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Senate committee hears midwifery bill arguments

May 3, 2005
By: Victor Roberto
State Capital Bureau
Links: HB 36

Missouri senators consider a bill legalizing midwifery after it narrowly passed the House.

Victor Roberto has more from the state Capitol.

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Children, parents, and doctors overwhelmed a crowded hearing room in the Capitol to voice their opinions on midwifery.

O'Fallon Representative Cynthia Davis is fighting to allow women to give birth at home, without a doctor's help.

Midwifery has been a felony in Missouri since 1959.

And, in addition to Missouri, it's still illegal in 7 other states.

Dr. David Stewart testified in support of Davis' bill.

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Contents: The time has come to allow parents to make choices on their own rather than be forced to make choices they may not desire.

Critics argue that dangerous complications can arise during home birth that midwifes won't recognize.

From the state Capitol, I'm Victor Roberto.

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Rep. Cynthia Davis has taken her battle to legalize midwifery to a Senate committee.

Victor Roberto has more from the state Capitol.

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The committee heard arguments from supporters and opponents of the bill.

It would allow women to give birth at home without a doctor present.

Midwifery is currently a felony in Missouri...and O'Fallon Rep. Cynthia Davis says she wants women to be able to choose who helps them give birth.

Lawmakers from the Missouri House testified against Davis' bill.

St. Joseph Rep. Rob Schaaf says midwives wouldn't be able to handle emergencies during childbirth.

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Contents: Even the most safe pregnancy, the one they deem 'this is the safest one,' there is a chance that that baby will require emergency treatment to be saved.

Schaaf, who is also a doctor, says the bill puts children at risk.

From the state Capitol, I'm Victor Roberto.

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Supporters and opponents of midwifery voiced their opinions in a Senate hearing.

Victor Roberto has more from the state Capitol.

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Children, parents, and doctors on both sides of the fight to legalize home birth without a doctor crowded a Senate hearing room.

Supporters of the midwifery bill say women should have the right to choose who helps them give birth.

Under current Missouri law, midwives can be arrested and charged with a felony.

Cape Girardeau Sen. Jason Crowell leads the committee that will decide whether to send the bill to the full Senate for debate.

Crowell agrees Missouri should loosen its standards on midwifery, but finds problems with the bill.

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Contents: We go from one of the most outlawed midwife states to the most unregulated state in this bill.

Crowell is concerned because the bill doesn't specify how or who Missouri would license as a midwife.

From the state Capitol, I'm Victor Roberto.