Our organization was founded in 1992 as South Dakota Safe Childbirth Options when concerned families from across the state joined forces to advocate for access to midwives. At that time the South Dakota Department of Health began targeting midwives who provided out-of-hospital maternity care by sending out cease and desist letters. In 2003, two midwives were jailed for practicing as nurse midwives without a license.
These actions by the Department prompted our organization to focus our energy on educating the public and our elected officials on the merits of out-of-hospital birth with Certified Professional Midwives, who are specifically trained in out-of-hospital maternity care.
We have hosted an annual birth conference since 1993 where we have enjoyed such distinguished speakers as Michel Odent, Marsden Wagner and Henci Goer. We also have maintained a strong presence in the state legislature, helping to pass the following legislation to help expand and protect options for South Dakota families:
- Affirm the rights of family members to assist at out-of-hospital births. 1998
- Allow the opportunity for Certified Nurse Midwives to attend out-of-hospital births. 2008
- Remove the repeal clause on the 2008 nurse midwife law. 2010
- License birth centers. 2011
- Exempt certain breastfeeding mothers and new parents from jury duty. 2012
- Define health care sharing ministries and exempt them from the insurance code. 2012
In 2011 we chose the theme Birth Matters for our East River and West River conferences, because this theme demonstrates very concisely the heart of our organization. Through our work of advocating for expanded birth options for our families, we have become the leading consumer group in South Dakota on all issues relating to birth.
In January 2012 our board began taking steps to change our name to reflect the growth our organization has experienced over the years. The name “South Dakota Birth Matters” encompasses our mission to continue improving and expanding all birth options for families in the state through education and legislation.http://sdbirthmatters.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/googlef80ea5dd339154db.html