Saturday, February 16, 2008

Cookies, Complications, Icy Roads, and Lots of Willing Workers!

This year, Friends of Missouri Midwives' fourth annual "Cookie Day" at the Capitol coincided with an ice storm that hit southern Missouri.

The roads in the southern half of the state didn't exactly inspire even die-hard midwifery supporters to venture past their driveways. So, most of the carefully wrapped cookie packages went back into people's freezers to wait for the weather to warm and thaw the roads a bit.

But Cookie Day had been planned for a long time, and half of the state was still planning on coming, so the decision was made to move ahead with the Cookie Plans.

'Twas the day before Cookie Day, and...

Kelly was busy coordinating who was bringing how many bags of cookies, and when they would arrive and making sure that she would be ready to greet crowds of people with directions and lists of their legislators and name stickers and midwife buttons... and she was baking cookies.

Margaret was trying to arrange for a local business/restaurant to donate lunch and drinks for the families who would be busy delivering cookies, talking on the phone to people who didn't understand what they needed to do... and baking cookies.

Laurel was responding to emails, and trying to keep things flowing smoothly, planning the FoMM meeting, trying not to panic when the House operations guy said that he didn't see anywhere that Friends of Missouri Midwives had reserved the alcove for the 13th of February, as well as giving people advice on how to make the best impression possible at the Capitol... and she was baking cookies.

Debbie was busy re-drafting legislation, taking phone calls from happy people, frustrated people and confused people at the Capitol and all around the state, setting up meetings with elected and appointed officials, texting the others who were coordinating Cookie Day, emailing information and bill drafts to the legislators and staff who needed it... and supervising the cookie baking that her children were doing.

Mary was trying to keep 17 attorneys and law students from across the country organized and informed who were busily working (all pro bono) on the amicus brief to counter the AMA's brief that was filed with the Missouri Supreme Court. The AMA's amicus brief alleged that allowing Certified Professional Midwives to legally practice was a threat to the health and well-being of Missouri mothers and their babies. The midwife-supporting attorneys were all working together to thoroughly refute that allegation and inform the Court that midwifery is not dangerous; in fact it is sound public policy. With the deadline for submission to the court fast approaching, things had escalated to a mad scramble online and over the phone as various versions and sections of the brief and interest statement circulated in cyber-space. The fact that Mary's electricity (read: internet, too!) had gone out and her little sisters were busily baking cookies made the day even more interesting

The night before Cookie Day... Debbie and Mary had both made it safely over the icy roads and arrived at La Casa, the "midwives" rental house in Jefferson City - and were busy responding to emails, editing the media alert, and typing up instruction sheets for Cookie Day.


Homemade Cookies Open Doors to Talk about Home Birth

Midwives supporters come from across Missouri to meet with lawmakers


Valentine’s Day is coming a bit early this year to policy makers at the State Capitol Building in Jefferson City, Missouri. That’s because midwifery and home birth supporters from across the state will come Wednesday with more than 1,021 home baked cookies and valentines, made by home birth families from across the state for their fourth annual “Cookie Day” at the Missouri Capitol. Cookie Day is an effort to show appreciation to lawmakers for their efforts to change Missouri’s currently hostile midwifery law.

Senate Bill 1021 will establish a state regulatory board for licensing Certified Professional Midwives, or CPMs. The bill, sponsored by Sen. John Loudon, R-Chesterfield, is currently being considered by the Senate Pension, Veterans’ Affairs and General Laws Committee.

Missouri’s existing midwifery law is considered one of the most restrictive and hostile in the nation, making the practice of midwifery by anyone other than a physician a Class C Felony.

“Our Annual ‘Cookie Day’ is a fun opportunity for the people of Missouri to come and advocate for midwifery and the right to choose their own health care providers. Of course we always have pregnant women who show up, hoping that this year will be the year when they won’t have to worry about their midwife being arrested for attending their birth,” said Mary Ueland, Grassroots Coordinator for the Friends of Missouri Midwives. “There is a new momentum to our efforts this year as more public attention is focused on this issue, and as it becomes very clear that more and more states are adopting the CPM credential as the basis for the licensure of out-of-hospital midwives.”


From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on WEDNESday, FEBRUARY 13 at the Capitol Building, 201 W Capitol Avenue, Jefferson City, Missouri. Cookie Day “home base” is in a 3rd floor rotunda area alcove.


Cookie Day 2008 is co-sponsored by the Friends of Missouri Midwives, Missouri Midwives Association, Show-Me Freedom in Healthcare, and Free the Midwives.

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