California Medical Board: Drop the case against Brenda Capps, a traditional midwife
Brenda Capps was arrested in California on November 15th for "Practicing Medicine Without A License" after 22 years of faithful service to women throughout California. Each family who hired her, knew with full disclosure that she was not a licensed Midwife, and many families hired her BECAUSE of that fact. Brenda did nothing wrong and is being unfairly prosecuted. This is an issue of basic reproductive freedom for all women in California.
- Majida Ibrahim, Senior Investigator, Office of Safe Medicine
California Medical Board
- President, CA Medical Board
- District Attorney
We are writing to urge you to drop the case against Brenda Capps, a traditional midwife who has served families in California for 22 years, and to stop the unjust harassment of experienced Midwives who have done nothing wrong.
Women should have the freedom to choose what type of care provider they have attend them in childbirth, including unlicensed Midwives. This is a basic reproductive right. To prosecute Midwives for "Practicing Medicine Without a License" is to prosecute for something that is not even taking place. Practicing Midwifery simply entails supporting a woman with a low-risk pregnancy through a physiologic event in her life. Practicing Midwifery is NOT practicing Medicine. We urge the California Medical Board to drop the case against Brenda Capps and make Licensure for Midwives OPTIONAL in the state of California, understanding that practicing Midwifery is a traditional art. Give women the respect of choosing their own care provider, without risk to the Midwives who are called to support them.
Each and every family whom Brenda has served over the past 22 years has known, with full disclosure from Brenda, that she was not licensed but rather practicing Midwifery (which is NOT the same as medicine) under a religious exemption as a Christian Domiciliary Midwife. Each client signed a statement, acknowledging Brenda's position as such. Brenda Capps did nothing illegal. Not once did she ever claim to be a Licensed Midwife in the state of California.
It is our understanding that the LMPA ONLY makes it a public offense to use the title Licensed Midwife if indeed one is not a licensed midwife. However, that same section of the LMPA never makes the practice of midwifery, per se, a crime. California statutes define midwifery as 'assisting a woman during normal birth without the use of artificial, forceable or mechanical means' as the lawful scope of practice of licensed midwifery. However, the LMPA does NOT identify the practice of midwifery as the exclusive entitlement of professionally-licensed midwives.
It has been proven time and again that the safest model of care for women and babies is in co-care by skilled Midwives and Obstetricians. In the countries that have the lowest morbidity and mortality rates, Midwifery is not isolated to California's equivalent of Licensed. With the increased rates of cesarean section, women are in desperate need of more choices. Without having the choice of a Midwife like Brenda, women are left to fight their way through the hospital system or through Licensed Midwives who are under regulations that make normal birth nearly impossible for some women. Unlicensed midwives fill a crucial niche in the range of options women require in order to achieve healthiest birth outcomes.
By arresting and continuing with the prosecution of Brenda Capps, you are hereby stating that women do not have the right to choose the type of care provider to attend them at birth. You are stating that women are not intelligent enough to gain the information needed about a care provider in order to make an informed decision. The people who have signed this petition do not take kindly to being told whom they can and cannot hire to attend them in birth, and want the choice to be in the hands of women, not the Medical Board.
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