Originally written November 18, 2010 9:44 pm

Yesterday was set to be a momentous day in Springfield.  Birth workers from varying parts of Illinois convened at the capitol to seal the fate of Senate Bill 3712, the Home Birth Safety Act.  For years, activist, birth workers, aspiring Certified Professional Midwives, and current CPMs have been in the trenches advocating for the legalization of Certified Professional Midwives in the state of Illinois.

For weeks (actually years), folk have been contacting their legislatures to let them know how important this bill is to them.  And it is important.

It’s important to community.  The necessity for viable, safe options for folks in communities where there is little to no access to prenatal care.  Because as we all know, when there are no options there is no voice.

It’s important to families.  Options need to be readily available so families can make informed decisions about how they birth their children safely. This is especially important since home birth outcomes are consistently better than hospital birth outcomes.

It’s important to babies.  Babies deserve peaceful beginnings.  They deserve patience and tenderness in their transition into this life and onto this earth.

It’s important for folks’ lively hoods.  It’s imperative that people have the right to a job, a career.  I should be able to be trained, licensed as maternity care provider, and decide this is my profession without the IL Medical Society doing everything they can to discredit the profession.

It’s important my culture.  Midwifery in the Black community is close to extinction.  It went from the granny and traditional midwives taking care of their communities when Black folks weren’t allowed to work nor participate in the health care system.  Some things, unfortunately, are still the same.

Yesterday in Springfield, the gallery was filled with mamas and babies, birth workers, midwives, and supports.  Rep after rep were called out of session to talk about why they should vote YES for SB3712 or to be thanked for supporting our efforts with a YES vote.

Once the bill was called on the floor (with all of us anxiously waiting in the balcony), Rep. Patricia R. ‘Patti’ Bellock (representing Woodbridge, Downers Grove, Hinsdale, Clarendon Hills, and Westmont) tried sabotage our bill with a procedural delay.  This has postponed the vote until Tuesday or Wednesday of  the first week in December.

So the fight is far from over.  If you are reading this, please call your state representative’s district office.  Request that they vote YES for SB3712, the Home Birth Safety Act.

You can look up your legislator’s info here: http://www.elections.il.gov/DistrictLocator/DistrictOfficialSearchByAddress.aspx

Once you know how your reps are, you can find their contact info here: http://ilga.gov/house/

Lastly, contact Governor Quinn and thank him for supporting SB3712 and ask him to sign the Home Birth Safety Act: http://www2.illinois.gov/gov/Pages/ContacttheGovernor.aspx

Still more work, but anything worth fighting for comes with a little hard work.

See you in Springfield!

Jeanine

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