Wednesday, November 28

Local woman wants law to let midwives practise in the Atlantic

Kathleen MacDonald was birthed by a midwife and she doesn’t see any reason why midwives shouldn’t be able to practise their art in this province.

MacDonald has been circulating a petition calling on the province to enact midwifery legislation. So far, she’s gathered about 400 names. Copies of the petition are available for signing at the Women’s Centre in Corner Brook, along with several locations on the west coast, including the Newfoundland Aboriginal Women’s Network in Stephenville.

She said the country’s other nine provinces have legislation covering the practice of midwives — Nova Scotia added their law last November. That means Newfoundland and Labrador does not have a framework in which midwives can work.

A midwifery implementation committee was struck by the Health department in November of 1999, but it did not bear fruit.

In 2003, a report entitled The Newfoundland and Labrador Midwifery Consultation Meeting Final Report points out a path toward legislation.“Women in Newfoundland should enjoy the privileges other provinces have — plus it’s a gentler, cheaper method,” MacDonald said. “The government says there’s not enough money, the nurses are crying, the doctors are crying there’s not enough nurses, there’s not enough doctors. Bring back the midwives. When you’re pregnant, you’re not sick, you’re pregnant, so why should doctors be spending time with women who aren’t sick.”

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