Proposed House Bill 974 and Senate Bill 637 describe midwifery as a service and not, as Missouri statute holds, the practice of medicine. Under current law, helping women give birth at home without a Certified Nurse-Midwife license is a Class C felony. Missouri is one of eight states, along with the District of Columbia, that prohibit midwifery in the home.
So, with all these advances in technology, great physicians, and great hospitals, why does the U.S. still rank # 28 (near the bottom) of industrialized nations in infant mortality rates, while nations where midwives deliver most of the babies rank near the top?
Rep. Jeff Harris, D-Columbia, opposed Davis’ legislation in 2005 and plans to do so again this year. “Given all of the advances in technology, our great physicians, great training and great hospitals, physicians should be delivering babies, and babies should be delivered in hospitals,” Harris said. “It is the safest and best practice.”
**Updated** 1/10/06 to add this link: Midwifery in Missouri blog