UPDATE – WE NEED A ROLL CALL!!
HOMEBIRTH SAFETY ACT – HB226
Dear Home Birth and Midwifery Supporters,
It's time. We are pressing the entire House Floor for support. If you've been disappointed that your legislator has not been listed on previous action alerts, NOW is your time. We need a FULL ROLL CALL of the Illinois House of Representatives. We are asking each and every legislator to COSPONSOR HB226, the Homebirth Safety Act.
When you call, you may hear "the bill is dead". NOT TRUE. We’ve learned that no bill is ever truly dead until the general assembly actually adjourns and goes home for the summer. Because of your support and dedication thus far, our bill has life! Your work, targeting specific legislators, has created a "midwife" buzz in Springfield!! Now we need to keep it alive with strong, continuous ACTION.
But, because the “official” deadline for getting bills through committee has passed we have to be absolutely sure we have the votes necessary to pass the bill before putting everyone
(you, ourselves, our chief sponsor) through the process required to get a bill assigned to committee at this point in the session. Basically we have the next three weeks to work it all out.
This will require everyone’s help. We need constituents in each and every legislative district to write their legislator this week asking their legislator to co-sponsor the Homebirth Safety Act, HB226. This means not only must you write a letter but to truly help us get the head count, you must ask everyone you know who might be remotely supportive to write a letter too. We are going to make this as easy as possible by supplying the text of the letter (see below) but we need you to pass it along and follow up with your friends, family and anyone else who believes that women who choose homebirth, should have access to safe, nationally certified providers. Here is the letter:
I’m writing today to ask you to co-sponsor HB226, the Homebirth Safety Act. Recent developments have given this bill new momentum. State Representative Beth Coulson, a legislator known for her expertise in healthcare issues and a long time opponent of the Homebirth Safety Act, has reviewed the latest changes in the bill - educational requirements added last year by the (now supportive) Illinois Society of Advance Practice Nurses - and has shifted her position. Representative Coulson now supports HB226.
The supporters of this issue are fairly confident that if we are able to count 60 votes on the House floor, we will be able to get the bill assigned to committee. So I am asking you to please co-sponsor the bill.
With the number of homebirths rising nationally (the CDC reports a 5% increase recently) and the number of Illinois counties with licensed providers remaining the same – still only 5 out of 102 counties covered - and with recent news that yet another home birth practice will soon no longer be attending home births, we are creating a recipe for disaster.
Every year in our state homebirth families have their babies without medical assistance, hire midwives from out of state, cross the border to give birth out-of-state, or hire underground midwives in their own communities. Having part of our maternity care system remain underground makes it much less safe and secure. Without regulation there is no assurance that a particular midwife is skilled. There is no smooth mechanism for transport and transfer of care if the woman needs to go to the hospital for a C-section. There is no easy way to get a birth certificate that is filled out properly. And there is no easy way to do the baby's blood test that screens for metabolic or genetically inherited disorders (such as cystic fibrosis). Failing to screen and treat certain disorders early on, can be devastating for baby’s health.
The Homebirth Safety Act, HB226 can remedy these issues in a way that our current system does not. Please support it by adding your name as a cosponsor. I await your reply and can be reached at _________________.
1) When sending this letter, you may add more text if you wish but please keep all of the text above if at all possible. Please send your rep a copy of this letter to both their Springfield and local addresses. You can find your rep’s name, address, fax number and sometimes email address by going to www.ilga.gov Click on legislator lookup and use your address to find your state Representative.
2) After sending the letter, please call your legislator’s secretary on Monday or Tuesday March29th or 30th. Say you are following up on your letter and wanted to know whether your rep will co-sponsor the bill or not. If the answer is no, ask if your rep will commit to voting yes for the bill if it makes it to the floor. If still no, ask for an appointment in the local office during the two weeks of legislative spring break, so that you can learn about their concerns and bring someone along who can possibly address their concerns.
If your rep says the bill is dead, politely let him/her know “The supporters of this issue are fairly confident that if we are able to count 60 votes on the House floor, we will be able to get the bill assigned to committee. So I am asking you to please co-sponsor the bill.”
3) Whatever your outcome, yes, no or meeting, please let us know via email to Jamie at email@example.com If you have a meeting we’ll try to send someone with you if at all possible.
4) REMEMBER YOUR REPRESENTATIVE WORKS FOR YOU! You pay his/her salary with your taxes. Do not be afraid to talk to them or ask for a meeting.
5) Forward this email to everyone you know who may be interested in helping homebirth mothers, babies and midwives. Follow up with your friends. See if they need help contacting their legislator. Also ask if they’ll allow us to add their email to our action alert list. If yes, please send their names, legislator names, and email addresses to Jamie at firstname.lastname@example.org
6) LAST BUT NOT LEAST – NOTHING SHOWS YOUR LEGISLATOR YOU CARE AS MUCH AS A TRIP TO SPRINGFIELD TO VISIT THEM THERE. IF ANYONE IS INTERESTED IN MAKING A DAY TRIP TO SPRINGFIELD TO VISIT THEIR LEGISLATORS THIS WEEK, PLEASE CONTACT OUR BOARD MEMBER TONEY CROSS. She will be in Springfield this Wednesday and Thursday and can help you navigate when you get there.
Please let Jamie know at the email address above if you intend to go to Springfield this week. She will connect you with Toney’s cell.
7) Finally, please consider donating. If we DO get our bill out of committee this year, we will desperately need our lobbyist. Right now we are working without him in order to continue working off last year’s fees. BUT WE MAY NEED HIM NEXT MONTH. Please donate. Give $5 if that’s all you can do. Please give more if you can. Plan to donate $5 next month and every month thereafter until the Homebirth Safety Act has passed.
Please visit http://illinoismidwifery.org and click on paypal or mail a check made out to CFIM (or Coalition for Illinois Midwifery) to:
CFIM c/o Vicki Johnson
6092 Torchlite Trail
Loves, Park, IL 61111
Or if you are a midwife, doula, massage therapist or other provider, please consider donating a small portion of each client fee. Check out Community Counts – Better Birth Initiative at http://communitycountsbetterbirth.wordpress.com/2010/01/
THANK YOU FOR ALL YOU DO! HOMEBIRTH MOTHERS, BABIES AND MIDWIVES IN ILLINIOS WILL BE SAFER BECAUSE OF YOU .
THE COALITION FOR ILLINOIS MIDWIFERY