Citizens for Midwifery: New Birth Activism Project

by flowers on May 5, 2011 · 7 comments

In celebration of International Day of the Midwife I have news I want to officially share with you.

As you know, I am very passionate about maternal health and inspired about the ways web technology and new media are creating opportunities for individuals and organizations to expand on their work. These two world have organically collided and my journey has led me to becoming a board member of Citizens for Midwifery!

Last year the Midwifery Modernization Act passed in New York State with a lot of help from Free Our Midwives–a web-based, state-wide consumer movement co-founded by Lauren Korfine, Jeanette McCulloch, myself and our local BirthNet community.

A few months after the bill passed we were contacted by Citizens for Midwifery, a national organization who:

  • developed and promotes the Midwives Model of Care
  • represents consumer interest in midwifery and maternal care
  • encourages and supports grassroots activism around midwifery
  • provides information and tools in support of midwifery and mother-friendly childbirth

Such important work! Midwives provide safe, life-saving well-woman care to women throughout their lifetime as well as prenatal, childbirth and postpartum care during the childbearing year.

The US is experiencing a maternal health care crisis as outlined in Amnesty International’s report Deadly Delivery released just last year. In their one year update (with some sobering numbers highlighted at Science and Sensibility) we learned that the US has dropped from 40-49 in maternal mortality–meaning that 48 countries have lower maternal mortality rates than us.

Even more disheartening is the economic and racial disparity. A woman living in a low income area is two times more likely to die than a woman living in a high income area and an African-American woman is three to four times more likely to die than a white woman due to pregnancy related causes.

This is absolutely unacceptable and it doesn’t have to be like this. Better access to skilled midwives will help to create better outcomes for all women. Period.

Amnesty International recommends broad access to midwives as part of the solution to our maternal health care crisis. Working with CfM feels like a way I can contribute to healthy maternal care for all women in the US.

Citizens for Midwifery: Dinner in Ithaca

Meeting the board: Nasima Pfaffl, Carolyn Keefe, Hillary Boucher (me), Lauren Korfine (holding Nila), Susan Hodges, Willa Powell, Jeanette McCulloch (not pictured)

Over the last six months I’ve been meeting with the board, applying for membership, and working on small projects to get oriented within the organization. Now it’s time to get to work.

In particular my work will focus on the tech aspect of the organization–the website, social media accounts and other platforms we use for our work.

I want to congratulate Jeanette (communications) and Lauren (research & writing) who also joined the board. It’s a privilege to be on this journey with you dear sisters.

This opportunity allows me to add my efforts to the movement to transform maternity care. For my daughter and for my sisters everywhere I *insist* that women have access to safe birth choices that rely on shared-decision making, mother-friendly and baby-friendly childbirth practices. Safe maternal health care is a human right and midwives can help us get there!

Want to join CfM? It’s simple and FREE! We need you and it’s as easy as liking CfM on facebook or signing up to receive our Grassroots News and bi-annual digital newsletter. We’ll help you stay informed on how we can create better maternity care. Please consider joining us in honor of Mother’s Day.

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

L.J. May 5, 2011 at 11:02 am

This is fabulous news, Hillary! I’m so excited to watch your journey!
Happy International Day of the Midwife!!!!!


mb May 5, 2011 at 2:30 pm

congratulations hillary, and happy midwife day! i know you are a doula but i think that counts, especially given your tireless efforts on behalf of midwifery. you rock, and i especially appreciate your work there in the state of my birth, where updated laws were/are so needed. keep up the good work!


sister-in-love May 5, 2011 at 9:59 pm


This is great news, congratulations. I was just reflecting to someone who asked about my brother’s family what you all are like. I told her about our women’s health and illlness class in college and our midwifery project and that you are still keeping that passion alive. Go you. from one home birth mama to another.


flowers May 6, 2011 at 7:34 am

Hey love :-)
That is so funny that you remember that. We had to act out a health panel and we chose to do a birth panel. What a riot.


Maria May 6, 2011 at 12:14 am

Hilary, would it be helpful for Canadians to join citizens for midwifery? I want every mother to be able to benefit from midwifery care as I did! I was too busy with my little ones to make it out to the march today here in Victoria.


flowers May 8, 2011 at 6:30 pm

Hi Maria–we would love it if you would join. We mainly focus our legislative efforts in the US, but it’s really helpful for maternal health networks to extend past any single nation!

Thanks so much!


Stacy (Mama-Om) May 15, 2011 at 10:07 pm

Congratulations, Hillary! I was just reflecting on how much energy and passion and light you put into the world by doing this work. I am really thankful!



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