Americans United for Separation of Church and State

Greater Phoenix Chapter

Old Home Home Contact Us Upcoming
Church State Issues Report Church State Violations Join
Email List
Email List
Membership Donations Request
Facebook Meetup Links Send Letter to Editor


Church State Issues

Senate bill pursues midwife restrictions

Feb 15, 2014

Arizona Republic

This article sounds like a thinly disguised religious bill to prevent woman from having abortions.

Personally I think that if you dislike abortions, or think that abortions are wrong YOU shouldn't have one.

Of course don't try that logic on the religious nut jobs in the Arizona legislator who think it is their job to use government to force their religious beliefs on the rest of us.

Senate bill pursues midwife restrictions

By Alia Beard Rau The Republic | Wed Feb 12, 2014 10:47 PM

Arizona midwives’ successful bid to allow more women to give birth at home may be overturned before it’s even implemented.

Licensed midwives, their clients and state health officials worked for more than a year to update state regulations. Starting in July, some women who had previously given birth via Caesarean section or whose baby was in a breach position prior to birth were to be allowed to give birth at home with the help of a midwife.

But Sen. Kelli Ward, R-Lake Havasu City and a physician, has introduced legislation banning licensed midwives from overseeing the deliveries of women who have had C-sections. Senate Bill 1157 also would forbid licensed midwives from overseeing the deliveries of women pregnant with multiple babies or whose babies are breach. [On the other hand maybe Sen. Kelli Ward who is also Doctor Kelli Ward wants to pass the bill to keep midwives from cutting into her business. Sadly most of the time government is about shovelling money to the special interest groups that helped you get into power, or shovelling money into your wallet]

The bill has an emergency clause, meaning it would go into effect immediately upon becoming law instead of the standard three months later.

Ward said she has concerns about the safety of allowing higher-risk deliveries at home.

“I’m a pro-life legislator. I see the mom and the baby as two separate entities,” Ward said. “I would love to preserve the choice of the mother for their home birth, but that child also needs to have a choice ... the choice not to die.”

The Senate Health and Human Services Committee passed the bill Wednesday. It now needs a vote of the full Senate before moving to the House. Because it’s an emergency provision, it requires the support of two-thirds of the House and Senate.

Arizona is one of 27 states to allow midwives to deliver babies. Midwives handle about 1 percent of births in Arizona.

During Wednesday’s committee hearing, Ward said she introduced the bill because of concern from the medical community. [Well that, and to prevent women from having abortions, and keeping midwives from cutting into her medical business]

“Infants born at home have more than a three-time risk of dying than infants born in a hospital,” she said.

She said under the bill, certified nurse midwives, who must have a master’s degree, would still be able to deliver these mothers’ babies. It would just restrict midwives licensed through the Arizona Department of Heath Services.

More than 150 people signed in against the bill at the hearing; 29 signed in support of the bill.

Tory Anderson, who spoke on behalf of the Rights for Home Birth consumer group, gave the health committee a petition signed by 1,500 people supporting allowing licensed midwives to serve those women.

“This bill will limit a mother’s personal heath-care choices,” she said. “Women and mothers are smart, informed and educated. We have a right to do our own research and make our own choices for our births.”

Dr. Nathan Lepp, a local neonatologist, testified in support of the bill, saying studies indicate there is a higher risk for babies born at home to have lower Apgar test scores — a standard medical exam to assess the health of newborns — and a higher risk of seizures shortly after birth.

“I appreciate women’s rights, but we also have to look at the interest of the child,” he said. “There is a long-term potential for neurological dysfunction.”

Elizabeth Morton, who gave birth to her son with the help of a midwife, said she knew the risks of home birth when she made her decision, but argued there are also risks with giving birth in a hospital. She said the state’s current rules do have restrictions to help mitigate those risks, including requiring that the woman have had only one C-section. The woman also must live within 25 miles of a hospital.

Marinah Farrell, a local midwife and president of the Midwives Alliance of North America, said that while consumers nationwide are asking for more access to midwives, state legislatures have begun trying to put more limits on them. She said statistics do not show hospital births are significantly safer than home births.

“A planned home birth for low-risk women with a licensed, credentialed midwife is proving to be safe,” she said.

The committee’s four Republicans supported the bill; the three Democrats opposed it.

“We have to ensure public health and safety is complete,” said Sen. Kimberly Yee, R-Phoenix.