Missouri State Law To Allow Midwives To Deliver Infants At Home

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Cole County, Mo., Circuit Court Judge Patricia Joyce on Tuesday issueda temporary restraining order blocking implementation of a new statelaw (HB 818) that allows midwives to deliver infants at home, the AP/Columbia Missourianreports. Current Missouri law bans midwifery except when done byphysicians or trained nurses under a doctor's supervision (Lieb, AP/Columbia Missourian, 7/4).

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Thenew law, which was signed by Gov. Matt Blunt (R) on June 1, includes aprovision that allows people with "tocological certification" topractice their craft. The Missouri State Medical Associationin a statement issued last month announced that it planned to file alawsuit to block implementation of the law, arguing that thelegislation enacting the law contained multiple subjects, whichviolates the state constitution. The measure dealt with expandinghealth insurance options for small businesses when it originally passedthe House. When the bill reached the Senate, Sen. John Loudon (R)revised it to include the "tocological certification" provision withoutinforming other lawmakers. Most of the bill will not take effect untilJanuary 2008, but the section on midwifery becomes effective in August.

According to Tom Holloway, a lobbyist for the medical association, the Missouri Association of Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons, the St. Louis Metropolitan Medical Society and the Missouri Academy of Family Physicians will be joining the lawsuit as co-plaintiffs. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists will be assisting with the lawsuit (Kaiser Daily Women's Health Policy Report, 6/20).

HarveyTettlebaum, an attorney representing the state medical association, ata court hearing on Tuesday said that women and infants could be placedat risk by allowing people who are not licensed by the state and haveno collegiate education in medicine to practice midwifery. He addedthat physicians who cooperated with lay midwives could also riskprofessional discipline by their state oversight board. Joyce scheduleda hearing to consider a preliminary injunction on the law for Aug. 2 (AP/Columbia Missourian, 7/4).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view theentire Kaiser DailyWomen's Health Policy Report, search the archives, and sign up for emaildelivery at kaisernetwork.org/email. The Kaiser Daily Women's Health Policy Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, afree service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

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