Doctors and midwives are going to meet each other in court to decide if midwives can work without a doctor’s supervision in Missouri. The Missouri State Medical Association will file a suit within two weeks challenging the midwife law that some say was sneakily passed by the legislature this year.
The two sides strongly disagree on health issues, but the heart of the challenge will focus on the way words legalizing midwifery were put into a health insurance bill.
Tom Holloway, lobbyist for the medical association, says the state constitution prohibits legislation from having more than one topic that is not clearly stated in the bill’s title. He says the title of the bill had to do with health insurance and lay midwifery "does not even remotely" relate to health insurance.
Oh yes, it does, says his counterpart for the midwives, Mary Ueland. She says the bill was about providing lower-cost health care insurance, and midwives provide a service for people who cannot afford health insurance or hospital delivery.
The medical association says that’s quite a stretch. The midwives say doctors just want to maintain a monopoly on birth. The medical association says the issue has nothing to do with business—it’s a matter of health and welfare of the public. And whether the legislature acted constitutionally.