Governor Signs SB 136 to License Certified Professional Midwives!

It has been an incredibly exciting session.  Our bill has officially been signed into law, so now what?

First up: we will get an official photo with the Governor reenacting the signing of our bill. Anyone can be in this photo, and we are hoping for a lot of you to be there – all are welcome! It will be at the Capitol on March 27 at 9:30 am. If you are coming, please meet us in the Rotunda (2nd floor) by 9:15 am.

Second: Following the photo on the 27th, we will have a potluck and planning meeting for our CELEBRATION PARTY! It won’t be at the Capitol, though, so keep your food in your car and we’ll give you all directions after the photo. All are welcome to come help with the planning. 

Third: The Celebration Party is tentatively set for May 13 in Pierre (central location for the whole state). Pencil it in on your calendars, and be watching for further details!  We want to plan a celebration that the whole family can enjoy.  Please share your ideas!

Fourth: After our law goes into effect on July 1, the Governor will appoint the board. Then the board will develop rules to regulate CPMs and help those rules navigate the rules process which includes public hearings and a hearing with the Legislative Rules Committee. This process can take awhile, so CPMs won’t be able to practice immediately when the law goes into effect on July 1.  We are confident that the process will go as quickly and smoothly as possible, and we will have CPMs providing care in our state as soon as they can! WOOHOOO!!

From the bottom of our hearts, we want to say a huge thank you to all of you, our followers and supporters. Without your efforts in contacting legislators, helping with our luncheon, coming to Pierre to visit and lobby, PRAYERS, etc, etc, we couldn’t have pulled this off. We’ve been working for so many years *because* we care about you, South Dakota families, and your birthing rights and options.

Most importantly, this post absolutely wouldn’t be complete without giving God the glory. There were SO many little (and big) miracles and orchestrations along the way this year, and those of us spending time in Pierre felt His presence and peace all along the way. He had us and our bill in His Hands and without Him and all of YOUR PRAYERS, we would not have been able to do this.

WAY TO GO, SOUTH DAKOTA!!!! Families will benefit from your work for years to come!

WooooooooHooooooooo!!!! Let’s Celebrate!!!!!!!!!

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Huge Victory on the House Floor

Families across South Dakota are rejoicing that the South Dakota House of Representatives passed SB136, to license and regulate Certified Professional Midwives, with a vote of 52-16.  This happened on March 1 the 25th birthday of the baby whose birth began this long journey.  You can read more about this historic vote in the March 3rd Argus Leader article entitled Home Birth Advocates Near Historic Win.

We have met with the Governor and he has pledged to sign our bill. This will happen within the next 5 days and will make South Dakota the 32nd state to authorize the practice of Certified Professional Midwives.

The Governor’s office will be scheduling a time on March 27th for us to take a signing re-enactment picture with him.  Everyone who has helped in this effort over the last 25 years is welcome to come and be included in the picture.  We are planning a potluck lunch that day and a meeting to iron out details on a Family Fun Day Victory Party later this spring.  If you would like more details about any of these events please email us at info@sdbirthmatters.org.  More details will be posted on our Facebook Page as they become available.

A huge thank you to all of you who helped this year and all those who have helped in the years leading up to this epic win for home birth families.

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Senate Passes Midwife Bill 29-6!

On February 13th, the Senate Health and Human Services committee approved SB136, the act to license and regulate Certified Professional Midwives, on a vote of 4-1 after a two-hour hearing.    The photo shows some of our supporters who came to take part in the committee hearing. Two days later the full Senate debated the bill and passed it over to the House with a vote of 29-6.  Reporter Bob Mercer covered the story and it was run in many local papers.  You can view his article here:  With Senate’s ok, South Dakota looks to license midwives.

Now our supporters are gearing up for a hearing in the House Health and Human Services committee at 7:45 am on Tuesday, February 28th.  If we are successful in passing the committee, we expect SB136 to be debated on the House floor the following day.  Please check our Facebook Page or join or Facebook Group to get all the details of how you can help make South Dakota the 32nd state to authorize the practice of Certified Professional Midwives.

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Amazing News!

Families raise $20,0000!!!

We did it!  We all came together and reached the monumental goal of raising $20,000 to fund a midwife board to license Certified Professional Midwives in South Dakota.  A huge thank you to everyone who made this possible.  Now let’s finish strong as we move through the legislative process.

Our Midwife Bill, SB136, is scheduled for a committee hearing on February 13 at 10 am in Room 412.  We are thrilled that our prime sponsor and 3 co-sponsors are members of this committee.  Please contact the members of the Senate Health & Human Services Committee and thank them for:

Greenfield, Brock  being our Prime Sponsor
Jensen, Phil co-sponsoring
Killer, Kevin supporting us in the past
Klumb, Joshua co-sponsoring
Rusch, Arthur supporting us in the past
Soholt, Deb scheduling the entire committee hearing for our bill (Committee Chair)
Tapio, Neal co-sponsoring (Vice Chair)

(click on each name to learn more about each legislator including their contact information)

We also encourage you to contact your own Senator and Representative and ask them to support SB136, the bill to license Certified Professional Midwives.  We still have time to send handwritten notes to their home address.  Here is a sample note:

The Process

Our bill was first read on the Senate floor, assigned a bill number and committee.
The committee chair assigned it a hearing date. (February 13, 10am in Rm 412)
During the committee there will be:

  • Proponent Testimony
  • Opponent Testimony
  • Questions from the Committee
  • Discussion and/or Action from the committee
  • Vote (need 4 of the 7 to pass)

After passage of a committee, the bill will get it’s second reading on the Senate floor where it will be debated and voted on.  We anticipate our bill will get a floor debate on February 15th.  The floor session begins at 2pm.  Our bill will need 24 of the 35 Senators to vote Yes in order to pass.

If it passes it will have its first reading on the floor of the House the next day and be assigned to a House committee.  That committee chair will schedule a time for it to be heard in committee.  If it passes the committee (need 7 of 13) and the House floor (need 47 of 70), it will go to the Governor who can sign it, veto it, or let it become law without his signature.

In every step of the process we need your engagement.  Your visits with legislators,calls, letters, emails and phone messages are crucial to the passage of our bill to assure South Dakota families have access to Certified Professional Midwives.  Please consider attending a legislative forum in your area and asking your legislators if they will support SB136 which will give South Dakota families access to licensed Certified Professional Midwives.

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This is our year!

Happy New Year to you and your family! While we still have a lot of work ahead of us, there has never been a more favorable climate for passage of a bill to license Certified Professional Midwives in the twenty plus years that I have been advocating for this option.

  • Our prime sponsors are in key leadership positions.
  • The committees where we are usually assigned are supportive.
  • Many supportive legislators moved to the Senate.
  • We have the opportunity to educate many new legislators in the House.
  • The Board of Nursing and Dept of Health worked with us to craft our bill.
  • We have a great start to our fundraising campaign.

We have raised nearly $16,000 of the $20,000 we need to get an independent midwife board started.  Please help us reach our goal by sending a donation today to:

SD Birth Matters
1200 N Advantage Ave
Sioux Falls, SD 57103

Or

Donate on our Midwife Regulatory Fund Go Fund Me Page

Other ways to help:

If you have any questions about our bill or how you can help, please don’t hesitate to contact me.  Thanks for helping make 2017 our year!

Sincerely,
Debbie Pease, Lobbyist
South Dakota Birth Matters
debbie@sdbirthmatters.org
605-929-4933 (texts preferred)

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Events Being Held Across State

why-not-home-header

South Dakota Birth Matters supporters have been working tirelessly across the state to make sure 2017 is the year when a bill to license Certified Professional Midwives is passed in our state.  We are committed to raising $20,000 to help fund an Independent Midwife Board.  In fact the bill we will propose states that the Governor does not have to appoint board members until there is $20,000 in a Midwife Regulatory Fund.

Our efforts thus far have raised just over $14,000!  In a push to raise the remaining funds SD Birth Matters will be hosting screenings of the documentary Why Not Home? across the state.  This film tells the story of several health care professionals who deliver babies in the hospital but choose home birth for their own children’s births.  These professionals explore the risks and benefits of both locations and how working together can help improve safety for everyone.  Graphic birth scenes are included in the film, so audience discretion is advised.

We encourage you to attend a screening near you and please come prepared with a generous donation for the Midwife Regulatory Fund.

October 27         6:30 pm                 Mitchell              Public Library
October 28         7 pm                    Aberdeen             2210 Stone Gate Ct
November 4       6:30 pm                Rapid City           Journey Museum
November 5       3 pm                      Winner               United Methodist Church
November 12    1:30 pm                Watertown            Regional Library
November 20    1 pm                      Sioux Falls          The Bakery

Events will include time for discussion and/or a panel to answer your questions. Find out more about each event by clicking on the city.  Please help us spread the word by sharing these events on Facebook.

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“Why Not Home?” Documentary Coming to Rapid City

We are incredibly excited to bring the new documentary Why Not Home? to South Dakota.  A free screening is being offered at the Journey Museum in Rapid City on November 4.  The event begins at 6:30 pm and will include a panel discussion, local vendors and door prizes.  Keep abreast of updates on our Why Not Birth? Facebook Event Page.

family-why-not-home

About The Film

Dr. Michelle Minikel thought home birth was crazy–until she got pregnant. Turns out she’s not alone. Why Not Home? exposes a secret from within the medical community. A small but growing number of doctors, midwives, and nurses who attend birth in the hospital are choosing to have their own children at home.

Through the compelling stories of women who choose to go outside the hospitals where they practice to give birth, viewers experience the beauty and challenges facing families both at home and in the hospital in a way that hasn’t been seen before.

Beyond the personal stories, Why Not Home? is a critical and thoroughly researched look at how we are providing maternity care in the US and the choices we are giving women and families about that care. Maternal mortality rates are rising in the US at a time when they are falling in every other industrialized country. Why Not Home? chal­lenges viewers to move beyond the polarization and judgement that has plagued this issue for decades and instead embrace a more integrated and collaborative model for the future.

What if the choice of where to give birth wasn’t limited by cost or insurance coverage, fear or misinformation? What would change if families had access to the care provider of their choice in the setting that best fits their unique needs and values? It’s worth at least asking, “Why not home?”

Watch the trailer here and plan to join us at the Journey Museum in Rapid City on November 4th.

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Working Hard to Raise Funds

Our legislative team has been working hard this summer to update our Certified Professional Midwife licensure bill (you know, the one that almost passed in our 2016 legislative session).  One of the developments of this year’s session was an amendment to create a Midwife Regulatory Fund and the stipulation that the Governor does not have to appoint members to the proposed advisory committee until there is at least $20,000 in that fund.  We proposed this amendment to take away any argument that this bill was going to cost the state money.

Our proposed bill for 2017 will be asking for an independent board (like Wyoming) instead of an advisory committee under the Board of Nursing.  This is much preferred by the nurses, and we know this can work as long as we are able to raise some start-up money for the board.  We want to show legislators how much families want access to Certified Professional Midwives, by leaving the requirement to raise $20,000 in the bill.  Many legislators scoffed at the idea that our group could raise this kind of money.  We are determined to prove them wrong.

We are already off to a great start.  Thanks to our generous sponsors and lots of smaller donations and T-shirt sales, we have already raised $10,000!  Our next big push is already underway as our Rapid City supporters are planning a free movie screening of the film “Why Not Home?” at the Journey Museum on November 4th.  If you would like to help sponsor the Rapid City event, or sponsor a similar screening in your area, please contact Debbie at Debbie@sdbirthmatters.org.

Donations of any amount are always welcome.  If you want your donation to be designated for the Midwife Regulatory Fund, just tell us. You can donate via credit card or Paypal on our website’s home page or send a check to our treasurer at:

SD Birth Matters
℅ Julie Pease, Treasurer
1200 N Advantage Ave
Sioux Falls, SD 57014thanks-for-helping

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Help Our Families Access Midwives

Click here to buy shirts!

Click here to buy shirts!

Out of hospital birth is on the rise across the country and in South Dakota.  Unfortunately the midwives who specialize in out of hospital birth (Certified Professional Midwives) no longer practice in South Dakota since the state does not recognize their practice and has prosecuted and jailed them for assisting families. That is a big problem.

The Department of Health revealed during this year’s session that Certified Nurse Midwives (who are highly skilled midwives who primarily practice in the hospital setting) only attended 56% of South Dakota’s planned home births, leaving a large percent of home birth families with no access to care.  That is a big problem.

South Dakota Birth Matters is committed to solving these problems by working to change our midwife laws. This year the legislature came very close to passing our bill to license Certified Professional Midwives.  We are working harder than ever to craft a bill that will set up an independent board of midwives that can license Certified Professional Midwives, so that all families will have access to the care provider of their choice.

Your purchase of t-shirts and donations will go to our Midwife Regulatory Fund which will be used to set up a South Dakota Board of Midwives as soon as it is approved by the legislature.  Thanks so much for your help!

Click here to donate to the Midwife Regulatory Fund

Click here to purchase t-shirts

Please share our video with all your contacts!

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Moving Forward…Sponsors Needed

A huge thank you to everyone who made our Family Fun Day in Lake Norden on April 30th such a success.  It was a wonderful time to visit with friends and to meet new ones while enjoying the amazing food provided by our Hamlin County families.  And it turned out to be the perfect place to raise some money for our Midwife Regulatory Fund!

We have been meeting with the SD Board of Nursing and Department of Health about how to best draft next year’s midwife bill.  They both recommend that we set up an independent Board of Midwives.  While we totally agree with this, we recognize that this is going to create some fiscal challenges.  In South Dakota each board needs to be self-funded. While a board is allowed to operate in the red for a year or two while they are getting rules written and approved, they must prove that they can raise the money, usually via licensure fees, to cover their expenses.  Since we are not expecting to license a large number of midwives in the first few years, we are going to have to find another source of income for the board.

As we proposed during this year’s legislative session, we believe the families of South Dakota Birth Matters are willing and able to come up with the money necessary to get this board started.  While this type of grassroots funding for a board is unprecedented in South Dakota, there is nothing in the law that says a board cannot accept gifts or grants from individuals or organizations.

Our goal is to raise at least $20,000 by the start of the 2017 legislative session.  We are looking to Wyoming as a model.  They were in a similar situation in 2010, with no Certified Professional Midwives in the state ready to be licensed when their bill passed.  Their legislature gave them an appropriation of $20,000 to get started.  They enlisted the help of CPMs in neighboring states to sit on their board, and develop their rules and subsequently get licensed in the state.  They now have 12 CPMs licensed in the state – 7 of them that live in the state.

I have spoken with the Chair of the Wyoming Midwifery Board and she assures me that since the initial appropriation they have been able to operate their board without a deficit.  One of the key components of their law which helps them to do this is a per birth fee, which helps generate revenue to fund the board’s operating expenses.  We plan to incorporate a similar fee schedule in our bill.

Now we need to raise $20,000, and we have an amazing start.  We have already secured $6,450 for our Midwife Regulatory Fund from the amazing sponsors listed below…and we are just getting started.  Can you help us reach our goal by becoming a sponsor yourself or asking someone else to be a sponsor?  Any sponsor who gets their logo to us by May 14th will be included on the back of our new Birth Matters T-shirt.  So please don’t delay.

Please click the Sponsor Letter below to learn how easy it is to become a sponsor.

Thank Birth Matters Sponsors!

Sponsor Letter

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