Sunday, November 8, 2009

FFOM Hosts Maternal Health Weekend in Sarasota

Last weekend, Florida Friends of Midwives sponsored and co-sponsored several events aimed at improving maternal health care locally and throughout the country. Headlining the weekend was Sunday afternoon's panel discussion Maternal Health Care in the 21st Century: Sarasota and Beyond. Present for this and all other events was the world's leading midwife, Ina May Gaskin.

Ms. Gaskin began her visit to Sarasota with a Clinical Conference for the medical staff of Sarasota Memorial Hospital (SMH) on Friday, October 30. Her presentation was entitled "Combining the Best of Modern Obstetrics with Respect for Nature and Traditional Midwifery Approaches." Her objectives were threefold: to explore the knowledge base and skills common to traditional midwifery; to understand the need for both modern obstetrics and (authentic) midwifery; and to build positive relationships between the two professions (especially with regard to home birth midwives). Present at the conference were SMH Director of Maternal-Fetal Medicine Dr. Washington Hill; Sarasota County Health Department OB/GYN Dr. John Abu; Licensed Midwives Christina Holmes and Alina Vogelhut; and several members of the hospital staff and the community, including childbirth educators, nurses and retired physicians. The presentation will be available via podcast on the SMH Continuing Education website.

Friday afternoon found Ina May Gaskin touring both of Sarasota's freestanding birth centers (Birthways Family Birth Center and Rosemary Birthing Home), and having lunch with Sonia Pressman Fuentes, the co-founder of the National Organization for Women (NOW). Two of the most influential women in recent American history, the pair discussed the shift in birth culture in the last half century, the difference between American governmental structure and that of most European countries with better maternal outcomes, and the role of the feminist movement in changing the American perception of birth.

Saturday morning, October 31, Ina May Gaskin presented the Safe Motherhood Quilt Project at the Selby Public Library. Ms. Gaskin spoke to Sarasota's SNN News Channel 6 before the presentation, saying "In 2007, the World Health Organization reported that there are forty other countries that do better at preventing maternal death than the United States." Three panels of the quilt were shown in the library's Geldbart Auditorium, after having been hung from the atrium balcony during the week prior. These three panels contained 58 squares, each representing a woman who has died of pregnancy or childbirth related causes in America since 1982. Ms. Gaskin argues that simple measures such as a unified federal death certificate and an increase in percentage of hospital autopsies would dramatically improve U.S. maternal outcomes. The presentation was followed by a booksigning benefiting the project, as well as Florida Friends of Midwives (FFOM), a non-profit grassroots organization dedicated to promoting and preserving access to midwifery care in Florida. Ms. Gaskin signed copies of her classic Spiritual Midwifery, the gold standard prenatal education book Ina May's Guide to Childbirth, and her newest release, Ina May's Guide to Breastfeeding, said by Dr. Christiane Northrup to be "the best thing ever written on the subject."

Sunday afternoon at 3:00 pm, Ina May Gaskin met in the Hyatt Regency Sarasota Ballroom with Dr. Washington Hill once more, as well as Sarasota Healthy Start Coalition executive director Jennifer Highland and Representative Keith Fitzgerald, for a panel discussion called Maternal Health Care in the 21st Century: Sarasota and Beyond. The discussion was moderated by Sarasota Vice Mayor Kelly Kirschner, who shared his perspective as a City Commissioner that improved maternal health is a formula of community growth.
The panel was a free program which included refreshments and a 28 page Maternal Health Resource Guide, all made possible by the hard work of the sponsoring organizations and the generosity of several business partners. Approximately 250-275 people attended the discussion, including several guests of expertise in the field of maternal health and associated disciplines.
Dr. Washington Hill was the first to speak, pointing to a collaborative model of care as the standard for positive outcomes, and encouraging open communication between the many components of maternal health care and its providers.
Ina May Gaskin followed, discussing maternal death, its possible prevention and ways to move toward accurate recordkeeping, and the importance of prenatal health. She illustrated strategies in other countries with much better outcomes than ours, such as the Netherlands, which provides its new pregnant women with paid postpartum care.
Jennifer Highland, executive director of the Healthy Start Coalition of Sarasota County, then presented a staggering display of statistics illustrating Sarasota's place in Florida and the rest of the country in categories such as infant death, fetal death, smoking during pregnancy, breastfeeding rates and more. Jennifer suggested that Sarasota County's high cesarean section percentage be closely examined and reversed to improve preterm birth rates and NICU admissions, and that prenatal health be a priority of all parties involved.
Finally, Florida House of Representatives Health and Family Services Policy Council member Rep. Keith Fitzgerald gave the audience a history of health insurance, an overview of health care reform issues, and a call to action. When talking about the frequency of special interest groups' appointments with him and his colleagues, Fitzgerald asked: "Where are you?"

Questions were then taken from audience members, who asked about tort reform, individual OB/GYN's c-section rates, and women's intuition--among many other things.

After the panel discsussion, Florida Friends of Midwives (FFOM) hosted the tribute An Evening with Ina May Gaskin in the Boathouse of the Hyatt Regency Sarasota. Guests received keepsake tickets, signed a book of gratitude for Ms. Gaskin, and viewed a tribute DVD of her work and its manifestation through the midwives and midwife-assisted births here in Sarasota. Special thanks to Radio-Free Carmela and the Transmitters and Tanya Radtke for providing music for the evening. Net proceeds of approximately $2500 will help FFOM in their strategy to protect Florida's midwives and their laws, and to improve public awareness of the Midwives Model of Care.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Safe Motherhood Quilt Project in Sarasota This Week

Beginning today, three panels of The Safe Motherhood Quilt Project are on display at the Selby Public Library. The Safe Motherhood Quilt Project is a national effort developed to draw public attention to the current maternal death rates in the United States, as well as to the gross underreporting of maternal deaths, and to honor women who have died of pregnancy-related causes. The three panels currently on display in Sarasota represent 58 mothers who have died of pregnancy or childbirth related causes in the US since 1982. There are several other panels throughout the country just like them.

Project founder and world's leading midwife Ina May Gaskin will be presenting these panels on Saturday, October 31st, at 11:00 am. Following her presentation she will sign copies of all three of her books (Spiritual Midwifery, Ina May's Guide to Childbirth, and Ina May's Guide to Breastfeeding), in benefit for Florida Friends of Midwives and The Safe Motherhood Quilt Project.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

News from the MAMA Campaign

Florida Friends of Midwives endorses the MAMA Campaign. Please read this update, including an incredible list of accomplishments in just a few short months.

What a summer this has been for Midwives and Mothers in Washington, DC! Now, as the health care bills pick up speed in Congress this fall, we need your support and your dollars more than ever. Billy Wynne, our lobbyist, wrote to us this past week: “You should feel very good about the massive education campaign you’ve undertaken and the broad support you’ve gained …now it’s crunch time!”

Just since May, the MAMA Campaign has accomplished a lot by acting quickly and effectively.
We have:

  • Drafted an amendment to recognize and reimburse CPMs in Medicaid
  • Hired a national health policy and lobbying firm to guide our advocacy work in DC
  • Held a “fly-in” of more than twenty MAMA activists to Washington, DC, in June who met with over 30 key congress members
  • Traveled to DC nearly every week since then and followed up with supporters to keep the pressure up
  • Prepared a cost-analysis based on Medicaid data from a health policy study in Washington State that was submitted to the Congressional Budget Office on our behalf by Chairman Waxman’s office
  • Met with 8 top Medicaid officials in Baltimore in July, an unusual opportunity for a provider group new to Capitol Hill
  • Monitored and adjusted our strategy weekly as the proposed legislation twists and turns through Congress
  • Secured the support of important national groups: Childbirth Connection, the National Women’s Law Center, the National Women’s Health Network, Raising Women’s Voices, Our Bodies Ourselves, the Coalition for Improving Maternity Services, American Association of Birth Centers, and state midwifery and consumer groups
And we have continued to manage the campaign using the pro-bono skills and expertise of top leadership in six national midwifery and citizen organizations as well as activated superb grassroots support across the country.

Over these next weeks we will continue to have opportunities to include Certified Professional Midwives in the health care bills. However, the time is growing short and we really need your help. As Billy says, it’s crunch time!

Every step of the way you have stood behind us. Thank you! Together we have raised $100,000 for the Campaign this summer – 2/3 of our goal and a truly stunning fundraising coup for our movement! We are so grateful to you!!

Now we need your help to get across the finish line!
Will you give $10, $25, $50 or even $100 to continue our work for federal recognition of CPMs? Just click to donate.

Will you help us identify potential major donors? Write to with ideas.

And of course, be sure to keep the letters to your legislators coming – we need that “dull roar” from the states and districts to move our provision over the top! Constituents are the ones that legislators are listening to. That’s you! Find letter templates and instructions on our website.

Thank you so much! We look for to hearing from you!

Mary Lawlor, CPM
President, NACPM
National Co-Chair, MAMA Campaign

Susan Hodges
President, Citizens for Midwifery
National Co-Chair, MAMA Campaign

Florida Celebrates Licensed Midwives Week October 5-9

Governor Charlie Crist has signed a proclamation observing October 5 through the 9 as Licensed Midwives Week in the State of Florida, upholding midwives for being “dedicated to the care of pregnancy and childbirth and treat[ing] each woman’s pregnancy according to her unique physical and personal needs.” Governor Crist’s proclamation also recognized midwives for their role in the need to “improve birth outcomes in the State of Florida and ensure that women are given proper care and treatment in all phases of childbirth.”

In honor of this week, Florida Friends of Midwives (FFOM), a non-profit grassroots organization dedicated to promoting and supporting the practice of midwifery in Florida, will be hosting various community events throughout the state this month to celebrate the more than 110 Licensed Midwives in the Sunshine State.

Florida Licensed Midwives Week coincides with National Midwifery Week, a time to recognize the contributions of Certified Nurse Midwives (CNMs), Certified Midwives (CMs) and Certified Professional Midwives (CPMs) nationwide. The American College of Nurse Midwives (ACNM) publicly announced the week with an introduction to midwifery. “The heart of midwifery care for women and newborns lies more in the nature of that care than in its specific components. Midwifery practice has a firm foundation in the critical thought process and is focused on the prevention of disease and the promotion of health, taking the best from the disciplines of midwifery, nursing, public health and medicine to provide safe, holistic care.”

Midwives have a long and valued history in Florida. The state first passed legislation to license direct-entry midwives in 1931. In the 77 years since, Florida’s licensed midwives have continued to tirelessly serve the families of Florida and to ensure the continued availability of safe, evidence-based birthing options for Florida’s families. In 1992, Governor Lawton Chiles declared the first-ever Licensed Midwives Week. More women than ever before are seeking out licensed midwives for maternity care. According to the latest data from the Florida Council of Licensed Midwifery, births managed by Licensed Midwives in the state grew by about 5.5% from 2005 to 2006.

“We are honored every day to serve Florida’s mothers, babies, and families,” says Sarasota Licensed Midwife Alina Vogelhut, LM. “It means so much for our profession to be honored by Governor Charlie Crist and the State of Florida.”

Midwifery in Florida

In Florida, two types of midwives are allowed to practice: Certified Nurse-Midwives and Licensed Midwives (a Florida state licensure), also known as direct-entry midwives. Throughout the state, about 11.2 percent of births are estimated to be managed by midwives, rather than by OB-GYNs. Many birth centers and midwives have reported a significant increase in business in the past year. This increase is believed to be a result of various factors, primarily a greater number of women seeking alternative birthing choices due to an unhealthy increase in caesarean sections and other unnecessary interventions that frequently occur in hospital settings. In a 2006 report on Florida Licensed Midwives, midwives had a caesarean section rate of 6.3 percent compared to a 36.64 percent statewide average in hospitals the same year.

For more information of midwifery in Florida, please visit

About Florida Friends of Midwives

Florida Friends of Midwives is a non-profit grassroots organization dedicated to promoting the Midwives Model of Care and supporting the practice of midwifery in Florida. Florida Friends of Midwives was formed to support midwives who offer safe, cost-effective, evidence based care to Florida's families. For more information, please visit

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Announcing: Commonsense Childbirth School of Midwifery

(from Executive Director Jennie Joseph, LM, CPM)

Thank you for your interest in Florida's newly licensed direct-entry midwifery program. I am proud to offer the Three-year Midwifery Program and the Four Month Pre-licensure Program for foreign-trained midwives only (midwives licensed/certified in another country).

Both programs will lead to a Diploma in Midwifery and, after passing the NARM (North American Registry of Midwives) exam, an opportunity to become a Florida Licensed Midwife (LM) affording practice in Florida under Chapter 467 FS and the ability to provide prenatal. labor and delivery and postpartum services for Florida families. Candidates may also apply for the nationally accredited credential Certified Professional Midwife (CPM) after passing the NARM.

I am excited to be able to direct a midwifery school (for the second time) and look forward to bringing a unique approach to midwifery education.My focus will be on the clinical aspects of midwifery training and I will apply my international and individual experiences to a very strong and clinically sound format.

I welcome the renowned Justine Clegg MS, LM, CPM as our Academic Director. Justine is a Florida Licensed Midwife and Licensed Mental Health Counselor. Involved in maternal and child health since 1973 as a La Leche League leader, childbirth educator, founding member of the Midwives Association of Florida, homebirth midwife and political activist, she earned her M.S. in counseling in 1991 and has served as Director of the Midwifery Program at Miami Dade College since 1994. She was a founding Board member of MEAC (Midwifery Education Accreditation Council) and helped develop the NARM (North American Registry of Midwives) certification process, as well as being the current Board Secretary of the Association of Midwifery Educators. She will join me in presenting an academic program crafted to produce confident, accomplished midwives, ready and able to serve their community with heart and passion.

As we begin classes in January 2010 we will be operating under the initial Provisional License # 4052 as issued by Florida Department of Education. Please note: we have been informed that we cannot start the 'distance learning' component of our program until we have completed the first year. At that time we will need to re-apply to the state of Florida for the ability to add 'distance learning'. After one year the state will issue our 'full' license. To that end we will proceed in January 2010 with an ON-SITE PROGRAM only.

Classes will be held on Fridays at 1150 E. Plant St. Winter Garden. I will only be seating a very small class initially with a view to expanding the following year. Tuition for the Three-year Program is $19,320 and $5,250 for the Four Month Program. Our upcoming Orientation is scheduled for October 9, 2009 at The Birth Place, Winter Garden. Please email for more details or to rsvp.

Thank you!

Jennie Joseph LM, CPM
Executive Director

Monday, September 28, 2009

A Letter from the MAMA Campaign

Dear Florida Supporters of Midwifery--

As Florida constituents you all are in a unique and special position to help encourage federal recognition of CPMs by helping The MAMA Campaign.

The MAMA Campaign is an effort by six national organizations to include CPMs as Medicaid providers in the evolving healthcare reform legislation currently under consideration. Visit for more information about the campaign and to signup for news and alerts.

This week, the MAMA Campaign is trying to get letters from constituents sent to the offices of Senator Nelson and/or Congresswoman Kathy Castor of the 11th district in Florida. Anyone who lives in Florida can write as a constituent to Senator Nelson. We only need people who are constituent’s of Congresswoman Kathy Castor to write to her. To find out if you or someone you know lives in Castor’s Tampa Bay area district, visit

Congresswoman Castor is on the House Energy and Commerce committee and Senator Nelson sits on the Senate Finance Committee. These committees will make decisions about changes to Medicaid in the current health care reform efforts, including whether or not CPMs will be added to the list of approved Medicaid providers. Hence, as Floridians, you are in a special position to help influence these critical legislators. This inclusion of CPMS as federal Medicaid providers would be an important step in increasing access to CPMs across the country.

Both Congresswoman Kathy Castor and Senator Bill Nelson have indicated some support for our amendment. But ours is only one of many potential amendments to the health care bills, all demanding their attention. We need you to write a letter of encouragement to Senator Nelson and/or Congresswoman Castor, telling them to take action on this issue.

Please forward this letter writing request to other Floridians who support midwifery. If you have clients, friends, relatives or ANYONE who is a constituent who will write a letter to Representative Castor and/or Senator Nelson please ask them to do so. It is important to send letters as soon as possible! These personal letters from constituents are critical and make a huge impact. Please write and fax or email a short letter TODAY!


1. Handwritten or typed letters may be faxed to the number provided below.

2. Please fax your letter to the legislator’s Washington, D.C. office. This is the best way to get the letters to them quickly and effectively. If you are unable to send a fax, the next best thing is to send your letter by using the legislator’s web-based e-mail form. If you would like to help but can’t fax a letter, or send an email, a phone call to their Washington, D.C. office, is also helpful.

Rep. Kathy Castor (FL-11th)(Tampa): Visit to see if you are a constituent.

DC Fax: (202)225-5652
DC Phone: 202-225-3376
Web Email Form:

Sen. Bill Nelson (FL)
DC Fax: 202-228-2183
DC Phone: 202-224-5274
Web Email:

3. Please include the following crucial language in your letter; this is what you are asking your legislator to do:

FOR REP. CASTOR: "I am a constituent and I ask that the Congresswoman support efforts to improve the maternity care system by adding Certified Professional Midwives to the list of providers covered by Medicaid. Will Congresswoman Castor raise this issue with Energy & Commerce Chairman Henry Waxman as a priority for her, to see if we can get this important provision in the final House bill? It’s so crucial that we expand access to maternity care as a component of health reform.”

FOR SEN. NELSON "I am a constituent and I ask that the Senator support efforts to improve the maternity care system by adding Certified Professional Midwives to the list of providers covered by Medicaid. Will Senator Nelson please raise this issue with Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus as a priority for him, to see if we can get this important provision in the final Senate bill? It’s so crucial that we expand access to maternity care as a component of health reform.”

4. A short letter is sufficient. But, if you wish to write an expanded, more personalized letter, at the end of this document are a list of talking points to help you explain why Senator Nelson or Representative Castor should ask their appropriate chairman to add this amendment to the bill. You do not need to use all the talking points. We encourage you to make this a personal letter from you. We do not want these to look like form letters. We do suggest, because the chairmen are looking for cost-savings wherever they can find them, that you might want to emphasize the second and fourth bulleted points in the list of talking points below.

Note: For clarity’s sake, please be sure to write out “Certified Professional Midwife” rather than “CPM”.

5. Share a brief personal detail if possible and relevant, for example: “Two of my children were born at home attended by Certified Professional Midwives. I believe all women regardless of their income should have access to the safe, high-quality, cost-effective care provided by Certified Professional Midwives.”

6. Sign off with your name, address, and contact information.

7. If Senator Nelson’s or Representative Castor’s office would like more information about our efforts to pursue this important Medicaid improvement, they may contact Mary Lawlor with the National Association of Certified Professional Midwives at or on her cell phone at 917-453-6780. She and other Campaign members will be in D.C. during the next few weeks and may be available to meet his/her staff.

8. Please send the MAMA Campaign a copy of your letter. Email it to or FAX to 802-536-4142.

Again, anyone who lives in Florida can write as a constituent to Senator Nelson. We only need people who live in Congresswoman Kathy Castor’s district to write to her. To find out if you or someone you know lives in Rep. Castor’s district which includes: Tampa and St. Petersburg and parts of Hillsborough, Pinellas and Manatee counties, visit PLEASE forward this writing request to other Floridian’s who support midwifery. These letters are incredibly important.

If you haven’t already, please sign up with the MAMA Campaign at to get e-alerts and find more information and handouts. Please donate to the campaign at Thanks so much for all you are already doing and for all you will do this week!


Nasima Pfaffl
Citizens for Midwifery/MAMA Campaign

Talking Points :

CPMs are highly-trained, credentialed clinicians who provide effective, evidence-based maternity care. They are the only maternity care providers specifically trained in attending births outside the hospital and, by assisting in births at home and in birthing centers, offer women an important choice in how their babies are delivered.

I support the basic principal that health reform should make obtaining care MORE AFFORDABLE for all American. Adding Certified Professional Midwives to the Medicaid list would SAVE MONEY by reducing health care costs immediately.

Each mother on Medicaid who chooses an out-of-hospital birth with a Certified Professional Midwife would lower Medicaid costs, since Medicaid would otherwise be paying for a hospital birth at greater cost and with much greater likelihood of an expensive cesarean section.

Research demonstrates that midwives who attend births outside the hospital (at home or in a birth center) have much lower rates of unnecessary and potentially dangerous medical interventions such as inductions and cesarean-sections with at least as good outcomes in terms of maternal and infant mortality, at substantially lower costs.

Because Certified Professional Midwives provide thorough individualized care that promotes healthy pregnancies, the babies are healthier – more are full term and full weight, avoiding costly health problems.

Of the twenty-five states that now provide a path to licensure for Certified Professional Midwives, only 9 include CPMs in their state Medicaid programs, so low-income women on Medicaid have difficulty obtaining services. This falls short of genuine and consistent patient choice and access. Certified Professional Midwives and women who want access to them are seeking federal Medicaid reimbursement for their services as one important step to increase access to this kind of maternity care.

All women deserve to have access to quality, comprehensive maternity care, in the communities where they live, with a choice of qualified provider and services that are fully recognized and reimbursed by both private and public payers.

As the #1 reason for hospitalization, but with declining quality outcomes in the U.S., it is essential for health care reform to include maternity care.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Purchase Tickets - An Evening with Ina May Gaskin

Single or Multiple tickets may be purchased by clicking Buy Now.

An Evening with Ina May Gaskin

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Tickets on Sale Friday for An Evening with Ina May Gaskin

Tickets to An Evening with Ina May Gaskin go on sale via PayPal on Friday, 9/18, at approximately 10:00 am. Only 150 guests will have the privilege of dining with Ina May, so please get your tickets early!

Tickets include dinner, a cash bar, and live music with Radio Free Carmela and the Transmitters at the gorgeous Boathouse of the Sarasota Hyatt Regency Hotel. Doors will open at approximately 5:30 on November 1st, immediately following the free panel discussion Maternal Health Care in the 21st Century: Sarasota and Beyond, at the same hotel. The panel discussion is free but reservations are strongly recommended, and may be made by emailing

Links to buy tickets may be found Friday morning on the Florida Friends of Midwives website ( as well as on the blog

Tickets are $35 for the event only, or $60 with a signed book of your choice--Spiritual Midwifery, Ina May's Guide to Childbirth, or her newest--not even released yet--Ina May's Guide to Breastfeeding!

I hope to see many of you there...this is the opportunity of a lifetime to pay thanks to someone who is directly responsible for paving the way to the availability of direct-entry midwifery we all care about so deeply. Thank you and I can answer any questions you have!

Laura Gilkey, Vice President
Florida Friends of Midwives

An Evening with Ina May Gaskin

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

FFOM Wants to Hear Your Birth Story

Due to the volume of quick responses, the ACOG website survey on homebirth was password protected after 18 hours. The effort to flood them with positive birth stories was an immediate success. Visit the Citizens for Midwifery Grassroots Network and The Big Push for Midwives campaign for more information. Thanks for your support!

The ACOG survey demonstrates that the opposition to home birth is powerful and organized. Midwives and consumers of midwifery care need to stay informed, and be ready to support midwives politically. Stay connected to events and actions in Florida by joining Florida Friends of Midwives. There is an e-group, forums, and a newsletter to keep you informed of important events.

We still want to hear your positive birth story! To tell your birth story to support midwives, please submit it to the Florida Friends of Midwives website. Follow the instructions below, and email birth stories to

How to Submit Your Birth Story:

If you would like to submit of your birth with a Florida midwife, here is what to do:

1. Submit your story in a .txt or .doc format. All stories should be accompanied by photographs in .jpeg, .jpg, .eps format.

2. Include your name and a title for the story.

3. Stories should be ¾ page to 1 ½ pages. Try to separate your story in to several paragraphs.

Please spell check your story before you send to us! It sounds very basic, but it is important and helps us get the stories up sooner. We will make corrections if necessary, but you will help us out greatly if you spend some time checking your story for accurate spelling and grammar.

We will notify you if your story is used and provide you with a link to view it on the website. Again, please be aware that we may edit your story for grammar, punctuation, spelling and length if necessary. It may take us up to a month to post your story, if it's used. Try to be patient with us.

VERY IMPORTANT! You MUST include a statement with your story that you give FFOM permission to print your story. We cannot publish it to the web without this statement!

Ina May Gaskin to be Honored in Sarasota

Ina May Gaskin, the world’s leading midwife, is coming to Sarasota to participate in a panel discussion entitled Maternal Health Care in the 21st Century: Sarasota and Beyond, taking place at 3:00 pm on November 1st in the Sarasota Ballroom of the Hyatt Regency Hotel. Immediately following the program, Florida Friends of Midwives will host An Evening with Ina May Gaskin at the Hyatt Regency’s waterfront Boathouse, to begin at about 5:30 pm. Tickets for this event, going on sale in September, will cost $35 and will include dinner and live music from Radio-Free Carmela and the Transmitters. Guests will view a tribute to Ms. Gaskin’s work, enjoy a cash bar, and participate in a silent auction and raffle. All proceeds will benefit Florida Friends of Midwives, a non-profit grassroots organization dedicated to promoting and preserving midwifery access in Florida.

Ina May Gaskin is internationally recognized as the mother of modern midwifery, and has been credited with the re-emergence of direct-entry midwifery in the United States since the early 1970's. Ms. Gaskin is founder and director of the Farm Midwifery Center, founded in 1971 and located near Summertown, Tennessee. By 1996, the Farm Midwifery Center had handled more than 2200 births, with remarkably good outcomes, noted for low rates of intervention, morbidity and mortality. Ms. Gaskin herself has attended more than 1200 births. She is author of Spiritual Midwifery, Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth, and Ina May's Guide to Breastfeeding, to be released October 1st. She was President of Midwives' Alliance of North America from 1996 to 2002. The Gaskin maneuver, a low-interventive effective method for dealing with shoulder dystocia, is the first obstetrical procedure to be named for a midwife. Ms. Gaskin is also the originator and coordinator of The Safe Motherhood Quilt Project, a national effort developed to draw public attention to the current U.S. maternal death rates. Three panels of The Safe Motherhood Quilt will be on display at the Selby Public Library from October 26 – October 31. For more information about the Quilt Project, please visit

In addition to participating on the panel and being honored at the tribute dinner, during her stay in Sarasota, Ms. Gaskin will be presenting a Clinical Conference to the medical staff at Sarasota Memorial Hospital on Friday, October 30th, and presenting the Safe Motherhood Quilt Project at the Selby Public Library on Saturday, October 31st at 11 am. For more information about any of these events, please contact Laura Gilkey at

ABOUT FLORIDA FRIENDS OF MIDWIVES: Florida Friends of Midwives (FFOM) is a nonprofit grassroots organization dedicated to promoting the Midwives Model of Care and supporting the practice of midwifery in Florida. Florida Friends of Midwives was formed to support midwives who offer safe, cost-effective, evidence based care to Florida's Families. FFOM members are consumers and birth advocates with a common goal: to preserve the legal protection afforded to Florida's midwives and birth centers. They are committed to organizing the community to support midwives and to assure the continued availability of midwifery care in the State of Florida. For more information, please visit

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Waterbirth Workshop with Barbara Harper

Learn all the specific physiologic reasons why water immersion and waterbirth work the way they do. Discuss "delivery" or birth techniques and tricks, like using pictures on the bottom of the tub to determine blood loss; reevaluate 2nd stage moves and maneuvers; shoulder dystocia in the tub; keeping water warm - why or why not; protocols, etc. Lots and lots of information, videos and studies from 25 years of research, experience and collecting data. Worth every penny!!

This workshop is taught by Barbara Harper, whose expertise in waterbirth and gentle, undisturbed birth is widely sought in all areas of the globe. She has lectured in 43 countries, including many medical schools, nursing schools, midwifery programs and university women’s studies departments. Barbara has been interviewed by hundreds of newspapers and magazines and has appeared on dozens of radio and TV shows to talk about her work with waterbirth and gentle birth.

The class is $255 for providers, $125 for nurses, doulas, and childbirth educators, and $75 for pregnant moms or couples. It will be held on Wednesday, September 9, 2009, from 9:00am - 4:30pm at the United Church of Gainesville, 1624 NW Fifth Ave.

For more information, please call (954) 821-9125, or email Barbara Harper at

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Florida Friends of Midwives Endorses MAMA Campaign

Florida Friends of Midwives endorses the MAMA Campaign, a collaborative effort by the National Association of Certified Professional Midwives (NACPM), Midwives Alliance of North America (MANA), Citizens for Midwifery (CfM), International Center for Traditional Childbearing (ICTC), North American Registry of Midwives (NARM), and the Midwifery Education Accreditation Council (MEAC). This partnership is now at work to gain federal recognition of Certified Professional Midwives so that women and families will have increased access to quality, affordable maternity care in the settings of their choice.

Help ensure that low income women on Medicaid all across the country can choose midwifery care – Donate Today! Any amount you can give will help Certified Professional Midwives be recognized under federal Medicaid law. If every supporter in Florida donated $25 and if busy midwives and birth centers donated $500 or $1,000, we would be well on our way to meeting our fundraising goal. Help us sustain the work of organizing and lobbying that it takes to make our voice heard in Washington, DC. Donate today at

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Heads Up on Infant Mortality Campaign

September is Infant Mortality month. Did you know that 1,687 babies died before age one in 2007 in the state of Florida alone? The 2009 Campaign for Healthier Babies is drawing attention to infant mortality by knitting one baby hat for every baby who didn't reach their first birthday.

"Too many babies are being born too soon, too small, or too sick to survive," said Jennie Joseph, CPM, Executive Director of Commonsense Childbirth. Please join Jennie in her endeavor to promote early prenatal care and save the lives of our children!

How you can help:

* knit or crochet one or more baby hats
* teach someone how to knit or crochet a baby hat
* donate to the campaign
* encourage all pregnant women to start prenatal care right away - we can help, no one is turned away

The hats will be displayed at a rally in September (date & time TBA). You can help by knitting or crocheting one or more infant hats and bringing or mailing your hat(s) to:

The Birth Place
1130 E. Plant Street
Winter Garden, FL 34787
Call: (407) 656-6938

Friday, July 31, 2009

FFOM Welcomes Ina May Gaskin to Sarasota

Sarasota, FL (July 31, 2009) -- On November 1, 2009, Sarasota will host a discussion entitled 'Maternal Health Care in the 21st Century: Sarasota and Beyond.' The program will feature a distinguished panel of internationally recognized speakers. The Sarasota-Manatee Chapter of the National Organization for Women (NOW) is sponsoring the event, along with co-sponsors Florida Friends of Midwives and the Sarasota Commission on the Status of Women. The discussion will take place at the Hyatt Regency Sarasota. The public is welcome to attend at no cost.

The panelists for this discussion are:
--Dr. Washington Hill, MD, FACOG, Labor and Delivery Medical Director and Maternal-Fetal Medicine Director at Sarasota Memorial Hospital;
--Ina May Gaskin, MA, CPM, Founder and Director of The Farm Midwifery Center;
--Rep. Keith Fitzgerald, PhD, Florida House of Representatives, District 69; and
--Jennifer Highland, MPH, Executive Director of the Healthy Start Coalition of Sarasota County.

The discussion will be moderated by Kelly Kirschner, MA, Sarasota City Commissioner and Vice Mayor, and will last approximately an hour and a half. Time will be allotted for audience questions and answers, as well as refreshments following the program.

This panel will review current trends in maternity care in Sarasota within the context of the U.S. and the world and target paths to improving maternity care locally and nationwide. Topics for discussion include:
  • maternal mortality,
  • obstetric intervention rates and risks,
  • legislation,
  • legal reform and malpractice concerns,
  • insurance coverage,
  • community education and awareness,
  • the midwifery model of care,
  • informed consent and refusal,
  • transparency in maternity care,
  • the availability of prenatal care (including education, counseling, and doulas), and
  • the upcoming expansion of Sarasota Memorial Hospital to include new labor and delivery rooms.
Hosting a panel discussion about maternal health care issues was the brainchild of Sonia Pressman Fuentes, co-founder of the National Organization for Women (NOW). “After spending a lifetime improving the legal status of women and fighting gender discrimination in the US and the world, it is exciting for me to be involved in a field new to me, that of improving maternal health care options for women in Sarasota, the US, and the world,” says Fuentes. Joining her in planning the event is Laura Gilkey, local childbirth advocate and board member of Florida Friends of Midwives. "With a panel representative of obstetrics, midwifery, legislature and public health, perhaps Sarasota can begin a conversation that will pave the way toward becoming a national model of community healthcare reform through improved maternity care," says Gilkey.

For more information, please contact Laura Gilkey at / (941) 915-8115. Interviews are available at the request of the press. Planning and agenda updates for the panel will be posted on the website

About the National Organization for Women (NOW):
The National Organization for Women (NOW) is the largest organization of feminist activists in the United States. NOW has 500,000 contributing members and 550 chapters in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Since its founding in 1966, NOW's goal has been to take action to bring about equality for all women. NOW works to eliminate discrimination and harassment in the workplace, schools, the justice system, and all other sectors of society; secure abortion, birth control and reproductive rights for all women; end all forms of violence against women; eradicate racism, sexism and homophobia; and promote equality and justice in our society.

About Florida Friends of Midwives (FFOM):
Florida Friends of Midwives (FFOM) is a non-profit grassroots organization dedicated to promoting the Midwives Model of Care and supporting the practice of midwifery in Florida. Florida Friends of Midwives was formed to support midwives who offer safe, cost-effective, evidence based care to Florida's Families. Our members are consumers and birth advocates with a common goal: to preserve the legal protection afforded to Florida's midwives and birth centers. We are committed to organizing the community to support midwives and to assure the continued availability of midwifery care in the State of Florida.

About the Sarasota Commission on the Status of Women (SCSW):
The Sarasota Commission on the Status of Women (SCSW) was re-established in Sarasota County to empower women through education, research, and advocacy.


Dr. Washington Hill, M.D., FACOG
Labor and Delivery Medical Director / Maternal-Fetal Medicine Director, Sarasota Memorial Hospital

B.A., Rutgers University, College of South Jersey, Camden, New Jersey, 1961
M.D., Temple University School of Medicine, 1965
Obstetrics and Gynecology Residency, William Beaumont General Hospital, 1970
Post Graduate, Maternal-Fetal Medicine Fellowship, University of California, San Francisco, 1984
Board Certification, American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology with Special Competence in Maternal-Fetal Medicine, 1989 with Recertification 1978, 1993 and 1998

Dr. Hill is the Past President of the Medical Staff and Chairman of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Sarasota Memorial Hospital, Sarasota, Florida. He is currently Director of Maternal-Fetal Medicine. He is also Clinical Professor Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at University South Florida College of Medicine, Tampa Florida and Clinical Professor Department of Clinical Sciences OB/GYN Clerkship Director-Sarasota Campus Florida State University College of Medicine Tallahassee Florida. After earning his medical degree at Temple University and interning at Walter Reed General Hospital in Washington, D.C., Dr. Hill spent the next nine years as a Medical Officer in the United States Army. During this time, he conducted his residency training in Obstetrics and Gynecology at William Beaumont General Hospital in El Paso, Texas. Upon finishing his residency, he was an Obstetrician and Gynecologist in Germany for three years. After twelve years of private practice in Obstetrics and Gynecology, Dr. Hill completed a fellowship in Maternal-Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco and Children’s Hospital of San Francisco in 1984. While there, he was also a Research Fellow at the Cardiovascular Research Institute. Following completion of his fellowship in Maternal-Fetal Medicine, he has practiced this subspecialty for over 20 years first at the Sutter Perinatal Center and the University of California-Davis School of Medicine, Sacramento, California, and then at Creighton University, School of Medicine, Omaha, Nebraska; Meharry Medical College, and Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, Tennessee. He served as Chairman of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Meharry Medical College, School of Medicine, educating minority medical students and residents from 1990 until 1992, when he took his current position as Director of Maternal-Fetal Medicine and the Perinatal Center of Sarasota Memorial Hospital in Sarasota, Florida. Dr. Hill is a leader in Maternal-Fetal Medicine. He has a strong interest in education, patient care, teaching and clinical practice. He is a regular participant at conferences which teach perinatal healthcare providers management and use of research in caring for high risk pregnancies. He has been a leader in the development of a center of excellence known throughout the nation for the care of high risk pregnant patients. Dr. Hill is a frequently sought after speaker in the community and at medical centers around the nation in high risk pregnancy management. He is Board Certified in Maternal Fetal Medicine and Obstetrics and Gynecology. He also serves around the country as a consultant for maternal-fetal medicine and medical legal issues. In his “spare time,” he likes to travel, especially to Africa on medical missions and will be happy to recruit to go also. He also enjoys sports, music and collecting African artifacts when not engaged in his teaching duties. Dr. Hill is the author of at least 60 articles in refereed journals and the book, “Ambulatory Obstetrics.” He contributes regularly to the medical literature and provider education. A native of Camden, New Jersey, Dr. Hill is married to Pauline Hill.

Ina May Gaskin, M.A., C.P.M.
Founder / Director, The Farm Midwifery Center

State University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa, B.A., English, Summa cum laude, Highest honors
Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Illinois, M.A., English
North American Registry of Midwives
Certified Professional Midwife
Tennessee Licensed Certified Professional Midwife

Ina May Gaskin, MA, CPM, is founder and director of the Farm Midwifery Center, located near Summertown, Tennessee. Founded in 1971, by 1996, the Farm Midwifery Center had handled more than 2200 births, with remarkably good outcomes. Ms. Gaskin herself has attended more than 1200 births. She is author of Spiritual Midwifery, now in its fourth edition. For twenty-two years she published Birth Gazette, a quarterly covering health care, childbirth and midwifery issues. Her most recent book, Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth was released in 2003 by Bantam/Dell, a division of Random House. She has lectured all over the world at midwifery conferences and at medical schools, both to students and to faculty. She was President of Midwives' Alliance of North America from 1996 to 2002. In 1997, she received the ASPO/Lamaze Irwin Chabon Award and the Tennessee Perinatal Association Recognition Award. In 2003 she was chosen as Visiting Fellow of Morse College, Yale University. Ms. Gaskin has lectured widely to midwives and physicians throughout the world. Her promotion of a low-intervention but extremely effective method for dealing with one of the most-feared birth complications, shoulder dystocia, has resulted in that method being adopted by a growing number of practitioners. The Gaskin maneuver is the first obstetrical procedure to be named for a midwife. Her statistics for breech deliveries and her teaching video on the subject have helped to spark a reappraisal of the policy of automatically performing cesarean section for all breech babies. As the occurrence of vaginal breech births has declined over the last 25 years, the knowledge and skill required for such births have come close to extinction. Ms. Gaskin’s center is noted for its low rates of intervention, morbidity and mortality despite the inclusion of many vaginally delivered breeches, twin and grand multiparas. Their statistics were published in “The Safety of Home Birth: The Farm Study,” authored by A. Mark Durand, American Journal of Public Health, March, 1992, Vol. 82, 450-452. Ms. Gaskin was featured in Salon magazine’s feature “Brilliant Careers” in the June 1, 1999 edition. She is the originator and coordinator of The Safe Motherhood Quilt Project, a national effort developed to draw public attention to the current maternal death rates, as well as to the gross underreporting of maternal deaths in the United States, and to honor those women who have died of pregnancy-related causes since 1982. Her newest book, Ina May's Guide to Breastfeeding, will be released October 1st, 2009.

Rep. Keith Fitzgerald, Ph.D.
Florida House of Representatives, District 69

University of Louisville, B.A., 1979
Indiana University, Ph.D., 1987

Representative Keith Fitzgerald was elected to represent State House District 69 in 2006. His district includes the northern part of Sarasota County and a small portion of Manatee County. Representative Fitzgerald was born in Springfield, OH and grew up in Louisville, KY. He holds a B.A. from the University of Louisville, and a Ph.D. from Indiana University. Representative Fitzgerald has lived in Sarasota and taught political science at New College of Florida since 1994. He and his wife, Angela Baker, have nine-year-old twins. Representative Fitzgerald is a lifelong public servant. From the time when he worked in high school and college as a reading tutor for dyslexic children until his present job as a college professor at New College of Florida, he has been an educator. As a Ph.D. in political science, he has studied politics his whole life, taught at colleges and universities and conducted scholarly research. Representative Fitzgerald serves as the Democratic Ranking Member on the Policy Council and as a member of the Finance and Tax Council, Health and Family Services Policy Council, Select Policy Council on Strategic & Economic Planning and the Military and Local Affairs Policy Committee. Representative Fitzgerald also serves as Policy Chair for the House Democratic Caucus. His prior leadership positions include service on the Advisory Council of Faculty Senates, the Board of Trustees at New College of Florida and the Sarasota City Charter Review Board.

Jennifer Highland, M.P.H.
Executive Director, Healthy Start Coalition of Sarasota County

University of South Florida, M.P.H. Public Health, 1995

Jennifer’s passion for helping mothers and infants began, of course, with the birth of her children. Most of her early career in Louisiana, Georgia and Texas was as a registered nurse working in hospital settings, in clinical nursing and staff development. Her education positions allowed her to utilize her graphic art skills in the development of printed educational materials and newsletters for hospital staff and nurses. After she moved to Florida and became a mother, Jennifer volunteered for the Breastfeeding Advocates of Sarasota County and completed her Master of Public Health Degree from USF, graduating in 1995. Jennifer was the Project Coordinator for the first and on-going national breastfeeding promotion campaign, “Loving Support Makes Breastfeeding Work,” through her employment with Best Start, Inc., in Tampa. She then became trained as a Childbirth Educator and taught at Sarasota Memorial Hospital. Her work at Healthy Start began in 2001 as the Contract/Quality Manager. Her role expanded to include professional education. In 2006 she became the Executive Director.

MODERATOR: Kelly Kirschner, M.A.
Sarasota City Commission (District 3 Commissioner / Vice Mayor)
B.S. Foreign Service, Georgetown University
M.A. Latin American Studies, Georgetown University

Kelly is a lifelong Sarasotan. He has served the Sarasota community as President of the Alta Vista Neighborhood Association as well as having been an active member of the Coalition of City Neighborhood Associations. Believing strongly in public service, Kelly has worked for the White House Office of Public Liaison; served as a Peace Corps Volunteer; and led a USAID community conservation project in rural Guatemala. Kelly lives with his wife, Tracy, son, Bodhi, and daughter, Selby, in District 3.

EVENT SPONSOR: Sonia Pressman Fuentes, JD
The National Organization for Women (NOW)

B.A. Cornell University 1950
J.D. University of Miami School of Law 1957

Sonia Pressman Fuentes, who was born in Berlin, Germany, of Polish parents, came to the U.S. with her immediate family in 1934 to escape the Holocaust. She graduated as valedictorian of her high school in Monticello, New York, Phil Beta Kappa from Cornell University, and first in her class at the University of Miami (FL) School of Law. She was an attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice, the National Labor Relations Board, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), and the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development in Washington, D.C. She was the first woman attorney in the Office of the General Counsel at the EEOC and drafted a number of the Commission’s landmark guidelines and decisions. She was a co-founder of NOW, WEAL (the Women’s Equity Action League), and FEW (Federally Employed Women) and a charter member of VFA. She was the longest-serving board member in the history of NWP (National Woman’s Party). She also served as an attorney and executive, respectively, at the headquarters of GTE Service Corporation and TRW Inc., and was the highest-paid woman employee at each of those headquarters. In 1993, she retired from the federal government, thereafter wrote her memoir, Eat First—You Don’t Know What They’ll Give You, The Adventures of an Immigrant Family and Their Feminist Daughter, and embarked on new careers as a writer and public speaker. For further information, see her website.

Florida Friends of Midwives (FFOM)

B.L.A. Landscape Architecture, University of Florida, 2000

Laura Gilkey serves on the Board of Directors for Florida Friends of Midwives, and is the Florida Coordinating Ambassador for The Birth Survey: The Transparency in Maternity Care Project. Laura is an endorser of The Mother-Friendly Childbirth Initiative and a member of the Coalition for Improving Maternity Care Services. She is a project coordinator and quilter for Ina May Gaskin's Safe Motherhood Quilt Project, intended to raise awareness about American maternal mortality. Laura has recently joined the Planning and Evaluation Committee for the Healthy Start Coalition of Sarasota County, whose mission is to improve the health and well-being of Sarasota's pregnant women, infants, and small children. Professionally, she is the marketing manager for Michael A. Gilkey, Inc., landscape architecture studio, and is the owner of Kangaroo Promotions, Inc., a creative marketing firm in Sarasota.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Each One Reach One: 2009 Membership Drive

We are so excited to announce our 2009 membership drive, 'Each One Reach One!'

We are asking each of our individual and business members to sign up at least one of your friends, your clients, your family members, your neighbors or your colleagues for an annual membership to
Florida Friends of Midwives. Let them know what their support means to you and to the future of birth choices in Florida. Let them know that by joining Florida Friends of Midwives, their belief that Floridians should have access to midwifery care has a voice. Let them know that without the voice of Florida Friends of Midwives two decades ago, we would not have the legal right to birth with Licensed Midwives today and they can be a part of that legacy of dedicated women.

Florida Friends of Midwives thanks you for your support and we want to show it! The current Florida Friends of Midwives member who bring us the most new members by Labor Day 2009 will receive your choice of item from our Café Press store, as well as a feature in the next edition of the Florida Friends of Midwives newsletter and on our website.

Thank you for your continued support of Florida Friends of Midwives. Together, we can make a real difference to promote and protect midwifery care in Florida. Please contact us with any questions, suggestions, or concerns, at, or toll-free at (800) 925-1014.

Thank you for your continued support!

ChipIn: Contribute to our online fundraiser!

Help us fundraise online!

Our online ChipIn fundraising event for our 2nd Annual Fundraising Campaign is now live and ready to collect money! The key to a successful ChipIn event is getting the word out, so here are a few tips for spreading the word about Florida Friends of Midwives ChipIn to your friends, family and clients:

1. Invite Your Social Network
Send a personal note to those that you want to contribute and tell them about our cause. Then, make sure that they can contribute easily - by posting a widget (tip #2) or creating a ChipIn Page (tip #3).

2. Post a Widget
The ChipIn Widget is a simple application that shows information about your ChipIn on any Web page you place it on. If you have a blog, a social networking profile, or your own Web site, just cut and paste your ChipIn widget code and you can let all of your visitors know about your ChipIn event! To create a widget for our event visit this URL:

3. Visit our ChipIn Page
If you want a quick and easy way to share our ChipIn event, we have our own page at which allows you to let your friends, family, and clients know more about what you are collecting money for and stay up-to-date on your progress..

4. Set a Target Amount that You want to Contribute to our Fundraiser
Although a target amount is optional, people are always more likely to contribute when a goal has been set. Even if you're not sure how much money you'll be able need to raise, we still recommend setting a target amount, as you can always change it later.

5. Ask Friends to Help You Promote
You can get other people to help you promote your ChipIn by asking them to copy your widget and post it on their own web sites. Just give them this URL:

Support Florida Friends of Midwives annual fundraising campaign!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Call for Regional Group Leaders

As the work facing FFOM becomes clearer, the need for committed volunteers is critical. Over the next few weeks, you will see several requests for committee members.

Think about ways in which you can help preserve birth options in our state. Where do your talents lie? What can you contribute?

As Regional Groups Coordinator, I am charged with the task of recruiting at least one Regional Group Leader for each of the 8 regions shown here.Some regions may ultimately be represented by more than one individual, depending of the size/number of metropolitan areas in a region. The following should answer your questions about why these groups will be so important in the work of FFOM.

Why are Regional Groups so important?

Florida is a diverse state, and the characteristics of its population, economy, communities, and environment vary widely from Pensacola to Miami, from Jacksonville to Clearwater. When FFOM was originally founded in 1989, it was made up of several regional friends of midwives groups who all decided to get together so they could become more effective. We'd like to keep that idea alive through the creation of regional groups. Regional groups will provide a local and regional perspective to our work and help us adequately address the issues that impact every region of the state.

What do Regional Groups do?

Regional groups are local groups of parents and professionals who share information, offer support, and protect the rights of women and families to make informed choices within their local community. Regional groups can get together for social and networking functions. We encourage local leaders to hold regular meetings and engage in bigger projects by participating in FFOM's educational, advocacy, and fund raising efforts.

If you are interested in leading a Regional Group in your area or have questions about regional groups, we encourage you to contact us at

Friday, July 17, 2009

Action Alert: Birth Center Reimbursement

Medicaid Birth Center Reimbursement Act Introduced in the Senate

This has been a very busy week week in Washington, DC! In the Senate, U.S. Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Mark Begich (D-AK) introduced S.1423 the Medicaid Birth Center Reimbursement Act to ensure Medicaid birth center facility fee payments to states.

In the House, the health care reform bill H.R. 3200 "America's Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009" was introduced. This bill includes the birth center bill language but it does not guarantee that all state Medicaid plans will cover the facility fee.

It is CRITICAL that we have strong co-sponsorship for our bills in the House and the Senate. This means that we need YOU and your colleagues, family members, clients and friends to contact your federal Senators and Representatives RIGHT AWAY.


Continue to work in the House and the Senate to secure co-sponsors for our bills (H.R. 2358 and S.1423).
  • Call your U.S. Senators and Representatives. Click here for directions on how to contact your Representatives and Senators and what to say. After you have made your calls, please call or email AABC's lobbyist Karen Fennell and tell her who you talked with and any comments or additional information requested. Call Karen at 301-830-3910; Send email here. This report to Karen is important so that she can follow-up.
  • Invite your Senators and Representatives to an Open House at your birth center during the August recess (the entire month of August). Invite the media and your clients to come. This is a win-win. The legislators and the birth center will receive positive press. We will develop an "Open House" packet and post it online in a few days for you to adapt for your community.
  • Attend the town hall meetings on health care reform that are being held across the country and make your voice heard at those meetings.
We MUST be prepared with strong co-sponsorship to move our legislation. Who is already a co-sponsor?

House Bill H.R. 2358
Sponsor: Susan Davis (CA)
Co-Sponsors: Gus Bilirakis (FL), Lois Capps (CA), Robert Whittman (VA), Tammy Baldwin (WI), Sander Levin (MI), Diana DeGette (CO), Eric Massa (NY), and Janice Schakowsky (IL)

Senate Bill S.1423
Sponsor: Barbara Boxer (CA)
Co-Sponsor: Mark Begich (AK)

We need EVERYONE to take action and ensure that our bill is passed as soon as possible!


Jill Alliman, CNM, MSN
Chair, Legislative Committee
American Association of Birth Centers

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Sarasota Fundraiser: Charity Mom and Baby Yoga Class

Rosemary Court Yoga is offering a charity Mom & Baby Yoga class on Tuesday, July 7 from 10-11am. Donations will be accepted & donated to Florida Friends of Midwives.

Mom & Baby Yoga class instructor Kassandra Devlin is offering an energizing and rejuvenating class focusing on mothers' postpartum needs: regaining alignment, toning the pelvic floor, and building core strength. Babies are welcome and can be incorporated in the yoga poses or can nap/play on a mat. Recommended age is pre-crawling.

Please pass this along to your friends and come out and support yourself, support your baby, and support midwives!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Fight Florida's Ban on VBACs in Birthing Centers!

Join the fight to change the State of Florida's ban on Vaginal Births After Cesarean (VBAC) in birthing centers.

Currently the State of Florida's legislative rule governing birth centers is written in a manner which has now been used to restrict women from choosing VBACs with any licensed practitioner in a free standing birth center.

The Florida Alliance of Birth Centers has retained an attorney to challenge the legislative rule banning a woman from attempting a vaginal birth after c-section in a birth center. With c-section rates in some Florida hospitals topping 70%, women's choices are being limited.


Visit the Birthgirlz website for more details and please donate today.

Until midnight tonight, any donation made to this worthy cause will be matched.

Friday, June 12, 2009

An Invitation to Join the Midwives and Mothers in Action (MAMA) Campaign

CPMCome visit our new website at
Please forward this invitation to family and friends.

The goal of the Midwives and Mothers in Action (M.A.M.A.) Campaign is to increase women's access to midwives and to quality, affordable maternity care by securing federal recognition of Certified Professional Midwives (CPMs). The MAMACampaign is a partnership between the National Association of Certified Professional Midwives (NACPM), Midwives Alliance of North America (MANA), Citizens for Midwifery (CfM), International Center for Traditional Childbearing (ICTC), North American Registry of Midwives (NARM), and the Midwifery Education Accreditation Council (MEAC).

Contact Us:
MAMA Campaign
243 Banning Road
Putney VT 05346
or call Citizens for Midwifery's Info line at 888-236-4880

MAMA Logos

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Midwives and Mothers in Action (M.A.M.A.) Campaign is launched!

The goal of the M.A.M.A. Campaign is to increase women's access to midwives and to quality, affordable maternity care by securing federal recognition of Certified Professional Midwives (CPM). We have hired a federal lobbyist, a campaign manager will be hired by next week, and the M.A.M.A. Campaign website is almost complete.

This campaign is a partnership of the National Association of Certified Professional Midwives (NACPM), Midwives Alliance of North America (MANA), North American Registry of Midwives (NARM), Midwifery Education Accreditation Council (MEAC), Citizens for Midwifery (CfM), and International Center for Traditional Childbearing (ICTC). This historic partnership is now at work to get federal recognition of Certified Professional Midwives so that women and families will have increased access to quality, affordable maternity care in the settings of their choice. We look forward to working with everyone who supports this work and in concert with other national initiatives to achieve our common goals.

Our federal lobbyist, a specialist in health policy, will move our agenda in Washington, D.C. Billy Wynne is a former Senate staffer, an expert in Medicaid and health care reform, with a diverse portfolio of connections. He is excited to be promoting the values and important services provided by Certified Professional Midwives and is implementing a strategy with the M.A.M.A. Campaign Steering Committee, based on our priorities, for achieving success in this Congress.

A campaign manager will be hired by next week to work with the network of volunteers already lining up to support the M.A.M.A. Campaign. A campaign website is nearing completion; watch for the website launch announcement at the end of this week!

Your support will be essential to the success of the campaign. Watch for weekly updates and action alerts about how you can become involved!

We look forward to working with you in this effort!

The M.A.M.A. Campaign Steering Committee