Illinois Families For Midwifery -- homebirthishealthy.org
What to say to your state legislator about the Home Birth Safety Act
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With the developments of the past two years, a lot has changed, with more supporters for licensing for licensing home birth midwives than ever before, most notably the Illinois Society for Advanced Practice Nursing. So it's great time to write to your state representative about the Home Birth Safety Act!

November 2008 marks a time of change. A newly elected General Assembly will take the reigns in 2009, and we are gearing up for a new bill.

TO HONOR THE TWO TO THREE BABIES BORN AT HOME EACH DAY IN ILLINOIS, FIND AT LEAST TWO FRIENDS OR FAMILY MEMBERS TO SEND A LETTER TO THEIR STATE REPRESENTATIVES TO LICENSE MIDWIVES!

It might seem a little scary to contact your state legislators about midwives if you've never done it, but they want to hear from you! (really) So ... take a deep breath and push through your hesitation.

It is actually easy to write your state lawmakers.


1) Find out who your state representative is. Click on the "By Address" tab at the state's Find your Legislator page (works best with your zip+4 code) or call IFFM at (309) 722-3345 or (773) 278-8625 for help.

2) Check to see if your representative is already sponsoring. Visit the bill status page to see if your state rep's name is listed as a house co-sponsor. If yes, then send a thank you note or card and skip to #4 below. If not, proceed on to the next step.

3) Write a short letter asking them to cosponsor SB385.so your representative can quickly see why you're writing (to request cosponsorhip), write a subject line across the top of your letter. In the body of your letter, briefly cover the following topics:
  • Heading -- Re: Advanced Practice Nurses support Home Birth Safety Act (in big, bold letters)
  • Paragraph 1 -- a short introduction about your connection to the community (district) and THE PROBLEMS YOU FACE B/C CERTIFIED PROFESSIONAL MIDWIVES ARE NOT LICENSED IN ILLINOIS. (just 1 or 2 sentences; be concise),
  • Paragraph 2 -- state the purpose of your letter (to request that he or she cosponsor SB385, the Midwifery Licensure Act.,
  • Paragraph 3 -- inform your state representagtive that the Illinois Society for Advanced Practice nursing now supports the legislation. Then explain that the solution to the Illinois home birth crisis is SB 385, to license certified professional midwives, and
  • Closing paragraph -- always end by thanking your legislator for his/her time and consideration.

4) Try to recruit at least two or three family members and friends to write their reps!It helps tremendously to look up their state rep for them, and give them a pre-addressed, stamped envelope so all they have to do is write a quick note and let you mail it. Your personal dedication is where we have our opponents beat!

5) Call or email IFFM to let us know what happened!! This is as important as contacting your lawmakers. We need to know that you contacted them and how they respond, so we can follow up. You can reach IFFM at one of the following phone numbers ... (309) 722-3345 (ask for Pat) or (773) 278-8625 (ask for Colette).

A few don'ts when writing your state lawmakers....
DO NOT argue safety (it only makes most people defensive, and legislators are people too).
DO NOT say "as a taxpayer" or remind them that they work for you (they already know this).
DO NOT send a long letter about why home birth is good, safe or the cat's meow. (They don't have to "believe" in home birth to support it; they do, however, need to hear from you!)

If you have an opportunity to discuss it further or want some wording ideas to put in your letter, visit our Talking Points Page for examples that have worked well for others!

Please note: if your legislator calls you and asks you a tough question or you do not feel comfortable with further discsussion, DON'T WORRY! That's why we're here! In fact, it's better that you don't answer everything. It gives you (and us) a reason to follow up with them and keep the issue in front of them! You can let him/her know that you are not an expert. You can say something like “I’m not a Coalition leader, but I live in your district and a CPM bill is important to me. This is a complicated issue that everyone has questions about. I would like to have a leader from the Coalition for Illinois Midwifery contact you.”

Your letter can make a world of difference!



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