Thursday, January 17, 2008

Year in Review, Part 18

The Midwifery Law Goes to Court....

Soon after Governor Blunt signed the midwifery bill into law, we began to hear rumblings that the state medical associations were thinking of taking the state of Missouri to court over the midwifery law that had been passed. We thought they must be bluffing... after all, a case like this would cost them hundreds of thousands of dollars. Surely, they didn't think legal midwives were that big of a deal. But apparently they did (and do)!

In late June I got the fateful call from a Missouri newspaper reporter saying, "I'm sure you heard that the medical associations just filed a lawsuit alleging that your midwifery provision was unconstitutional to be included in that bill... What does your organization think about this new development?"
I had to call him back, because I honestly had no response except shock at that point.

My life changed forever that day. Summer became one long blur of interviewing attorneys, learning what words like "amicus curiae" and "Brandeis brief" mean, talking to the media over and over and over and over again, finding homebirth families who were willing to be interviewed to be on television and in the newspapers, and then, once we hired one of the best constitutional lawyers in the state to defend our law, coming up with tens of thousands of dollars to pay him every month or two! The whole court case has stretched my faith, my brain, and my abilities.

The midwifery case was set to be heard on August 2nd in the local circuit court where it was filed. National Fox news as well as practically every media outlet in Missouri planned to cover the story, so along with educating our attorneys on midwives and helping with the case, we planned a huge rally at the Capitol and begged supporters from all over the state to be there on the day of the hearing. The night before the rally and court hearing, a couple dozen people came into town to help with planning and preparing for the rally the next day.

Planning meeting over dinner

After dinner, and figuring things out for the morning, we headed over to the Cole County Courthouse where other supporters were holding a candlelight vigil from 9 pm - midnight.
When we showed up, the crowd was scarce, but there were several reporters there, shooting some film for the 10 o' clock news. Once they left, everyone relaxed a bit more and discussed what might happen in coming days. I enjoyed the chance to just sit quietly and think about all that had happened and muse on what the future might hold. Truly, it was and still is both scary and exciting, especially as my life has become so intertwined with the whole cause.

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