Monday, March 30, 2009

Greetings home birth supporters:

We have an exciting update from Springfield!

Last Thursday, Tonesha Cross and I traveled to Springfield to lobby the bill and let House members know that Senator Haine and Representative Hamos are still committed to continue working the issue. We touched base with several legislators including Edward Acevedo, Mike Boland, Anazette Collins, Barbara Flynn Currie (who was delightful), Kenneth Dunkin, Mary Flowers, LaShawn Ford, Esther Golar, Greg Harris, Cynthia Soto, Betsy Hannig and others.

The morning began by distributing fliers to house members and checking in with a few of our cosponsors who have not yet signed on to the current bill.

We were excited to do some initial coalition building with other groups. We were even able to lobby the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, who were happy to be working with us thanks to Governor Quinn's support of our issue.

We also met with Senator Haine. He is pleased with our new talking point that legislators who vote against the Home Birth Safety Act are contributing to the harm of mothers and babies. He feels that now is the time for us to begin focusing more on the risks inherent in hospital birth that are completely avoided at home. Senator Haine informed us that he is determined to pass this bill and is going to start lobbying himself even harder in the House. (yay!)

Because the House had an extra long session, we found a little time to sit in the gallery, so I could point out several dozen legislators to Toney, explain their positions on our bill. We also were able to observe some of the personality and political dynamics involved in the legislature. There was vigorous debate, so we really got to see them in action.

While there, we picked up an audio disc of the March 3, 2009 Health Care Availability Access Committee Debate, or hearing. Senator Haine has charged us with producing a two to three page flier full of quotes from the hearing with the highlights -- by the middle of this week.

At the end of the day, we had a very long talk with Representative Will Davis. He was very interested and asked a large number of detailed questions. Our biggest surprise of the day came when Rep. Davis informed us that State Senator Toi Hutchinson (Chicago Heights) had her children at home! (We have already followed up with her office and have a tentative appointment scheduled.)

Following our "after hours" talk with Rep. Davis, we walked around in half-dark offices passing out another set of fliers for legislators to receive Friday morning.

All in all, it was an extremely productive day. As you can see, contrary to a couple of new reports that were written immediately following our hearing, our bill is far from dead! We really need to ramp up our presence in Springfield to continue to promote it. Senator Haine is fully committed to seeing our bill pass, but to continue this effort we need more money in order to be effective.

Together we can do this! If each of us does what we can, no matter how big or small, we will be able to be in Springfield with a steady presence. We will be able to continue to distribute high quality materials to legislators. We will be able to retain our lobbyist, who is our eyes and ears and a vital part of the equation!

We hope that each and every one of you is taking part in our TEN FOR TEN campaign. Find ten friends who will each donate $10 for the Coalition. It's helpful if you collect it and send it in to the Coalition for them. Many times our friends are well-meaning but taking the final step of actually sending the contribution will slip our minds. So if you can collect your friends' donations and send them in, we can really make a lot of headway quickly. (Truly can't think of ten friends to ask? Don't worry about it! Just do what you can!)

Also please keep planning your local fundraisers large and small. Remember that Mother's Day is coming up. Any weekend in May would be a good time to have a mothers & midwives pancake breakfast, bake sale or spaghetti dinner. You can have a father's day bbq or brunch. A car wash, freedom picnic or ice cream social is great in July. Please think about what you can do in the future, and let us know! Provide us with the details of anything you plan, and we'll post it on our blog, our new google calendar, and facebook to help promote your efforts.

To donate on-line via PayPal visit

or send a check made out to CFIM to:
Vicki Johnson, Treasurer
6092 Torchlite Trl.
Loves Park, IL 61111

Thank you!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Urbana Garage and Plant Sale for Mothers and Midwives May 1 & 2

URBANA, IL -- Garage and Plant Sale to support HB 226, the Home Birth Safety Act. Help families who choose to birth at home have access to licensed midwives.

May 1st and 2nd 8am-2pm
706 E. Fairlawn, Urbana IL

DONATE ITEMS TO THE SALE (50/50 see below)
Do your spring cleaning, get good deals, and support something you believe in!

Help by letting your friends and family know of the sale, volunteering to help, donating items beforhand or coming to the sale to purchase gently used items and plants.

Anyone can sell items and we will do all the advertising, set up, clean up, etc. Household and children's items (no big appliances) can be dropped off at 706 E. Fairlawn on April 28-30 from 4-6:30. Half the proceeds go to support the Bill, you keep the other half. You can price items yourself or you can leave that to us.

After noon on Saturday everything is 1/2 price or less. Anything not picked up by 1pm on Sunday gets donated to a local agency.

If you wish to sell plants, want to help with the sale, or have any other questions call Sarah at 217-384-0429. Thank you!

Sarah Stalzer Arcoleo

Thursday, March 19, 2009

In which we keep going despite what we thought!

Dear Illinois Home Birth Supporters:

We just heard news from our very own Senator Haine and Representative Hamos that they want to keep working on our bill this session to see if we can still move it! This just proves that we don't need a roller coaster, because the political process is much more surprising, with all sorts of twists and turns.

Procedurally, there are ways to work around the deadline, and our legislators and lobbyist can navigate those details. What we must do is to continue to meet with our own state representatives and keep asking them to commit to a yes vote! So ... we are going to start working things more politically instead of trying to have evidence-based discussions, and we will be going back down to Springfield starting next week. Also, we will be developing new talking points for you to use when contacting your own state rep.

We will know a lot more details after talking more with our sponsors, but I wanted to let everyone know that, despite the bitter disappointment we experienced earlier this month in the hearing, the bill is alive and kickin'!

This development also means we will have to continue to pay our lobbyist, and we are already three months behind with him, so we have to ask you if you want us to continue. Do you want midwives to be licensed in Illinois? We know your generosity has come through in a big way for us in the past, and we are asking you again to support our work in Springfield on your behalf.

That is why we are launching a new fundraising campaign called Ten for Ten! We are asking you to please ask at least 10 of your family and friends to donate $10 each to the Coalition. Even if some people turn you down, you can still help a lot by collecting $10 donations from as many people as you can!

Think of the power of us banding together and refusing to let the money and power of organized medicine continue to push us around! Think if everyone reading this found ten friends to give $10 each. That, alone, would get us all caught up with our lobbyist, and will help us begin to pay him for April. We know a lot of you have friends who might not share your passion for midwives and home birth, but at least want you to have legal access to a qualified provider. This is a great way that they can help without having to invest a lot of time (or even money).

You can send a donation to the Coalition for Illinois Midwifery via PayPal by visiting our blog and clicking on the Donate button.

Or make your check to CFIM and mail it to:
Vicki Johnson, Treasure
6092 Torchlite Trl.
Loves Park, IL 61111

Thank you for your continued support!

The Coalition for Illinois Midwifery is a lobbying entity in the state of Illinois; therefore your donations are not tax deductible but still support a very important cause.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Results of HB 226 House Hearing

Click on the picture to see the official
Illinois General Assembly Bill Status Page

After what was characterized by many present, of some of the most fabulous and compelling testimony that has ever been presented in the Illinois General Assembly for any bill, the Health Care Availabilty Access Committee voted 4 - 8 to keep HB 226 in committee. (In other words, it did not pass).

The room was packed with home birth families from across the state. We all witnessed the truth finally revealed in all its glory before committee. And still eight voted against this bill that would keep our babies safe at home.

The vote count was as follows:
Julie Hamos (who was substituting in for Esther Golar)
Mary Flowers
Mike Zalewski
Keith Sommer

Karen May
JoAnn Osmond
Greg Harris
Rosemary Mulligan
Timothy Schmitz
Michael Connelly
Will Burns
Lisa Dugan

Please take the time to thank our wonderful legislative sponsors and supporters, listed below. In the next day or two, please send a quick thank-you noet to the following people ESPECIALLY OUR LEGISLATIVE CHAMPION IN THE HOUSE Rep. Julie Hamos of Evanton, Illinois!!!

In your thank you note, be sure to include a photo of your children (printed on regular paper from a digital file is fine) or a child's drawing or painting or hand-made thank you card. If you prefer, you can send a Hallmark type thank you card. The point is, please send something to show your appreciation as soon as you can.

Also, if you are on facebook, you can search for and become a supporter of Rep. Jullie Hamos. 

PLEASE SEND A THANK-YOU TO THE FOLLOWING (or as many as you can manage)

Representative Julie Hamos
256-W Stratton Office Building
Springfield, IL 62706

Representative Mary E. Flowers
251-E Stratton Office Building
Springfield, IL 62706

Representative Paul D. Froehlich
279-S Stratton Office Building
Springfield, IL 62706

Representative Daniel J. Burke
233-E Stratton Office Building
Springfield, IL 62706

Representative Deborah Mell
280-S Stratton Office Building
Springfield, IL 62706

Representative Eddie Washington
200-8 S Stratton Office Building
Springfield, IL 62706

Representative Keith P. Sommer
216-N Stratton Office Building
Springfield, IL 62706

Representative Michael J. Zalewski
231-E Stratton Office Building
Springfield, IL 62706