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Midwives Now Have Right to Perform Abortions

Missouri Right to Life A memo from Missouri Right to Life:

The decision by the Missouri Supreme Court on Tuesday, June 24th brings back the pro-life issues of HB 818, which allows midwives to perform abortions.

“HB 818, passed during the 2007 legislative session, establishes the Missouri Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. Missouri Right to Life has no position on the main topic of this bill. However, HB 818, now upheld by the Missouri Supreme Court, contains a new provision, section 376.1753, that permits midwives to perform services that Missouri law has not previously allowed. Missouri Right to Life has no position on whether, in general, expanding midwives’ role in pregnancy and childbirth is appropriate. Unfortunately, because of the drafter’s choice of language in the amendment, including the use of a term that has been all but forgotten in the English language—“tocological”—the new provision can be exploited to allow abortions to be performed by non-physicians,” said Pam Fichter, President of Missouri Right to Life.

“Whatever the intent of the drafters and proponents of new sec. 376.1753, abortionists have been handed an unexpected gift in HB 818,” according to Fichter.

“Missouri Right to Life urges the Governor’s leadership in calling for a special session in September 2008 to run concurrent with the veto session to pass language to address the pro-life issues raised by HB 818,” said Pam Fichter.

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14 Comments

  1. Lisa says:

    The Missouri Medical Association would like you to believe this, but section 376.1753 of HB 818 does NOT authorize midwives to perform abortions. NOCA accredits many health care programs, and no ministerial or tocological certification program accredited by NOCA has within its scope of practice the necessary training and skills to perform abortions. Therefore, midwives certified as described in this section CANNOT perform abortions, as that falls outside their scope of practice. Senator Loudon, who drafted this section, is himself pro-life. He worked to make certain this language would not authorize abortions, and he succeeded.

  2. Dr. John says:

    The new law permits Certified Professional Midwives (CPMs), who specialize in of out-of-hospital maternity care, to deliver babies. It does not allow them to perform abortions.

    The CPM scope of practice is limited to caring for healthy women experiencing healthy pregnancies. CPMs do not prescribe medications, dispense birth control or “morning after” pills, and they most certainly do not do abortions. CPMs deliver babies. Period.

    Even if CPMs wanted to do abortions, the new law limits them to providing care authorized by federal Medicaid regulations, which specifically prohibit abortion. Moreover, CPMs follow the standards of practice of the National Association of Certified Professional Midwives, which, again, are limited to the care of healthy pregnant women and their babies and do NOT include or permit abortion.

    It’s important to consider the source of the misinformation about this law–it’s coming from “pro-choice” doctors’ groups. They’ve been spending millions of dollars nationwide to deny families access to safe and professional midwifery care and the choice to deliver their babies at home.

    Maternity care is a multi-billion dollar industry in the US, and these groups will stop at nothing to corner the market on it and force all pregnant women to deliver their babies in the hospital. In fact, just a few weeks ago, the American Medical Association passed a resolution in support of legislation to outlaw home birth.

    Last year these groups told us this law would allow crane operators to deliver babies. Now they’re telling us it will allow midwives to do abortions. Don’t believe it.

  3. MO Steve says:

    I’m so hopeful that Ms. Fichter and Missouri Right to Life haven’t been entirely bamboozled by the misinformation campaign launched by the coalition of physicians groups in the state. It’s unbelievable the resources these lawyers, administrators, and lobbyists have burned through while trying to fight the law in question.

    My family and I are *extremely* thankful that the Missouri Supreme Court has issued a ruling that declares Missouri families now have legal access to professional midwives to help deliver babies in the state.

    And while I really appreciate Ms. Fichter’s efforts to draw attention to the issue of Right to Life, the source of these false claims–which sinisterly claims that the new law will permit Certified Professional Midwives (CPMs) to perform abortions–is corrupted.

    Frankly, CPMs are not trained to do abortions, and abortion is not within their scope of practice. CPMs are about helping our mothers give birth to our precious babies, not about murder. If you really want to get down to the nub, abortions are performed by obstetricians, NOT by midwives.

    But I suppose nothing is beneath these physician groups. Last year, they were out there spreading fear and lies to their *own* doctors, telling them that the law would allow bricklayers and crane operators to deliver babies … I mean COME ON.

    The law may have some obscure language in there, but I’ve read that it makes it clear that CPMs are not certified to provide abortions by their certifying body, the North American Registry of Midwives, and the law dictates the midwives follow their national certifying body.

    Think about it: The Supreme Court determined that the physician groups that brought the suit to overturn the law lacked standing because their ONLY interest in the case was ECONOMIC … These people are willing to do anything to protect their own pocketbook and muddy the waters, and clearly this includes lies and fear-monger tactics.

    It doesn’t just make me sad, it makes me angry! Who *ARE* these people?!?!?! Who do they think they ARE???? Well, you won’t find me buying these docs’ manure, that’s for sure. Not today, not ever.

    Every midwife I’ve ever met is pro-life. I support Missouri Right to Life, but they should check its sources a little more carefully. Ms. Fichter, don’t drink the docs’ kool-aid!

  4. Halley Watson says:

    I am hugely disappointed in this memo from Missouri Right to Life. The information presented here is completely incorrect, and to spread this misinformation is deceitful.

    The Supreme Court’s decision DOES NOT give midwives the legal right to perform abortions. To assert so is to totally misunderstand what it is that a midwife does. Her role is in SUPPORTING normal pregnancy and birth, not ending pregnancies before the time of delivery! It is entirely outside her scope of practice. If a midwife was to perform an abortion, she would lose her certification and legal right to practice!

    Furthermore, the law in place STILL PROHIBITS any non-physicians from performing abortions. The law references the federal Medicaid code, therein allowing midwives to perform only the services covered by Medicaid — this does NOT include abortions.

    Please get your facts correct.

  5. Amber Walla says:

    Midwives are not trained to perform abortions nor is it in their scope of practice. Only Certified Professional Midwives are now legal. They must be certified with NARM. (National Association of Registered Midwives) NARM doesn’t train nor certify midwives to perform abortions. The idea that it is now legal for midwives to perform abortions at home is propaganda by the Missouri Medical Association. I am very disappointed that MO Right to Life has believed a lie from some of the very physicians who perform abortions!

  6. Jessica Henman says:

    I am so disappointed to hear that MRL has been misled with the rest of the public by the medical lobby. Tocological refers to the certification, not the practice of professional midwifery. Certified Professional midwives are affected specifically by HB 818. CPMs do not perform abortions. They are not trained to perform abortions and it is not within their scope of practice, so it would violate their certification. Because they are nurses and have full nursing license, certified nurse midwives could theoretically perform abortions, but not CPM’s. I agree that the Missouri legislature should carefully examine the licensing of CPM’s, to provide for the safest, most effective care for Missouri women. This legislation, if handled correctly, could provide improved access to quality, compassionate healthcare, improving outcomes for all women and babies. I am a student nurse-midwife, and plan to open a birth center in the very near future. If CPM’s remain legal with full scope of practice, I fully intend to work beside CPM’s to provide life-affirming care to women in our community. I am already friends with several CPM’s, and they are some of the most valiant protectors of life that I know. Please do not smear their reputations and bow to the medical elitists who are hoping to continue their monopoly on women in Missouri.

  7. Susan says:

    This is totally inaccurate. The bill does not allow midwives to perform abortions. This bill only allowed CPM’s (Certified Professional Midwives) to legally deliver babies in the State of Missouri. CPMs are not certified to provide abortions by their certifying body, the North American Registry of Midwives, and this statute is directly linked to CPMs certified scope of practice. I am pro-life, but am very disturbed that you would publish inaccurate information of this type. It is very misleading. It truly makes pro-lifers look uninformed and ignorant on this very important issue. BTW, don’t call me for any donations. I will not be donating to a group that reports misinformation and pushes for a veto session based on false information.

  8. Heather says:

    The Medicaid code used in this law does not cover abortions, therefore, they are not allowed under it in that fashion. Also, the law covers only Certified Professional Midwives, who are not trained or certified to, and DO NOT, perform abortions. I would ask that you research this more thoroughly and post a more educated article, before people get determined to overturn a law that many Missouri families have been working for for over TWENTY-FIVE YEARS. This is simply propaganda that has been being put out by those in Missouri’s medical establishment, due to a bad case of sour grapes, because Missouri’s families finally have the option to engage legal midwives to help them in pregnancy and childbirth.

  9. Lea says:

    I think MRL is all wrong about this. Their quote is from their president, not any legal official.

    They have quoted from an 1800’s book titled “Tokology” as their evidence that “tokology” includes abortion. If they had read the book instead of just the titles of the chapters, they would see that the word “abortion” in the 1800’s meant the same as what we call “miscarriage.” The chapter called “abortion” is all about how to prevent a miscarriage, not how to perform an abortion! And the author ends the chapter with a word about “induced abortion” and calls it a “diabolical deed” and declares that it is feticide. Please get a copy of the book and look for yourselves.

    MRL – it is the physicians in Missouri who DO abortions. Stop listening to their fear mongering as they try to turn us against each other!

    Midwives don’t do abortions.

  10. James says:

    The statute in question references the federal Medicaid statute to define what services the midwife may provide. Obviously Medicaid does not cover abortions. Therefore abortion is not allowed by this statute.

    Additionally, the midwives legalized by this statute are must practice within the standards of practice for their credential. The Certified Professional Midwife scope of practice does not include abortions.

    Just because a profession is legalized, does not mean they are legalized to do everything under the sun. There are limits to each profession. For example, chiropractors, dentists, podiatrists, and paramedics are legal in Missouri, but they are not legal to do abortions. The same is true of Certified Professional Midwives.

  11. Elizabeth Allemann, MD says:

    Certified Professional Midwives are now legal to provide prenatal, birth, and postpartum care. Since no CPM’s are trained to preform abortions and in no other state in which they legally practice do CPM’s preform abortions, I wonder if this is much ado about nothing. I am told that this is one of the last arguments that organized medicine (which represents the only legal providers of abortions in the state of Missouri) uses to frighten the public about midwifery: “Don’t legalize midwives or they will do abortions!” It makes people upset, and then it doesn’t happen.

    Seems like a waste of energy to worry about this when there is no precedent. Perhaps that’s what organized medicine wants–pro-life and pro-midwifery organizations fighting each other so they can keep doing whatever they want to women.

  12. Susan says:

    With all due respect, I must disagree with Pam Fichter and the writer of this blog on their misinterpretation of section 376.1753. This law does not simply authorize midwives to provide ANY “tocological” services, but is much more limited than that.
    Rather, the law permits a midwife who has been certified by an organization recognized by NOCA (a national agency that investigates and approves or disapproves certifiying organizations) to provide those tocological services that she is certified to provide by that organization. A person can only be certified to provide services within the recognized scope of practice for that person’s profession, the skills and procedures that were part of the professional’s educaiton. Thus, only those “tocological” services for which the midwife has been certified are covered by the law. Certified Professional Midwives are certified by an oganization called the North American Registry of Midwives (“NARM”) to practice within what are called the “core competencies” of midwifery — a specific and limited scope of practice recognized by the National Association of Certified Professional Midwives. That scope of practice does NOT include performing abortion. Thus, a CPM who provided abortion services would be acting OUTSIDE what this law has legalized – that is, tocological services as certified by a NOCA-recognized certifying agency — and could be found liable for the unauthorized practice of medicine.
    Similarly, Certified Nurse-Midwives and Certified Midwives are certified by the American Midwifery Certification Board to practice within the core competencies of midwifery practice that are recognized by the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM). Abortion is not within those core competencies, so this law would not permit CNMs or CMs to provide abortion services either.
    Missouri midwives fought for this law so that they could legally care for women who wanted to bring life into the world, not so that they could terminate pregnancies. It is unfortunate that MRL has listened to the false claims about this law that are being made by the Missouri State Medical Association (MSMA). MSMA has opposed this law all along — not because MSMA is pro-life but because it is anti-midwife.

  13. Emily Yoder says:

    I have been working in the prolife movement for the last 20 years. Currently my family takes a 2 hour (one way) trip each week to do sidewalk counseling at a KC abortion clinic where, most weeks, there is no other person who would be there to stand in the gap for these precious babies who are being killed. We also make it to an abortion clinic in Colombia as often as we can where no one goes to offer abortion bound women an alternative so far as we can find on a regular basis. I say this not to praise myself but to show that I do care about these babies being senselessly murdered in our country and state.
    This decision and law does NOT make it legal for midwives to perform abortions. It allows Certified Professional Midwives to practise legally what they have been trained and certified to do by their certifying body (NARM). Abortion is not included in their scope of practice and would therefore not be allowed. To say this is like saying that just because they can now legally do home births they can also do home C-sections, which is also outside the scope of a CPM’s practice and would be ridiculous even to consider. Please stop spreading this myth that could cause women to no longer have the choice to have a legal home birth and encourage those who really care about the unborn and call themselves pro-life to show it by being there when those babies are scheduled to die and loving those women enough to tell them the truth and offer them help.
    Thank you!

  14. Ruth P says:

    I am amazed at what I am reading here!
    I am extremely surprised that an organization with such credibility among united supporters of the right to life is reacting exactly as the MSMA and others against Godly, intelligent women and their families, desire.
    How could an organization that I have highly respected for many, many years fall for the misinformation and fear propagated by opponents of pro-life families and their carefully considered choice to BIRTH the babies they believe God has given them safely within the safety of their own homes?
    I have been involved in supporting the pro-life activity of pro-life families having a safe and healthy birth with the caregivers of their choice. Never has the idea of abortion or other inappropriate medical procedures even been suggested by either the caregivers or the families themselves.
    It is a sad, day for pro-life Missourians when our leading Pro-life organization appears to join forces with those who have among their members those who do not espouse the sanctity of human life. Is this a mixed message? What is driving this?
    Please prayerfully research and consider any further statements made on this subject before we become the laughing stock of the opponets of PRO-LIFE!

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