It is with great pleasure that we bring you the following press release from the Midwives Alliance of Pennsylvania, whereas in the matter of Diane Goslin, Certified Practicing Midwife (it feels so good to write this) as to the charge of practicing medicine without a license. We want freedom:
The Midwives Alliance of Pennsylvania has announced today that The Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania has reversedthe September 2007 decision of the Pennsylvania Board of Medicine to order Lancaster County Certified Professional Midwife Diane Goslin to cease and desist from the practice of midwifery. Contrary to the Board of Medicine’s prior statements, the Commonwealth Court determined on Friday that, “…practicing midwifery cannot be construed to be the same as practicing medicine
and surgery.” The Board had wrongly contended that Goslin was in violation of the 1985 Medical Practice Act by practicing medicine without a license.
Additionally, The Commonwealth pointed out that the 1985 Act, “…authorizes the Board to impose penalties only upon persons who practice as a nurse midwife without a nurse midwife license.” Goslin as a Certified Professional Midwife is certified by the National Association of Registered Midwives (NARM) and is considered trained and qualified to attend out of hospital birth.
The Commonwealth Court‘s 5-2 ruling also overturned an $11,000 civil fine that the State Board of Medicine imposed on Midwife Diane Goslin. President Judge Bonnie Brigance Leadbetter and Judge Doris A. Smith-Ribner dissented, but did not file opinions explaining their votes. The Court further pointed out that the 1985 PA Nurse Midwifery Act, “…authorizes the Board to impose penalties only upon persons who practice as a nurse-midwife without a nurse-midwife license.” Goslin however practices as a Certified Professional Midwife.
Diane Goslin may now legally attend births in The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Goslin, 50, who lives near Strasburg in the heart of Lancaster County‘s Amish community, said today her interpretation of the ruling is that it allows her to resume deliveries. The state board of medicine couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.
The board took action against Goslin in early 2007, eventually fining her $11,000. The situation resulted in several occasions where hundreds of Amish men, women and children came to Harrisburg to rally in support of Goslin. The board can appeal to the state Supreme Court, no decision has been reached at this point whether they will pursue that course of action.The Midwives Alliance of Pennsylvania (MAP) is a professional trade organization representing midwives statewide. MAP membership includes midwives, students, and a supporting membership of other healthcare professionals and consumers. MAP affirms the unique fabric and diversity of midwifery in Pennsylvania and seeks to promote and preserve the art and craft of midwifery while serving as a self-governing and self-regulating sisterhood for participating midwives. The aim of this group is to successfully advance legislation for the recognition, regulation and licensure of Certified Professional Midwives in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
However, we do not rest as the Pennsylvania case may follow the same route as Connecticut whereby the Witch Hunt is on and midwifery may move towards licensing and regulation. Licensing is at issue in Kentucky and in Missouri:
As nice as that sounds for the majority of the American public who believes everyone needs a license, in this field the license in question is about regulation as in Nurse Midwifery. In America licensing means we will have more midwives going through med school and being trained in the medical model. One argument is that this means they will also be looking at birth as “risky business” and we will simply have wolves in sheep’s clothing attending our births. Another argument is why not hold our midwives to the same accountability we hold any other service provider, licensing may provide a means to keep that scorecard and may be what brings women’s health rights full circle and whole.
To get there, licensing midwives, we must first recognize what normal birth is. Thomas H. Strong, MD has said it, Marsden Wagner, MD has said it, Midwifery Today will keep saying it, Ina May Gaskin shows us and we in the trenches working with the women who are birthing have said it: birth care in America isn’t broken…it doesn’t work. We need midwives more than ever. Will we embrace them and support them in becoming experts in normal birth or will we prefer only shadows of truth, never to be blinded with truth?