To whom it may concern,
I am writing concerning an article that was published on the front page of the Reader on June 20, 1997. It was entitled "Labor Dispute." The author was Angela Bowman. It was a very well researched, thoughtful article. However, it did contain a critical error. Traditional midwives, or direct-entry midwives (sometimes mistakenly called lay-midwives) are not illegal in the state of Illinois. They are not mentioned anywhere in the state law. There is no proviso for them, nor are they prohibited. This is an important fact that is often misinterpreted.
I would like to draw your attention to some recent events. The Illinois Department of Professional Regulation is on a witch hunt. They have taken it upon themselves to perform a sting operation to flush out midwives in Illinois. They have issued cease and desist orders to four Illinois midwives that they have accused of practicing medicine without a license. The medical practice does not define caring for pregnant women (women with a normal human condition) as practicing medicine. The IDPR, it would seem, is making up their own rules. They are trying to take away choice from childbearing women and line the pockets of physicians. It's no coincidence that the headquarters of the American Medical Association and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists are housed in Chicago.
If you would like more information regarding these events please contact Mothers for Midwifery, a consumer advocate group, at 773-481-9718.
Kara M. Flowers
Angela Bowman replies:
The question of whether pregnancy is a medical or a "normal human" condition--and whether caring for pregnant women constitutes medical practice--indeed lies at the heart of the entire debate surrounding childbirth alternatives. While I am inclined to agree with Ms. Flowers on this matter, it is clear that significant portions of the Illinois medical establishment, including the IDPR, do not.