I was curious as to why Republican State Senator John Loudon has invested so much time and energy over the last several years to legalize midwifery in Missouri. Although I have lived and worked in several states, I canít recall knowing anyone who has used the services of a midwife.
I emailed Senator Loudon and asked him to enumerate the public policy issues which led him to sponsor this legislation. He replied that he asked himself the question: Would midwifery add freedom or reduce it for Missourians? For him, the answer was clear, it would provide more freedoms: Freedom to choose midwifery over a hospital service and freedom to choose a less expensive birth delivery service. Senator Loudon also pointed out that a recent study in the state of Washington indicated that $2.5 million dollars was saved annually in Medicaid costs because low income families used midwives instead of hospitals.
I am not qualified to comment on the medical issues involved in midwifery. However, 37 other states permit the practice and the law requires a rigorous training program before anyone can be certified to practice midwifery. Therefore, this new law is a sound medical service for the citizens of Missouri.
(The opinions expressed are not necessarily those of St. Louis Public Radio.)
Lowe "Sandy" MacLean is vice chancellor emeritus, University of Missouri, St. Louis, and is active in local political and community organizations, including the Grand Order of Pachyderms (GOP), a service organization for the Republican Party.