The following excerpts are taken from the CFAM website, a site dedicated to California Families for Access to Midwives:
“Yelena Kolodji and Kavita Noble are CA Certified Nurse Midwives (CNMs) who are being prosecuted. Their only alleged offense: failing to obtain physician supervision.
It is virtually impossible for midwives to obtain physician supervision for out-of-hospital births. California Families For Access to Midwives (CFAM) fought hard to remove this unnecessary requirement from law. Thanks to enormous consumer pressure, as of January 1, 2014, physician supervision will be a thing of the past for Licensed Midwives in California — but not for CNMs.
While most CNMs practice in hospital settings where physician supervision is virtually automatic, the few CNMs who provide out-of-hospital maternity care are forced to practice illegally since physicians are unwilling and/or unable to supervise them.
Yelena and Kavita have been providing comprehensive care to pregnant mothers and newborns for more than a combined 40 years, and have caught a combined 2,000 babies in hospital, birth center, and home settings.”
“This case also raises the broader question: do mothers have a right to access the full range of maternity care services their providers are trained and skilled to deliver?
When two skilled, experienced, and appropriately licensed midwives are prosecuted for providing appropriate care that results in a healthy mother and healthy baby, it is a sign that something is wrong with the system.”
“Please get involved in our efforts to support midwives Yelena and Kavita during this trying time by:
- If you are in the South Bay area, please attend our upcoming fundraiser.
- Please consider a donation to CFAM as we support Yelena & Kavita’s defense.
- You can also contribute directly to the midwives’ defense fund, Stand By Your Midwife, here.”
The legal issue at hand is one of non-compliance with CA state law mandating physician supervision for CNMs. But what is the purpose of such a law? It’s mere existence infers that midwives are inept, or at best, not fully competent, to attend childbirth as autonomous medical professionals—as if they need an authoritarian medical professional overseeing them. Yet midwives are extensively trained in childbirth and perinatal care. If anything it’s the OBGYNs who are not trained well enough in the ways of natural childbirth and effective labor coaching.
Rules like this are in place for bureaucratic reasons—in the legal and financial interests of physicians—not in the interests of mother and baby’s health. It’s about insurance, it’s about money, it’s about fear of lawsuits. It’s not about the best birth outcomes.
For more information, check out my Sources: