Missouri strikes down law on independent midwifery

November 1, 2007

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A Missouri state judge threw out a provision in a health insurance bill that would have allowed certified nurse midwives to deliver babies without collaborating with a physician. This provision was part of a bill that was intended to make health insurance more affordable to the state's citizens.

The bill had been signed into law in June. Soon after, several physicians' groups-Missouri State Medical Association, Missouri Association of Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons, Missouri Academy of Family Physicians, and St. Louis Metropolitan Medical Society-sought and were granted a restraining order to prevent the law from going into effect.

The physicians' organizations argued that the provision was unrelated to the bill's title, which dealt with health insurance, and was therefore unconstitutional. Under the Missouri Constitution, "no bill shall contain more than one subject, and that subject should be clearly expressed in the bill's title," reported American Medical News (8/13/2007).

In the end, a Cole County judge agreed with the physicians' organizations "that the provision was invalid because the midwifery statute had nothing to do with the bill's original purpose-health insurance," reported http://columbiatribune.com/ (8/8/2007).

The Missouri Midwifery Supporters, a group that defended the law, plans to appeal the ruling to the state Supreme Court.