Friday, February 16, 2007

Midwifery Legislative Update

A lot going on. Let's get right to it.

Federal (US) - The Midwifery Care Access and Reimbursement Equity Act of 2007 (HR 864/S.507) would "amend title XVIII of the Social Security Act to provide for reimbursement of certified midwife services and to provide for more equitable reimbursement rates for certified nurse-midwife services."

Illinois - SB 385 would provide for the licensure of direct-entry midwives. I'm not hearing a lot of buzz about this one.

Indiana - A Midwifery Licensure Bill, HB 1238, is scheduled to be heard by the Committee on Public Health on Monday morning. Quick! Contact your legislator!

Missouri - SB 303 and HB 503 provide for the licensure of direct-entry midwifery. The bill defines "direct-entry midwife" as one licensed as a Certified Professional Midwife by NARM. Currently, the unlicensed practice of midwifery in Missouri is a felony.

North Dakota - SB 2377 was originally a bill making it a Class B Misdemeanor for a person to provide obstetrical services without a license; however it now appears to be a bill providing for a legislative council study "of the provision of obstetrical services by laypeople."

South Dakota - HB 1207, the bill to regulate direct-entry midwifery seems to be dead. HB 1267 would remove the requirement that Certified Nurse-Midwives have a written collaborative arrangement with a physician, which would in effect allow CNMs to attend homebirths.

Utah - SB 243 would amend Utah's Direct-Entry Midwife Act by defining what constitutes a “normal” pregnancy, labor and delivery; and clarify when consultation or transfer is required. Opponents of the bill say that the language is too restrictive, and would effectively end homebirth in the state for all but a handful of women. The Mommy Blawger thinks that legislators, the vast majority of whom have neither given birth nor delivered a baby, are not qualified to define "normal" birth by any stretch of the imagination.

Know of any legislation that I've missed? Shoot me a comment or an email.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Pork, Trademarks, and The Other White Milk

I admit I've been in a blogging funk lately. It's been a long, cold, January (o.k., I know I live in Texas but it's cold for here) and we've all been sick with two colds right in a row (except my husband, who escaped the sinus yuck but got himself food poisoning). Not to mention my 3 boys have birthdays 3 weeks apart from mid-January to early February. So I have some excuse. But today it was sunny and over 50 degrees outside, and Spring approaches...

While I was funking, I got scooped on The Lactivist/Pork Board brouhaha by my fellow blawgers. I mean, any story that contains the words "lawyer" and "breastmilk" has Mommy Blawger written all over it, so to speak. Don't ya think?

On to the story... The Lactivist runs a CafePress store where she sells t-shirts and bumper stickers and such with catchy lactivism phrases such as "Eat at Moms" and "The Other White Milk".


Seems that the National Pork Board, owner (or not?) of the trademark "The Other White Meat", is concerned about trademark infringement and dilution. They sent a nice long cease and desist letter to the Lactivist, who posts here and updates here. To make a long story short, The Lacitivst got lawyered up, all you bloggers and lactivists out there got really busy (Information Week described it as "National Pork Board Stumbles Into Hornet's Nest Of Bloggers"), Cafe Press pulled the slogan immediately so it was a non-issue anyway, and, most satisfactorily, the CEO of the Pork Board issued an apology. All in just three days. Whew.

Lactivist Amy Philo wrote an absolutely hilarious letter to the Pork people.

In addition to a ton of mommy bloggers (including former lawyer Andi Silverman of Momma Knows Breast), lawyers Denise Howell, Ann Bartow of the Feminist Law Professors, and Ted Frank of Overlawyered, all mentioned the situation, and Marty Schwimmer is responsible for the memorable phrase, "Don't send a demand letter to a blogger if the subject matter is breasts, as they make for good copy."

Kaimipono Wenger of Concuring Opinions summed it up best: "Overall, I can't say that this was a bad legal decision. Just a very bad business decision." No kidding.