This was a writing assignment for my arguementative writing class. The essay was about arguement history and how I may have thought one way and changed my mind after listening to a different point of view.
I used to think that holding a license to practice a skill, such as herbal medicine, acupuncture or midwifery was the right thing to do in order to ensure the safety of the public. It seemed that this form of regulation could make sure that those people providing these services were held to a certain standard, had to have a reasonable amount of qualified education and that someone was looking over their shoulder to make sure they were doing the right thing. I figured this would protect the public and the practitioner alike.
I even held a license as a massage therapist. After 600 hours at school learning the very basics of anatomy and physiology, bare minimum techniques, paying a few hundred dollars and completing a state test, I was set out to the public to practice massage in a variety of settings from chiropractic offices to five star hotels and spas. I thought I knew it all. Then I realized there was a lot I didn’t know and that the schooling had not prepared me for the real job and the variety of issues I would encounter in the people who lay on my table. In fact I was less qualified out of 6 months in school than I would have been had I learned from an apprenticeship in an office that dealt with the kinds of ailments I wanted to specialize in. And I sure had no clue how short lived my career as a Licensed Massage therapist would be or how hard I would have to work to earn a living or the types of obscenities I would have to deal with because of misconceptions about the scope of practice of a professional massage therapist.
I thought this was a perfectly reasonable way of regulating the safety of the public as well as making sure that midwives were practicing in a way that they couldn’t get themselves in trouble. I thought this was a great way for doctors to feel comfortable supporting midwives as a back up physician in the case that the midwives needed to refer a client to them or seek help in complicated situations. This system also allows for midwives to be paid through insurance companies, both private and state funded. What I didn’t realize was that the board of people who made the decisions on who can practice what on and what category a woman falls into (High/low risk) were not taking into account the most recent scientific data available that would allow for a broader range of practice. That is until I read a well spoken argument from the director of the school I am now attending to become a midwife.
Carla Hartley is a long time educator of midwives and activist for rights of parents to choose how and where they birth and who attends their births. When I first encountered her and started reading the blogs she has posted about the subject of licensure in midwifery, I thought she was an extremist and she was out of her mind. I listened because part of me knew that what she said made sense, but I had no clue just how much until I started apprenticing with licensed midwives in the state.