Maryland Amish Rally For Bill That Would Allow For More Midwives

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by Matt Bush

February 7, 2014

Members of Maryland's Amish community rallied outside the statehouse in Annapolis yesterday.

For a bill in the House of Delegates to be guaranteed a committee hearing — a necessary stop on the way to a full floor vote — it had to be introduced by yesterday evening.

One of the many that beat the deadline by just hours is a measure from Montgomery County Democrat Ariana Kelly that would allow for more trained and licensed midwives in Maryland, and that was what more than 20 Amish residents and several other people were rallying for in front of the statehouse.

Jeremy Galvin, the president of Maryland Families For Safe Birth, says that there is a severe shortage of licensed midwives statewide — just three of them.

"We have approximately 500 home births a year. And typically a midwife practice will handle 50 births a year. So, clearly the math doesn't add up," he says.

Galvin says the shortage may impact the Amish more than any other community in the state.

"They're now in this position where they're having their babies at home without any assistance. Which, they as well as us agree, is not the safest solution," he says.

And while the bill will get a committee hearing, it is in committee where it has died in recent years before ever receiving a floor vote.

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