Supporters of home births and midwives plan a rally in Raleigh Wednesday to protest the arrest of a longtime North Carolina midwife and to push for a law that would allow midwives like her to deliver babies at home.
Emily "Amy" Medwin, 56, of Yadkin County, was arrested Feb. 20 for the unlawful practice of midwifery.
It isn't the first time Medwin, who has delivered hundreds of babies since 1979, has attracted attention from police.
She was arrested in 1998, although the charges were dropped when the complainant, a Mocksville woman whose baby Medwin delivered, declined to testify.
Medwin's latest arrest has turned the spotlight on N.C.'s midwifery law and renewed the debate over who should legally be allowed to deliver babies and where.
"Right now, a fully trained and credentialed certified professional midwife who can legally practice in Virginia, Tennessee, South Carolina and Florida is at risk for being arrested for providing the same quality care in North Carolina," said Russ Fawcett of N.C. Friends of Midwives.
"This is not right, and makes home-birthing families less safe," he said. "Amy has closed her practice, leaving dozens of women who had planned home births...in crisis."
The N.C. Medical Society is against changing the law. "We have concerns about patient safety, the training of the person delivering the baby and the need for supervision," said spokesman Mike Edwards.
"We don't want to lower standards," he said. "Our position is that there should be physician supervision to ensure quality."
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