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!

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