Monday, April 03, 2006

In the news: Midwifery and the law

Where I live, it is not yet legal to practice midwifery. That is to say, delivering a baby and providing pre- and post-partum care constitutes the practice of medicine, which requires a license generally available only to physicians. There's currently a bill awaiting the governor's signature that would establish standards for and legalize the practice.

The NYT reports today on an Indiana case in which a woman is being prosecuted for practicing midwifery. A baby delivered by the midwife died, although both sides apparently agree that the midwife wasn't responsible. I'm not sure whether I think midwife delivery is a good idea or not, although as a male of the species, I'm pretty sure it's none of my goddam business. Snip:
'No one complains until a baby dies or a mom dies,' Professor Tovino said. But once the issue arises, she said, legislatures often become involved as well, with doctors and midwives engaging in a bitter struggle over the proper regulation of midwives, one driven by a mix of motives that are difficult to disentangle. 'There has always been a tension between true quality-of-care concerns and anticompetitive concerns,' Professor Tovino said.
(free reg req'd)

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