Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Don't Let the Sun Set on Texas Midwives

Periodically, each administrative/regulatory agency in Texas undergoes what is known as "Sunset Review". During this process, the Sunset Commission decides if the agency undergoing review should continue in its current form, be changed, or discontinued. (The Texas Bar, for example, underwent Sunset Review last year, and emerged unscathed. But I'll let you draw your own conclusions.) This year, the Midwifery Board is up for Sunset Review.

Should the Midwifery Board be abolished, it would effectively mean the end of direct-entry midwifery care in Texas, and the ability of families to choose homebirths would be severerly curtailed or eliminated. Other bad things could happen, such as the MB being placed under the auspices of the Board of Nursing Examiners (BNE), which would give the Texas Medical Association (TMA) the power to review and rewrite the Midwifery Rules. It would also allow the TMA to require that Texas midwives have Physician back-up in order to practice. This plan worked great in California, where none of the 130 or so lisensed midwives were able to find a doctor who would supervise them. [sarcasm mode=off]

Note: this Sunset Review does not affect Certified Nurse-Midwives (CNMs) who are regulated by the BNE and primarily attend hospital births. It DOES affect all direct-entry Midwives (CPMs/DMs) who primarily attend homebirths and births at freestanding birth centers.

If you want to help ensure the future of Midwifery care in Texas, and the ability of
families to choose how and with whom to have their babies, I urge you to do the following:
  • Visit the Texans for Midwifery Sunset Review website at

  • Write a letter and send it to every member of the Sunset Commission as well as your local representatives.

  • Visit any members of the Commission who have offices in your area. Go in small groups. Call ahead and make an appointment, or just drop by. Take the letters you have written.

  • Join Texans for Midwifery - it's only $15, and every Texas Midwifery Consumer needs to be represented.

  • If you are from out-of-state (or out of the country), you can still help. Information for Out of State support is here. You can also make a donation to Texans for Midwifery.

The deadline for Consumer input is October 12, so there is no time to loose. Please make your voice heard!

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