by Emily Hoger, SNM
The practice of midwifery is inherently political. As midwives, we have many constraints on our time, but it is vitally important that we become and remain informed and active in the politics of our profession. Political activism for the advancement of midwifery is just as important as clinical skills and knowledge. We have made much progress as a profession, but must continue to remain actively involved so we can shape the future of midwifery, broaden our scope, and achieve widespread access for women to midwifery care.
There are many practical ways midwives can be involved in policy, but the easiest and quickest way is to participate in Virtual Lobby Week, coming up May 1-3. ACNM and the Government Affairs Committee have put together five simple steps for speaking up for midwifery, complete with sample call scripts, talking points, and e-mail templates. All you have to do is pick up the phone or send an e-mail! The entire process takes no more than 15 minutes.
You can also get involved by educating yourself about the status of midwifery today nationally and in your state. Technology has made this easier than ever and the ACNM Capwiz Web site is an excellent resource. Register with the action e-list at the bottom of the page to stay up to date on state and federal issues. Becoming and remaining active within ACNM is important, as is supporting the Midwives-PAC. Register to vote if you haven’t already. Political activism can also include being active with hospital committees, your public health department, participating in collaborative meetings, research, and teaching. You can also become active in state issues by working with your state affiliate.
Political activism on the part of each individual midwife is more important and more practical now than ever. Each midwife can choose at what level to be involved, but some form of action from each midwife is necessary in order to continue to make strides for our profession.