving daily messages of support on the Legislative Message Line, thanking and/or leaving positive messages on the social media pages of supportive legislators, or writing letters. Interacting with and sharing their posts help to spread the message in the most effortless way possible.
We strongly encourage you to participate in this event. A unified front of families leaves a lasting impression on the minds of our Senators and Representatives. Our supporters do a wonderful job of faithfully mailing letters and making phone calls to make sure this issue is heard. However, the sacrifice of taking off work, interrupting daily life, and traveling from all across the state to stand in unity on one day shows how determined we are to see our midwives licensed and practicing openly. We ask you to please join us in 2019.
About The Author
Leacoln Bale is a two-time home birth mother and has been a volunteer with the Kentucky Home Birth
Coalition for four years. She is a birth and breastfeeding advocate who is passionate about maternal