There was celebration Tuesday afternoon at a Columbia birth center after the Missouri Supreme Court upheld a 2007 state law that legalizes midwifery without fear of potential criminal charges.
"We're all still kind of like goofy around here," Ivy White, a certified midwife and executive director of the Columbia Birth Center, said in a mid-afternoon phone interview to a chorus of cheers and claps in the background. "Everybody's jumping up and down, screaming, and high-fiving."
The cause for her jubilation was a 5-2 state Supreme Court decision earlier Tuesday to reinstate a 2007 law making certified midwifery legal without the presence of a physician. The issue has undergone more than 25 years of debate and met with opposition from groups such as the Missouri State Medical Association. A Cole County Circuit Court had ruled against the law, saying its passage in an unrelated health insurance bill was unconstitutional.
"We've had setback after setback, and it's finally nice to have something go in our favor," said Dr. Elizabeth Allemann, medical director of the Columbia Community Birth Center. Allemann has been involved with the midwifery issue since 1990 and was a defendant in the suit ruled on Tuesday by the Supreme Court.
White said the Columbia birthing center is home to two of the 10 certified professional midwives in Missouri and hopes to be able to provide more options for mothers-to-be should the decision withstand a 10-day period before becoming law.