CNMA Newsletter: May 2022
HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!
Message from the President
May has gotten off to a rocky start with the leaked draft Supreme Court opinion in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization (read more below about what YOU can do!). We as midwives are reminded of the fragile state of reproductive healthcare rights and access, and the urgency which surrounds the work we do.
Meanwhile, May 5th was the International Day of the Midwife! I know I’m not alone when I say the call to do this work feels both energizing and daunting. We are called simultaneously to advocate and to care, to stand up for what we believe in while standing beside those we serve. And it feels like there’s never enough of us to go around. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could simply clone ourselves?
Well, if we can’t clone ourselves, the next best thing is bringing in more folks to share the work. We need more midwives! Our Workforce Development and Educational Support Committee is hard at work creating real strategies to train and sustain more midwives in our state. But to make that work, we need YOU to precept! You can read more below about what our students need in order to share in this work. In the meantime, I hope you’ll consider opening up your practice to student midwives. We were all new once, and none of us would be where we are today if someone hadn’t taken the time to help us get to where we wanted to be.
As always, I’m available by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and by text at (805) 415-2553.
In the spirit of service,
Paris Maloof-Bury, CNM, IBCLC
President, California Nurse-Midwives Association
California Health Policy
Future of Abortion: Call to Action!
Our hearts are heavy as we read the leaked draft Supreme Court opinion in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization suggesting that the court is set to enable states to ban abortion outright. We know that this document is not the final word, but it does appear to confirm our worst fears.
As midwives, with people throughout the course of their reproductive lives, we intimately understand the importance of ensuring safe, legal access to abortion care, and we are committed to protecting this fundamental right. We know that if Roe is overturned, the impact will be felt the hardest by low-income people and BIPOC folks. We also know that CNMA and California midwives will be on the front lines providing care to the increasing number of people who would find their nearest abortion provider in California. The projected increase will be from 46,000 to 1.4 million people!
CNMA is a proud member of the California Future of Abortion Council (FAB Council). We are actively supporting a package of 13 bills and related budget requests to protect and expand access to abortion care for all Californians and for anyone who is forced to travel to our state for the services they need. This package also includes efforts towards workforce development to ensure more CNMs are able to practice and provide needed abortion care in our state. Nationally we have taken a support position on the Women’s Health Protection Act and have encouraged ACNM to do the same.
Last night, Governor Newsom and legislative leaders in both houses committed to a state constitutional amendment to further protect the right to abortion in this state. The fact that both Senator Atkins and Speaker Rendon agree clears the way for the legislation to likely pass in time for the June 30th deadline to qualify for the November statewide ballot. CNMA will be on the lookout for a bill to be introduced in the next few days.
We encourage you to take the time you need to rest, grieve and to process your feelings of anger. When you are ready here are some things you may want to consider doing:
Advocacy things you can do
Join the call for Congress to pass the Women’s Health Protection Act to codify the right to abortion into federal law.
Support ACCESS, the Californa abortion fund.
Clinical things you can do:
Register for the abortion training workshop at the ACNM annual conference in Chicago. It is a full day (8hrs) and 7.5 CEs. It is only offered in-person and will be Saturday, 5/21.
Consider becoming a medication abortion provider or training to offer manual vacuum aspiration abortion in your clinical setting.
Resources to share for people in communities at risk of losing access to abortion:
M+A Hotline: a confidential, private and secure phone and text hotline for people in need of support for self-managed miscarriage or abortion.
If you have questions about self-managed abortion and the law, @ifwhenhow can help. The Repro Legal Helpline is a free, confidential source for legal advice and information on self-managed abortion. Visit ReproLegalHelpline.org or call 844-868-2812.
INeedanA.com Find a clinic - to find vetted, up to date, and personalized info on how to get an abortion ; no search or user data saved.
CNMA participated in the Future of Abortion Council last fall. The FAB Council produced a report with various recommendations for legislators in order to expand and ensure access to abortion in California even if Roe is overturned in June.
CNMA'S bill, AB 2529 (Davis/Calderon) has been referred to the Appropriations Committee. Keep watch on our advocacy page for how you can support and be involved! This bill would allow midwifery education programs to apply for funding under the Song Brown Act, something our physician, PA, NP, and RN counterparts have long been able to do.
National Health Policy
Support the Midwives Political Action Campaign
The Midwives PAC is ACNM's Political Action Committee and the fundraising arm of ACNM's national advocacy efforts. We are gearing up for our biggest event of the year, the PAC Rally, and are still gathering items for our auction! The PAC Rally is our biggest fundraiser of the year. In the past, we have auctioned off everything from crocheted baby Yoda dolls to a week in San Diego! If you have something you would like to donate to the rally, please click here to fill out an in-kind donation form providing us with more information! You can also reach out to me at email@example.com or 847-636-6140 with questions. ACNM members can support the PAC by purchasing tickets to the PAC Rally, which will take place at ACNM's Annual Meeting in Chicago, IL, both virtually and in-person at 4:30 CST on 5/24. You can also sponsor a student ticket! We are so excited to be together again in person for the Annual Meeting 2022 and look forward to seeing you soon!
Spring Off-the Hill Advocacy
Join us throughout the Spring season! Due to the pandemic, our Members of Congress and their staff have become more accessible through virtual meetings. Engagement with legislators now is crucial to educate about midwifery and to establish us as expert resources to the office on midwifery and more broadly healthcare. Learn more!
Midwives for MOMS
The cost of a midwifery education is a barrier to many aspiring and prospective midwives. Investment in federal grant funding designated solely for accredited midwifery education programs is integral to making midwifery education a viable option for many communities. ACNM encourages members to continue engaging their federal policymakers about existing congressional legislative efforts (e.g., passage of the Midwives for Maximizing Optimal Maternity Services Act, H.R. 3352/S. 1697) to increase the number the number of racially and ethnically diverse midwives, thereby diversifying the maternity care workforce with individuals who represent the lived and cultural experiences of the patients they serve. Access ACNM’s online toolkit and help spread the word on social media!
Co-sponsors are urgently needed to move this important legislation forward. Click here to look up your Representatives and Senators and use AABC's scripts to contact them via phone or email. In particular, we are asking you to make calls to the offices and speak with the healthcare legislative aide to request that the Representative (or Senator) become a co-sponsor of the BABIES Act. After you share your reason for calling, you may need to leave a message, so be sure to leave your name and phone number so they can return your call. The BABIES Act (H.R.3337/S.1716) seeks to promote the accessible and affordable use of freestanding birth centers by Medicaid beneficiaries. It would build off the Strong Start initiative by creating a demonstration payment program under Medicaid and providing guidance to develop a prospective payment system to reimburse birth centers for prenatal care, perinatal care, and postpartum mother and infant care.
Midwifery Workforce Development and Educational Support
California’s Preceptor Crisis
The pandemic has been hard on all of us, but especially for California-based midwifery students. California nurse-midwives precept student midwives from California-based programs (UC San Francisco and Cal State Fullerton), as well as distance learning programs ( Frontier Nursing University, Georgetown University, and Shenandoah).
According to a recent survey sent to students and program directors in California by Devon Herbst (Chair of the Midwifery Workforce Development and Education Committee), more than 50% of the students in California are in distance learning programs and more than 90% of the midwifery students in the state are having difficulty finding preceptors to complete their programs.
Because more than 90% of student midwives can’t find preceptors, midwifery students are migrating to other states for academic completion. This migration creates a huge obstacle for keeping graduating midwives in California. We need more midwives, not fewer. It is time for CNMs and CNM practices across California to engage in conversations about strategies to precept student midwives within their organizations. The more preceptors we have available, the more we can diversify and encourage the growth of the midwifery profession in California.
Student Perspectives on the Preceptor Crisis
Frontier Nursing University student Merilee Vance shares her story:
“When I started my clinical search I was fairly new to the state, therefore I wasn’t working and didn’t know any CNMs or RNs. I reached out to our clinical advisor at Frontier and she gave me a list of former clinical sites in California. I started searching in a short radius from my location and realized I was more in trouble than I had originally thought. I only heard back from a handful of sites, all of which were full or no longer taking students. Several places told me they couldn’t believe that we weren’t automatically placed by our school because the other two schools in the state have secured the majority of clinical sites. After about a year of no success, I ended up deciding to split up my last two classes to have more time to find a site. Unfortunately, this delayed my graduation by a term. My Regional Clinical Faculty advisor through Frontier lived in Phoenix and told me I would likely fin