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Birth Rally in Maryland Supporting CNMs – 2/25/08

Why come to the rally? Birth centers are closing, midwives are limited in their ability to practice their profession and Maryland women and families are suffering because they do not have better access to midwifery care. You can change that!

How does HB 1407 change this? Certified Nurse Midwives (CNMs) must get an obstetrician to sign a form agreeing to essentially be available 24/7 for that midwife in order for that midwife to obtain a license. This is problematic for three reasons: 1) midwives’ careers should not be under the control of an obstetrician with whom they compete for clients! Obstetricians are trained in surgery and high risk pregnancies and should not control the well-woman care and the pregnancy care of a low-risk mother choosing a midwife as her care provider. 2) Some obstetricians really want to support CNMs but hesitate to sign this form because doing so makes them afraid they will be liable
for that midwife’s actions. This is not fair to the obstetrician either! 3) This law is redundant. The Standards of Practice that CNMs must abide by already requires them to have a written plan for consultation, collaboration and referral to medical care when appropriate.

Your presence at the rally gives women a voice and supports the House Bill that will change the current law!

What is the schedule for HB 1407?
Monday, Feb 25 – Rally
March 14 – Committee has hearing on HB 1407
March 17 – House delegates vote on HB 1407

What if I cannot attend the rally? Then, please read the next email coming that tells you how to write a letter to your delegate and send it either snail mail (preferred) or by email. Please copy all letters to Mairi Rothman.

For more info about the rally, see below…

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CALLING ALL BIRTH OPTIONS ADVOCATES!
(especially those in Maryland)

We have a bill! The Birth Options Preservation Act is House Bill 1407.

This bill proposes to end the requirement that nurse midwives practicing in Maryland have a written agreement with a doctor. This will go a long way to ensuring greater access to nurse midwives throughout the state! Final language is now available on the web site, directly from
http://mlis.state.md.us/2008rs/billfile/hb1407.htm. That page will also throughout the process have up-to-date public information on the bill.

You have all been asking for some time now: what can we do to help ensure that practices like the Takoma Women’s Health Center and the Maternity Center stop closing? Well, here is something you can do right now: We need to all work together to make sure this bill passes! We have the sponsoring Delegates and their staffs all working hard, lobbying not only their colleagues, but
other interested organizations, and things are looking very positive, but without the VISIBLE and AUDIBLE support of midwives and their clients or would-be clients, legislators have no reason to listen.

LET’S GIVE THEM SOMETHING TO LISTEN TO!
Below are instructions and driving directions for attending a Nurse-Midwives Rally Night on Monday, February 25th, in Annapolis. Yes, it is a long drive for some of us, but the forecast is for sun and mild temperatures, and we urge you to try your very best to get there, to stand and be counted. This bill could make a huge difference for the women of Maryland ! If this law had been in affect 5 years ago, some of the midwifery practices which were forced to close over the past few years might still be open.

Here’s how you can help:

1. Come to the Rally! We will gather for inspirational speeches from legislators, midwives and clients, then go to visit our legislators, armed with talking points and other materials to make our case. We will try to send a midwife with as many groups of consumers as possible. They love hearing from constituents, and will be very welcoming!

2. Bring your family and friends to the rally! Post this announcement on any listserves you are on, put up a notice up at work, post it at your favorite coffee shop, nursery school, pediatricians, etc.

3. Write to your legislators! Whether you attend the rally or not, it is a good idea to write to your legislator and let them know you support HB 1407. Email your letter to your friends and family and encourage them to write to their legislator, too!

4. Volunteer to help the legislative committee! In the next ten days, we will be doing phone calls to members, and to legislators to set up appointments. We can use all the help we can get! Please contact Mairi Breen Rothman to let her know if you will come to the Rally, and how many friends you hope to bring with you. We can help you identify your legislator, so we can make appointments for you to visit your own delegates when you come to Annapolis . (Don’t worry—you’ll go in a group with a packet of information!) If you can’t come, you can still write to your delegate, and we would be happy to give you sample language, so contact Mairi even if you
can’t come! Please call Mairi or Tina with any questions (Mairi 301-674-9976,
Tina 410-937-5824)

Hope to hear from ALL of you in the next couple of days. If we all work together, we CAN make this happen!
Mairi Breen Rothman & Tina Fisher, Legislative Liaisons
American College of Nurse-Midwives , Maryland Chapter
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Nurse-Midwives Lobby Night in Annapolis
Where: Rally @ the Assembly Room (rm. 114) of the Office of the Comptroller
* Enter at the front door on Calvert Street
* All visitors are required to sign in at the front desk with the
Department of General Services Police. Be prepared to show identification
* Parking information listed below! 
* Rally begins @ 6:00 P.M (Please arrive by 5:45!)
* Please plan on being at the Assembly Room by 5:45 P.M. to begin the rally promptly
* Plan on arriving in the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium parking lot by 5:00 P.M. in order to arrive by shuttle on time
* Park: Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, 550 Taylor Avenue, Annapolis, MD 21401

Due to severe parking restraints in the area around the Maryland State Government Complex, we recommend that you park in the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium visitor’s parking lot. A shuttle service will pick you up in the visitor’s lot and bring you to the Complex, which is only a 2-3 minute ride. Please be prepared to pay a maximum of $5 for parking.

Directions (from Washington, D.C. metro area):
Take the Beltway and merge onto US-50 East towarAnnapolis. Get off at Rowe Boulevard South, exit 24, toward Annapolis. Stay in the far right lane as you exit Route 50 onto Rowe Blvd/Md-70 east. Make a right at the second traffic light onto Taylor Avenue/MD-435. The Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium will be on your right before you turn. After turning onto Taylor Avenue, turn at the second entrance to the stadium lot, posted “visitor’s parking.”

Visitors are required to withdraw a ticket from the parking meter machine at the bus stop. If the machine is broken, do not worry about getting a ticket. Depending on when you leave the lot, you will most likely not be required to pay the parking fee. BE PREPARED TO, THOUGH! Take the shuttle bus to the Department of Legislative Services stop, the last one on the loop (do not hesitate to ask the driver for assistance). When you get off, you will be on College Avenue between the Department of Legislative Services Building and the Lowe House Office Building, adjacent to Bladen Street. Proceed down the left side of Bladen Street until you reach the corner of Bladen and Calvert Street. The Office of the Comptroller will be right in front of you! Enter at the front door.

Contact Information

Mairi Breen Rothman – Legislative Liaison, American College of Nurse Midwives Maryland Chapter (301) 674-9976
Patrick Metz – Legislative Director for Delegate Heather R. Mizeur (301) 858-3493

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