April 2014 Legislative Update from CFIM

2014 April CPM Legislation Update April 14, 2014

Greetings from the Coalition for Illinois Midwifery! It’s time for an update on our CPM licensure efforts. We are currently in the second year of the Illinois legislative cycle. In general, not many bills advance during the second year because it is an election year. We have been trying to get one of our three bills moving, but as of the end of March, we have passed the deadline for passing a bill through a House committee. So for now, our bills are considered dead. Having revived a bill once before, we have learned that such bills are not truly expired until the end of the legislative cycle in January when the new General Assembly is sworn in. However we also know it takes very unusual circumstances to revive them between the committee deadlines and the following January.
CFIM will certainly notify the community if any circumstances arise that might get any of our bills moving again during this current cycle, but in the meantime, we will be turning our focus to a number of effective actions the home birth community can take to help insure that if we submit a bill next year, the issue will still be very much alive in the minds of our legislators.

Here are those actions in order of importance:

1) Get involved in the campaign of any current legislator or new candidate. He or she does not have to be someone in your own district. They just need to be someone you feel you can support. Contact their campaign office and offer to make calls from a script or put stamps on envelopes or walk neighborhoods with the candidate. Do anything you feel you can do, and while doing it, let anyone you talk to know your issue is home birth and midwifery. Wear a Got Midwife Button or put a Born at Home T-shirt on your baby if they come with you. This summer and into autumn is the time to do this.

2) Please respond enthusiastically and quickly to any action alert we send out. And please consider supporting even if you are not fully satisfied with the exact language of any bill we might be promoting at the moment. CFIM’s board consists of a balance of leadership members from both Illinois Friends of Midwives (ILFOM) and the Illinois Council of Certified Professional Midwives (ICCPM). As a board we discuss, in depth, the consequences of any concessions we might make In any bill. We calculate carefully based on input from the ILFOM and ICCPM groups as well as from the national CPM Licensure “think tank,” The Big Push for Midwives. We also factor in advice from an experienced Springfield lobbyist and from our bill’s sponsors. We also factor in more than three decades worth of experience in submitting licensure bills in Illinois. We’ve learned that in Illinois, when a bill passes, no one ever gets exactly what they wanted. Compromise and baby steps are the name of the game here. Any bill we ask you to support has been carefully weighed with all of this in mind.

3) Visit your legislator in their home office during the summer. Bring others from the district with you as well. If you feel unsure about how to conduct such a meeting, let us know by posting on ILFOM. ILFOM will get the request back to us and we will do our best to send someone from the CFIM board with you. During your visit, let your legislator know how important it is to you that home birth midwives be allowed to practice legally in Illinois. Point out that the 7 nurse-midwife practices who attend home births in Illinois are not nearly enough to cover the state, especially because only two of those practices are south of I88. Let them know community midwives fill the gaps as best they can, but they cannot legally have the things that make home birth safer – oxygen, anti-hemorrhage medications and physician backup. To make home birth safe, we need community midwives to be legal. The CPM credential would ensure these midwives have met a national standard that 28 other states recognize.

If your legislator is experienced and seems particularly enthusiastic about our issue or shows an interest in really learning about it in depth, ask if they would consider becoming a sponsor next time we file a bill. Our current chief sponsor, Toni Berrios, lost her primary. So she will not be back. Our other past chief, Robyn Gabel is expected to return, but we can always use additional chief and co-sponsors. Once you’ve met, please inform ILFOM or ICCPM leadership of the outcomes of any meetings .

4) Please help create fundraisers to help CFIM pay for lobbying expenses when our bills are in play. If you cannot create a fundraiser, please attend any you hear about. ILFOM and ICCPM both sponsor these events and give a considerable portion toward lobbying.

With your help on all four of these fronts, it is our hope that in January 2015, when the 99th Illinois General Assembly is sworn in, we will have a strong groundwork already in place to support any home birth bills that we submit. None of this can happen however, without YOU. Please make home birth activism a priority for the rest of this year, so we can finally legalize the majority of home birth midwives in Illinois!

Best Wishes from your CFIM Board:
Rachel Dolan Wickersham, CPM – President CFIM and ICCPM
Vicki Johnson, CPM – Sec/Treasurer CFIM and ICCPM
Tonesha Cross, SCPM – Vice President CFIM , ICCPM board
Hillary Shirven
Audrey Stillerman, MD
Ashley Price – President ILFOM
Carrie Vickery – ILFOM board
Trish Sherman Pfeiffer – ILFOM board

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