The Missouri State Medical Association and other medical groups have filed a lawsuit against the new law legalizing lay midwives. The MSMA is the lead organization in the suit.
The lawsuit says the bill passed by the legislature violated constitutional rules for bill-drafting and its failure to require state licensing of midwives endangers people. The midwife language was inserted as an amendment to a bill dealing with health insurance; a move the association says violates the constitutional standard that prohibits unrelated issues from being put together in one bill.
Lobbyist Tom Holloway with the medical association says there is a way to legalize lay midwives. He says proper license and oversight authority is needed. He says a collaborative arrangement would have to be arranged with a physician and an emergency transfer agreement would have to be in place allowing for immediate transfer to a medical facility.
Spokesman Mary Ueland of the Missouri Midwives Association says state regulation would be okay. But she says the Missouri State Medical Association does not want to negotiate on that. She says obstetricians do not want to negotiate because they want to maintain their monopoly on the birth business. She also says the medical association might talk about collaborative agreements with doctors, but requiring midwives to have those arrangements while not requiring doctors to agree to them would leave lay midwives under control of the doctors.
(The audio file attached with this story is an exchange of comments by Holloway and Ueland discussing the acceptability of a state licensing board, other things that would be acceptable to the association that would legalize lay midwives, and a discussion of problem births)