Why Kansas midwives’ regulation must bar abortion

05/04/2016 10:27

by Kathy Ostrowski


Kansas legislation to regulate the independent practice of midwives currently includes pro-life languageto prevent them from being able “to perform, induce or prescribe drugs for an abortion.”
 

It has been wrongly stated by some legislators that this ban is unnecessary because the scope of practice does not allow the provision of abortions. However, the rule of thumb when it comes to abortion, is that what is not specifically excluded, will be included.


Here is a letter to Kansas legislators from Mary Spaulding Balch, J.D., Director of State Legislation at the National Right to Life Committee, outlining in detail why this ban is vital and verifying that the idea of midwives doing abortions is actually part of the abortion movement’s plan:


“The National Right to Life Committee and Kansans for Life oppose passage of any bill dealing with the ‘scope of practice’ or ‘independent practice’ of any health care professional which doesn’t include language excluding abortion. We take this position because it has long been the strategy of the pro-abortion movement to use a broad definition of that ‘scope’ as a means to increase the number of lower health care professionals licensed to provide abortion services.


Scope or independence of Practice typically describes the procedures, actions, and processes that a healthcare practitioner is permitted to undertake in keeping with the terms of their professional license. If the health care professional is given the authority to provide ‘pregnancy related services,’ it will be argued by pro-abortion advocates that since abortion deals with a pregnancy and delivery (even though the baby is delivered dead), it is, therefore, within the scope of practice. Thus, an explicit exception is needed to avoid this from happening.

midwifeThe House Substitute for Senate Bill 402 (now folded into HB 2615) raises these concerns. It defines (on pg 152) the ‘Independent practice of midwifery’ to mean ‘the provision of clinical services by a certified nurse-midwife without the requirement of a collaborative practice agreement with a person licensed to practice medicine and surgery when such clinical services are limited to those associated with a normal, uncomplicated pregnancy and delivery, including:
(1) The prescription of drugs and diagnostic tests;
(2) the performance of episiotomy or repair of a minor vaginal laceration;
(3) the initial care of the normal newborn; and
(4) family planning services, including treatment or referral of male
partners for sexually transmitted infections.’


The language about services ‘associated with a normal, uncomplicated pregnancy’ can be argued to include the ability to perform an abortion of a normal, uncomplicated pregnancy which covers the vast majority of abortions performed.


As stated, the National Abortion Federation has long had a strategy for increasing access to abortion by expanding the scope of practice of lower health care professionals. For example, in December 1996, the National Abortion Federation (NAF), with funding from the Kaiser Family Foundation, convened a national symposium to explore how CNMs, NPs, and PAs could participate more fully in abortion service delivery nationwide. In 1997 they presented a symposium entitled, “The role of physician assistants, nurse practitioners, and nurse–midwives in providing abortions: strategies for expanding abortion access.” (National symposium, Atlanta, GA, 13-14 December 1996. Washington, DC: National Abortion Federation; 1997).


They even have a timeline illustrating some of the successful expansion:http://prochoice.org/health-care-professionals/clinicians-for-choice/resource-center/

There is even a ‘tool kit’ entitled “Providing Abortion Care: A Professional Tool Kit for Nurse-Midwives, Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants” (2009). It was developed as a guide for health care professionals who want to include abortion as being within their scope of practice.

Expanding the number of people who can provide abortion will increase the number of unborn children being killed. We strongly urge you to prevent this from happening by making it clear that it is not within the scope or independence of practice of lower health care professionals to provide abortion.”


Kansas legislators should heed this instruction and keep the pro-life language(on page 160 of HB 2615) in the midwife legislation.