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MONDAY, MARCH 26, 2007
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Midwives to push for legalization in Alabama

MONTGOMERY (AP) — Kara Johns of Birmingham wanted to have her baby delivered in a home.

To do that legally she had to drive 120 miles while in labor to a little house in Tennessee, just over the Alabama line, to have her baby delivered in a home by midwives.

Alabama law does not currently allow midwives to be paid to deliver a baby in a home. A bill sponsored by Rep. Laura Hall, D-Huntsville, before the Alabama Legislature would change that law. The state medical association is lobbying against the bill.

The midwives who delivered Johns’ baby were Jennifer Crook Moore of Vestavia Hills and Karen Brock of Cullman.

Midwives and their supporters are planning a rally at the Statehouse in Montgomery on Thursday to push for the legislation.

“The way this law will get passed is by the public calling for it and the legislators feeling the pressure,” said Moore, who is helping organize the rally.

“It’s only going to be if they realize that people are doing this anyway. They’re going to do it on their own or on their way to other states. By failing to license midwives, you’re asking people to birth unassisted.”

Alabama is one of 10 states that prohibit what’s called direct-entry midwifery. That means paying someone other than a nurse or doctor to attend a birth outside a hospital.

It is legal to use certified nurse-midwives, but they usually deliver babies in a hospital or birthing center.

No Birmingham hospitals offer the service and UAB’s midwifery program closed in 2002. Only a handful of nurse-midwives practice in the state.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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