|Legislative Alert March 2015|
Women's History Month
Learning from our past. Honoring our heritage. Moving forward.
Lessons learned from our history
The lessons learned from our past political activities have taught us much about moving forward during difficult times. During the passage of AABC's Medicaid Facility Service Payment legislation and the inclusion of all licensed midwife providers in birth centers, we learned quickly that inviting our elected U.S. Senators and Representatives brought our legislation to the forefront in major Congressional committees. In fact all of our lead sponsors and cosponsors had visited a birth center. Also, many sent staff. We can do it again!
Honoring Our Heritage: The early midwives
Throughout history there were older Native American women who were healers, using their knowledge of herbs to cure illnesses and serving as midwives at births.
Among the early European settlers, women served as midwives. One of the first is Bridget Lee Fuller, who arrived on the Mayflower in 1620 and practiced for more than 40 years, until her death in 1664.
By the 1900's male physicians replaced female midwives. In the European societies, it was the norm to have male midwives (physicians) for lying-in.
However, this did not stop Mary Breckinridge in her plan to provide health and midwifery care to rural populations in Kentucky. The Frontier Nursing Service continued to grow. Registered nurses were sent to Great Britain for their midwifery education and returned to work at FNS until education programs could be started in the US.
What we learned from these midwives was that they did not let religious, political or a male dominated medical society stop them for serving as midwives.
Moving Forward: Taking a few simple steps to reach out to elected officials
"I believe we will have better government when men and women discuss public issues together and make decisions on the basis of their differing areas of concern for the welfare of their families and their world. Too often the great decisions are originated and given form in bodies made up wholly of men or so completely dominated by them that whatever of special value women have to offer is shunted aside without expression." Eleanor Roosevelt