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