Events Being Held Across State


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.


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

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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The Journey Continues

As I write this I am sitting in the hall behind the Senate chamber with one day left of session.  Two days ago our midwife licensure bill, HB1162, failed to get the 24 votes required to pass. (You can see how Senators voted here.)  Although this is not the outcome we were hoping for, we can take some comfort, that getting us this far in the process – farther than any other CPM bill has advanced in South Dakota – is starting to bring people to the table who were unwilling to work with us in the past.

We are committed to working with those who opposed this year’s bill to come back with a better bill next session.  This year’s work has not been in vain.  It has brought us much closer to our goal.  I am so incredibly grateful for all those moms and dads throughout the state who have been busily contacting legislators and educating them about the need for Certified Professional Midwives in our state.

I am very grateful for all the advice and support we received from the Certified Nurse Midwives who supported HB1162 and for the willingness of the South Dakota Nurses Association to meet with us early in the process and give us suggestions for improving the bill.

I am incredibly grateful for the 70 legislators (54 Representatives and 16 Senators) who voted in support of HB1162 and especially for our amazing prime sponsors Representative Kris Langer from Dell Rapids and Senator Brock Greenfield of Clark.  Please send a quick not of thanks if your legislator was one of the 70 who supported us this year.  (House Tally is here.)  The session is done tomorrow, so this is your last chance to send them an email on their state email address.

We are working on several events this summer.  Our first one is being planned tentatively for Saturday, April 30th at Lake Norden (southwest of Watertown).  This is the home district of our prime senate sponsor Brock Greenfield and we are excited to have him speaking to us about what we can do now to help us pass this next session.  Tentative plans have us meeting for coffee and homemade goodies at 9:30 am followed by a legislative wrap up and a Q & A about this year’s session.  The Hamlin County ladies are amazing cooks and will be providing a Deluxe Taco Bar for our lunch.  During the afternoon session we will have a panel discussion about what everyone can do to help moving forward.  We plan to wrap up the Silent Auction around 4:30 so everyone can be on the road by 5 pm.

We will be asking for a free will donation for the lunch and are planning on a Silent Auction fundraiser as well.  If you are willing to donate something for the Silent Auction, please contact Shannon Zeeb (text or call at 605-695-6030) or join the Facebook Event she started to organize the Silent Auction.

Thanks again for all your efforts this legislative season. Let’s keep the momentum going as we work to promote evidence based options that help families to thrive – including access to skilled midwives in the out of hospital setting.

Debbie Pease
SD Birth Matters

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Home Birth Families Rejoicing in South Dakota

Tuesday, February 23 was a huge day for home birth families throughout the state of South Dakota. After nearly 25 years of legislative efforts, the members of the House of Representatives voted 54 – 13 (with 3 excused) to pass HB1162, the bill that would license and regulate Certified Professional Midwives. Representatives Langer, Soli, May, Deutsch, Brunner, Haugaard, Hunt, and Heinemann spoke in favor of the bill and Representative Hunhoff spoke against the bill.

The sentiment was that this is a bill whose time had come. Home births are rising across the country and tripled in South Dakota from 2007 to 2013. The Department of Health’s handout showed that only 56% of home births in the last 5 years were attended by Certified Nurse Midwives, leaving 44% with no provider to care for them. Could this be the reason we are seeing an increased death rate among home birth infants? We believe providing these families access to Certified Professional Midwives could greatly improve these rates.

Even the opposing speaker, praised the efforts of the organization bringing the bill for the way they have persevered and their willingness to work with the opposition. There are still areas of disagreement with the organizations who spoke against the bill, but everyone acknowledged that much progress has been made in addressing their concerns.

Representative Roger Hunt, who was the first legislator to work with home birth families on legislation and who primed many midwife bills during his years in the legislature, asked the members of the body to consider going green as a gift to him on his birthday. After the vote count was read, many legislators burst into applause and someone yelled “Happy Birthday, Roger!” It was a great day to be a midwife supporter at the Capitol.

You can listen to the House Health & Human Services Committee Hearing and the Floor Debate at this link. (click on the blue eagle and fast forward to the time listed)

HB1162 will now be sent to the Senate for consideration where it will be assigned to a committee for a hearing. All bills need to be passed by March 11, the last regular day of session.

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Midwife Bills Scheduled for Hearings this Week

HB1162, the bill to license Certified Professional Midwives will be heard in the House Health and Human Services Committee on Tuesday, February 16, at 7:45 am in Room 412.  We will be offering an amendment that will help clean up the language in this bill and make it more workable for the Board of Nursing.  Those who are not able to make it to Pierre that morning can listen live at the LRC website.

Please contact members of the House Health and Human Services Committee and ask them to support HB1162.

Campbell, Blaine “Chip”
Conzet, Kristin
Deutsch, Fred
DiSanto, Lynne
Greenfield, Lana
Haugaard, Steven
Heinemann, Leslie
Holmes, Thomas
McCleerey, Steven
Munsterman, Scott
Sly, Jacqueline
Soli, Karen
Wollmann, Mathew

If HB1162 passes out of the House HHS Committee as amended, it should be scheduled for its second reading and a debate on the House floor on Thursday, February 18th.  Please contact your legislators on Wednesday and let them know that HB1162 made it out of committee and respectfully request their “Yes” vote on the floor.

SB117, our bill to allow Certified Professional Midwives who are licensed in other states to practice in South Dakota, is scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Health and Human Services Committee on February 19th.  If HB1162 passes the House, we will withdraw SB117.  If HB1162 does not pass the House we will go forward with the hearing for SB117 on the 19th.  Please be ready to contact the Senators on the Senate HHS committee, Thursday after session if necessary.

Bradford, Jim
Curd, R. Blake
Heinert, Troy
Jensen, Phil
Rampelberg, Bruce
Rusch, Arthur
Shorma, William

Please sign up for our Email Alerts and follow us on Facebook to get the latest news on these bills.

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Maternity Care Shortages in SD

We’ve created a new handout that demonstrates the gaps in maternity care in SD and how far some women need to drive to access maternity providers. Please feel free to share this with your community and your legislators!

Provider Shortage Handout–Printable PDF

Provider Shortage

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Advocacy Day Slideshow

Thanks to everyone who helped make our Birth Matters Legislative Advocacy a success! We appreciate everyone who contributed to and helped us serve our Healthy Birth Luncheon to the legislators.

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