Copyright (c) 2008 North Dakota Law Review
North Dakota Law Review
NOTES; THE MIDWIFE AND THE FORCEPS: THE WILD TERRAIN OF MIDWIFERY LAW IN THE UNITED STATES AND WHERE NORTH DAKOTA IS HEADING IN THE BIRTHING DEBATE
NORTH DAKOTA LAW REVIEW
84 N. Dak. L. Rev. 219
The first thing which I can record concerning myself is, that I was born. These are wonderful words. This life, to which neither time nor eternity can bring diminution this everlasting soul, began. My mind loses itself in these depths.
-Groucho Marx 1
People have told me it would probably be easier to do a drug deal in Missouri than to find a midwife.
-Dr. Elizabeth Allemann 2
On the morning of February 7, 2007, Senator Judy Lee stood before the North Dakota Senate Human Services Committee and introduced Senate Bill 2377, officially ushering the state into its first foray with the legal status of lay midwives. 3 The bill was introduced out of a concern over the unregulated status of lay midwives in North Dakota and the desire of the Legislature to require some form of training for individuals who wished to assist in home births. 4 By the time Senate Bill 2377 passed to the House of Representatives, it had been amended to direct the Legislative Council to conduct an interim study on whether current state law properly addressed obstetrical services performed by lay midwives. 5
Both the Senate and House Human Services Committees heard impassioned testimony from both sides of the issue. 6 Representatives from the medical community argued that those who hold "themselves out as someone who can provide medical services" must meet a standard of competency and perform under a standard of care. 7 Conversely, opponents of the bill ...
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