This week in North Carolina, hearts of women all over the state looking to have a home birth broke with the arrest of Emily “Amy” Medwin on Sunday. She was charged with unauthorized practice of midwifery after a newborn she delivered was rushed to the hospital.
Unfortunately for the women of North Carolina, there are no laws regulating Certified Professional Midwives, which Amy Medwin is, leaving the option for out of hospital births by choice slim to none. Surrounding states such as Virginia, Tennessee, South Carolina, and Florida, North Carolina have laws on file permitting access of Certified Professional Midwives for childbearing women access to legally safe options for home birth in these midwives, who are specially trained as experts in the provision of out-of-hospital maternity care.
Because the state of North Carolina is lagging behind so many others on the licensing and laws regarding midwives, this opens these providers up to criminal prosecution for being an unlicensed health care practice, despite the fact that they are the primary care providers for women all across the United States who deliver their babies in private homes and freestanding birth centers.
On facebook, the shock and sadness from the North Carolina homebirth community can be felt all over the world, and even reached me in my home here in Connecticut, where trails are also pending on a midwife witch hunt locally.
One email said…
“CPMs are legally recognized in 27 states, but North Carolina is one of a handful of states that explicitly prohibit their practice. The arrest of one of the state’s most experienced and well-respected CPMs has sent shockwaves throughout the home birth community, leaving pregnant women across the state wondering if their midwife will be next.”
We can only hope for the women of North Carolina who would like to make their own informed choices on birthing that his law not only will be changed, but this midwife, Amy, will be able to continue to practice without fear or being arrested of jailed.