Let your legislator know they had a new constituent (your baby) born safely at home or at a birth center with a Texas Licensed Midwife!
Your right to choose your care-provider and your birth location is important and your Texas State Representatives and Senators should know that you intend to keep that right. Midwives in Texas are professional, licensed, and regulated by the Texas Department of State Health Services. We, as midwives, can advocate for safe quality of care, but ultimately, it's about your right to informed choice. You are your best advocate.
So, what can you do?
Find your legislators here. At this time, it is most effective to focus on your Texas State Senators and Representatives. Of course, it is always good to be in contact with the US Congress as well, but midwifery issues come before them much less often.
Announce your baby's birth! Ask your midwife, or the North Texas Midwives Association, for a postcard to send to your legislators. Your midwife should have them. If not, email firstname.lastname@example.org to request a postcard.
Email your Legislators. This is easier, but less effective than a handwritten letter. You will find email contact forms on their Legislative pages.
Write a handwritten letter and mail copies of it to both their Austin and local district offices. At the bottom of this page, you will find suggestions about what to include and not include in your letter. Keep it simple and direct about what you would like protected and why. Focus on facts of safety and law, not experience.
Tell your Legislators how you would like them to vote on specific bills. Contact the Association of Texas Midwives Legislative Chair (here) or the North Texas Midwives Legislative contact (email@example.com) for information on current bills that affect Midwifery.
Visit your Legislators at their offices. You can do this when they are at their home office in your district or you can attend a legislative day in Austin. (See contacts above for information about these days.) Be prepared with Talking Points, facts, and action items to share with them.
Ask to be added to the North Texas Midwives Association mailing list by sending an email indicating your desire to be contacted about legislative issues to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will then contact you when we are notified about bills that affect your right to birth out of the hospital with Licensed Midwives.
From the Citizens for Midwifery page:
“Your legislator wants to hear from you. Legislators like to know what you're concerned about and they have issues that mean a great deal to them. It's important then to understand what your legislator cares about, so you can tie home birth to those issues and connect with him or her more effectively.
You can stand up for homebirth choice whether you had one or not. This action is NOT about the homebirth experience. It IS about retaining our individual ability to decide where we will give birth and to not be penalized for exercising it.
We know that you understand the importance of this issue, but the more you know the better. Take the time to read the articles in the Important Information page, the Talking Points, and the materials we recommend including in packets for legislators. If you decide you need to know more, check out the Resources page.
Along with the key message points, briefly telling your story about why this issue is important to you can be very powerful. However, if you had or are planning a home birth:
DO NOT focus on how wonderful your "experience" was, since that tends to be one way the medical groups dismiss us (with the assumption that we put "experience" over safety.)
DO explain that you chose a midwife-attended home birth because this is a health-promoting choice, and make it clear that you made this choice consciously with plans should the hospital be needed.
Whether or not you had or planned a home birth, or even if you would never make that choice for yourself, DO explain why it is inappropriate and dangerous for the medical trade associations to be controlling these decisions for anyone.
Don’t hesitate because you think you don’t know enough, or don’t have time to communicate in depth and detail; even a brief handwritten letter gets attention. The idea is for legislators to hear from a lot of us, because they are certainly hearing from lobbyists for ACOG and AMA and their state chapters.”
If you have any questions any of our midwives are happy to help you. We need consumer advocates to help keep out of hospital birth legal!