Thursday, November 18, 2010

Springfield - what happened and what's next!

Thank you to everyone who has tirelessly called, written and visited their legislators. Thanks especially to those who made the trip to Springfield. All efforts have really been paying off. So much has happened this week.

First, we made a big impression in Springfield Wednesday! Mothers, babies and "Got Midwife" T-shirts and stickers were everywhere. We spent the early morning visiting reps and responding to their concerns about the Home Birth Safety Act. Then, late in the morning, the bill was called. Before a debate could begin, west suburban legislator Patty Bellock requested a fiscal note. This is a procedure where the department of professional regulation (IDFPR) must estimate how much money our bill will cost the state before the bill can move forward.

The fiscal note was filed today, Thursday According to the note there will be a total fiscal impact to IDFPR of $115,896.00 Also today, Representative Bellock withdrew her request.
Our status now? The bill is not dead. Now that the fiscal note stalling tactic has ended, we will be asking for a floor vote when our legislators come back the week after Thanksgiving. We are not yet sure if it will be Tuesday November 30th or Wednesday, December 1st. Please hold both dates if you can, for now.
Between now and then we must gain as many new yes votes as possible in order to be certain of victory.

Here is what we have to do:

1 - Please call the Governor's office today and
Thank him for his support of the Home Birth Safety Act and
Ask him to PLEASE help us get it passed. The Governor's # is 217-782-0244

2 - We need to keep pushing.

Dan gave an inspiring speech in the Capitol yesterday. He mentioned that we have gotten farther than anyone thought we could. (When the secretaries were telling us the bill was dead, everyone really thought the bill was dead.) Dan reinforced that our progress is all due to our grassroots organization. When the legislators see our faces... when the legislators know we are following their votes on a bill; they respond. We saw that Wednesday. We saw legislators come out and talk to us for the first time ever. (And some of these guys have been hearing from us for years).

So.... We need to get our faces in front of these people. District office visits. Try to get an appointment with your rep for early next week. If you can't get an appointment, drop in. If your legislator is already a yes voter, stop in anyway and ask if they have any suggestions for convincing other legislators. Maybe your legislator could even talk to another legislator about the bill? If your legislator is not a yes, please try to find out what their objection is.

Please report back to the coalition for feedback and suggestions.

3 - It is URGENT that we increase the number of individuals calling their legislators.

PLEASE find a way to contact friends or family members today or tomorrow asking them to do ONE of the following things:

a) Call their Representative asking how they will vote on SB 3712. Let the Rep. know they support this bill and if the Rep. doesn't have a position on it, the friend would like a call back to know when the Rep. has decided.

b) Go see their Representative (either by making an appt. or just dropping in). Bring a handwritten note and maybe even a plate of m&m cookies (or just a bag of m&m's) and ask for the Reps. support. If you can get a group of friends to go in to the Reps. office together to do this, even better!

c) Have your friends write notes to their Reps. asking their support for SB 3712, the Homebirth Safety Act.

ALL forms of communication should be followed up by another phone call asking how the Rep will vote - unless you already got a firm yes or no on the phone previously. If your Rep. already supports, still have people call. Ask them just to thank their Rep. for his/her support. All Reps. need to hear from constituents because they are all being pressured by the ISMS to vote against our bill.

If you can help your friend by looking up their Rep for them, giving them the phone number and writing out a "script" for them, all the better. They need to know how easy is to make the call or write the letter.

Please report back any and all contact to the Reps to Jamie at charis490@gmail.coom

4 - Finally, please join in our fundraising efforts! Those of you who heard Dan speak at the capitol will know why we value his help so much. Fundraising helps pay his salary. The Upstate / Downstate challenge is still in place. Downstate families are ahead, having raised over $1000 with the help of matching donor funds. The Chicago women have sold over $500 in tickets to Saturday night's wine tasting and they have a wonderful night planned. Please join us if you can, or find a way to donate to either team - upstate or down.

Thanks so much and KEEP PUSHING!! The end is in sight. LET'S MAKE IT A VERY HAPPY ENDING!!

more to come soon

The Coalition Board -
Rachel, Toney, Vicki, Michelle, Jamie, Jennifer, Hilary, Audrey

PS - we made the news in Decatur Check it out!!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


We will be calling the bill for a vote tomorrow, Wednesday, November 17th. We need everyone to be in the capitol. Please try to get there around 9:00 am or 9:30 so you can visit your rep before the 11:00 am House Session. If you can't come to Springfield, please call your rep and ask them to vote YES no matter what you think their vote currently is. We need to FLOOD the capitol with calls between 9am and 11am.


Saturday, November 13, 2010


It is VERY likely that our bill will be called on Wednesday - BE THERE to see history made!

When: Wednesday, November 17th

Where: Springfield - the Capitol Building

Where to find us: On the main floor in the north hall, we will have a table set up. You can also text or call Rachel on her cell phone at: 630-750-9444. (texting preferred)

What to bring: Three plates of cookies and three notes for your Representative, your Senator and the Governor. However, if you can not bring them, please come anyway!!! Baggies of M&M's are just fine too. Do not let not having cookies or M&M's keep you from coming though - we want everyone there! However for those who have the time and ability, please consider bringing extra cookies because there are a LOT of unknown reps and we will be sending willing individuals around to make sure all Reps get cookies and hear our message.

Bring lots of quarters for parking. Some meters are only good for a few hours. Some several blocks away last longer.

Bring business cards or index cards with your name so that you can leave them with secretaries or use them to call your Rep. out of the session.

Be sure to wear comfortable shoes and if you have a Got Midwife or Home Birth T-shirt or Button, please wear it. We will also be selling Got Midwife T-shirts for $10 each.

Please note: Amtrak trains are filling up - reserve now, however be aware the Bloomington to Springfield leg of the trip is by bus.

If we can help you in anyway, send us an email ahead of time and we'll get back to you asap. Email Jamie at

Thank you for all you do and keep up the hard work!

Rachel, Toney, Vicki, Michelle, Jamie, Jennifer, Hilary, Audrey
The Coalition Board

PS - if you can't come Wednesday, we'll be there Tuesday and maybe Thursday too. If you wish to either of these days, please call Rachel at the number above.

Rachel Dolan Wickersham, CD(DONA), LCCE
president, Coalition for Illinois Midwifery
vice president, Illinois Council of Certified Professional Midwives

Tuesday, November 9, 2010



Want to support your favorite midwife but don't want to drive to Chicago for a wine tasting?

We have just the thing for you!


Yes, doubled - and you'll have the chance to show everyone who rules - Illinois upstaters (Chicago) or Illinois downstaters (everyone else).

On November 20th, Chicago area midwifery supporters will attend an Elegant Evening of wine tasting, appetizers and desserts hosted by the Illinois Council of Certified Professional Midwives. There will be a silent auction as well. The evening will be hosted by the Illinois Council of Certified Professional Midwives and proceeds will go toward lobbying expenses for SB3712 - the Home Birth Safety Act. The last time this group did fundraising they brought in several thousand dollars.

Knowing that downstate supporters cannot easily attend the event, an anonymous donor has offered a challenge grant. If downstate supporters can collectively raise $500, the donor will match it. This will be just the beginning because rumor has it we will have another matching donor later this month! The last time the Coalition had a matching donor drive like this several thousand dollars were brought in!

With thousands coming in from each group last time, this looks like an excellent opportunity for a little bit of friendly intrastate competition! We are inviting downstate Illinoisans to try to beat the Chicago women in their fundraising game. Between now and November 20th, all donations to the Coalition from anywhere outside Chicago proper will be tallied as downstate donations.

After the November 20th Chicago event is over and the proceeds are tallied, we will see which group Chicago or Downstate will be featured as the RULING FUNDRAISING GROUP on the Coalition website.

So join us please - a little friendly competition never hurt anyone. And it could help home birth mothers, babies and midwives have safer and healthier home births in Illinois. Any sized donation, big or small, counts. Remember, whatever you give will be doubled.

Let the race begin! You can donate by paypal at or you can mail a check to CFIM c/o Vicki Johnson, 6092 Torchlite Trail, Loves Park, IL 61111.

If you are mailing a donation, in order to be sure you'll be counted in the challenge, you must postmark your donation by by November 19th. If you mail it after that date, please send Vicki an email letting her know what's coming in the mail. Vicki is at

BUT WAIT! THERE’S MORE!! As extra incentive, donors who give $100 or more will not only see their donation matched, they will also receive a free copy of the Ten Year Anniversary Edition of the Illinois Midwives Calendar produced by the Illinois Council of Certified Professional Midwives. This beautiful Black and White calendar juxtaposes photographs showing the beauty of homebirth with words describing the hard realities of being a home birth attendant in Illinois. Calendars are in production and will be released in December, though an advance batch will be sold at the wine tasting. Additional calendars may be purchased for $20 each plus $2 postage. All proceeds from sales will go to ICCPM for expenses related to the Home Birth Safety Act. Calendar Purchase requests for other than $100 donors (who will automatically receive them) should be directed to ICCPM CALENDAR c/o Vicki Johnson, 6092 Torchlite Trail, Loves Park, IL 61111.