Letter to Midwives, Clients and Supporters
June 28, 2010
Dear Midwives, Clients and Home Birth Supporters,
Here in Colorado we are fortunate to be one of only 27 states where it is legal for midwives to practice. This is due to the efforts of the Colorado Midwives Association (CMA) and our supporters, who triumphed in 1993 after more than a decade of effort. They worked tirelessly to legalize direct-entry midwifery. We now practice as “Registered Midwives” regulated by the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA). Colorado law dictates that DORA must conduct “sunset reviews” for all regulated professions, most commonly every 10 to 15 years.
The Sunset Process…
Homebirth midwives—Registered Midwives—must undergo the sunset review process in 2011. While the sunset review has the potential to limit our scope of practice, it is actually an opportunity to improve the way DORA regulates midwifery. DORA is in the process of evaluating the Colorado Midwives Registration Program, interviewing midwives, the Colorado Medical Society, the Colorado Board of Medical Examiners and the Colorado Nursing Association to name a few. They are reviewing current literature and relevant studies, along with the most recent statistical data. The DORA report will be published in October 2010 and will be considered by the Colorado General Assembly during the 2011 legislative session.
A Grassroots Campaign…
We are writing to you because this fall, all of the seats in the House and half of the seats in the Senate are up for election. This creates a HUGE opportunity for us. The newly elected legislators will vote on the homebirth legislation in the spring—so, if we can show them support during their campaigns, they may be willing to support us next year during the Legislative Session. Therefore, in order to succeed in 2011, we need to gather the support of homebirth advocates throughout the state. The CMA is compiling a database of supporters in order to get people elected who know and support Colorado midwives and homebirth. This is our best strategy for successful legislation in 2011 and we need your help! We need names, mailing addresses, phone numbers and email addresses of people who are willing to be involved in this effort. We can accept pre-compiled lists; individuals are invited to sign up on the CMA website, www.ColoradoMidwives.org.
How You Can Help…
This summer, the CMA will ask supporters to participate in helping elect candidates who support homebirth. During the 2011 legislative session (January through May), the CMA will ask individuals to let their Senators and Representatives know about homebirth at strategic times during the process. Different members of the legislature are on different committees, and contacting them right as the bill reaches them is the best time to ask for their support. Overall, we expect to contact the whole list of supporters only a handful of times during this election season and the legislative session next year. Of course we’ll never sell or share this contact database with anyone else. And, if anyone on our list chooses not to be involved, we will take them off the list and not contact them again.
Our legislators need to hear from us about the importance of maintaining home birth as a safe and legal option in Colorado. If we work together, we will succeed. Please, if you have any questions or concerns, contact anyone on the legislative committee.
With gratitude for all your support,
The Colorado Midwives Association Legislative Committee: Karen Robinson, CMA President; Jan Lapetino, CMA Secretary; Laura Luckett, Colorado Springs; Kathryn Raynes, Lakewood; Jennifer Dossett, Boulder; Jennifer Barr, Carbondale
August 17, 2010 Update
The CMA has formed a PAC!
A PAC is a Political Action Committee, the purpose of which is to elect political candidates and advance a political issue.
So...not hard to guess that we're now in the business of making donations to political candidates who are running for election this fall. We formed this PAC at the suggestion of our lobbyist, who feels it is an important way to get our name known in the political world of candidates and races this fall--with results expected during the legislative session next year.
Two members of our Legislative Committee, Kathryn Raynes and Jan Lapetino, took the initiative and did the work to get our PAC on the books! Now, we've got a solid way to be able to make some valuable connections during this election cycle, and we look forward to the payoff next year.
The key issue as we head into legislative campaign season is that we need seed money to go into the PAC account. Colorado state law limits PAC donations to $200-$400 per candidate, depending on the type of race, and we need to raise several thousand dollars to spread across several important candidate races.
The Internet is an amazing place. I know that I can place this message here on the CMA Website and if every person who read this message sent in even just $10, we would be well on our way towards filling up our PAC fund. Please, if you're reading this, consider sending us a check. Any amount will be gratefully received.
To help wrap our minds around the financial power people giving birth at home in Colorado have, here is a little tidbit: there are around 600 home births in Colorado every year. If every midwife or parent donated $25 for their beautiful home birth this year, we would have $15,000 in our PAC! We definitely have power in our numbers!
And every penny would be used to tell legislators how important our bill is, how important it is to keep home birth legal in Colorado. None of it goes to our lobbyist, none of it goes to the CMA--it is all specifically to be used for the purpose of furthering our political goal. If you are able to send even a small amount, it will be so, so helpful. And if you have friends or family who are willing to donate to the CMA's PAC, please send them our way!
We can take checks or cash, sent our Post Office Box in Boulder. Make checks out to CMAPAC.
PO Box 1067
Boulder, CO 80306
June 21, 2010 Update
Time to post a brief update about what has been happening in the past few months. You'll see it hasn't been much, as we are still just getting started on this whole process. But it's been consistent and is evenly ticking along, in just the way we hoped.
- March 9th - Jan Lapetino, Leo Boyle and I met with Vivienne Belmont in the DORA offices. We provided her with the list of hoped-for changes that was developed at the March 6th meeting and had a nice initial discussion about the upcoming Sunset.
- April 28th - Jan and I met with Vivienne again to answer Vivienne's questions about what prenatal, intrapartum and postpartum care looks like in a planned homebirth with Registered Midwives. Vivienne had some well-informed questions about what we do and we enjoyed discussing our profession with her.
- May 21 & 22 - CMA Spring Conference featuring Ina May Gaskin. 85 people attended the professionals conference each day, and over 300 people attended the special Parent's Night. This conference went a long way toward raising funds for lobbying, and also gave us a great start on our supporter lists.
- May 28th - Jan, Jennifer Braun and I met with Leo Boyle in Denver to discuss initial strategy relating to elections this fall. Leo's suggestion is that we help with campaigns and let the candidates know that we support them--so that they will support us next year. For now, the CMA needs to collect contact information for people who would be willing either to work on campaigns this fall, or to be in contact with legislators next spring as we work through the Sunset process.
- June 4th - Initial meeting of the CMA Legislative Committee to review current status of our legislative effort and assign tasks to committee members. Initial tasks include contacting all practicing midwives in the state to request supporter lists.
The CMA Legislative Committee includes:
Karen Robinson, CMA President
Jan Lapetino, CMA Secretary
Laura Lucket, Colorado Springs
Jennifer Dossett, Boulder
Kathryn Raynes, Lakewood
Jennifer Barr, Carbondale
March 6, 2010 Update
State Midwives Meeting at the Whole Foods Market at I-25 and Washington St. in Denver. We invited all Registered Midwives and their apprentices to come share their ideas about how they would like the Bill to look next year. 30 people (including Leo Boyle, our lobbyist) attended. Following a brief introduction to the Sunset process by Vivienne Belmont, Policy Analyst with the Department of Regulatory Agencies Office of Policy, Research and Regulatory Reform, we had a lively 2-hour discussion during which we defined what changes we'd like to see included in the Sunset Report that Ms. Belmont will write. We finished the meeting with a clear idea of what we think a good law would look like, and what our bottom line might be regarding items we would not want included.
Tuesday (March 9) will be the first meeting between the CMA and Vivienne Belmont to discuss how midwives regulation in Colorado is going.
We hope to host another meeting for all Colorado Registered Midwives in about 6 weeks or so, to update everyone on our progress and get new input/reactions to where we are at that point.
For now, I need two things from everyone:
- Membership in the CMA. If you're not a member, please join! If you've let your membership lapse, please rejoin! We need all the members we can get as we head into the elections this year and committees next year!
- Supporter Lists. I need names and contact information of people from all over the state who would be willing to help us as we work on the Colorado Legislative campaigns this year. Please email me what you've got in either Excel (preferred), or Word, or even just in an email message. If you can't manage that, I'll take written lists and then incorporate them into my spreadsheet!
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