The Fellowship of the Bill – Part 4
This is the continuing story of Michigan’s nine-year journey toward a law to license Certified Professional Midwives. The first installment of the story is HERE.
Click the image to open a larger version in a new window.
About this panel
Frame 1 illustrates the complete lack of directional sense displayed by a few Fellowship members and highlights some finer points of Michigan geography. It also bestows a nod on the traditional Michigan-Ohio rivalry. No, not college football, but the early 19th century war for possession of the Toledo Strip.
Both the 2011-12 and 2013-14 legislative sessions featured a committee chair known to the Fellowship as “Rep. Bottleneck” (Frame 2). Married to a physician (although not a pediatrician), Rep. Sarumon prevented the bill from progressing in the House.
When the bill finally did progress in the 2015-16 session, it ran smack into the development of a new national standard for midwifery practice, US-MERA (US Midwifery Education, Regulation, Association) (Frame 3). Beset with communication and timing snafus of the most vexatious kind, US-MERA seemed like the all-seeing Eye of Sauron, threatening the success of the bill at every step. Consumers working for licensure felt particularly disgruntled, having had no representation at the US-MERA deliberations.
What felt like the final nails in the bill’s coffin in 2014 were reactions to a highly publicized bad outcome at a birth center situated just outside the state capital. Although local supporters valiantly stood behind the birth center, in the end a number of midwives’ careers were ended and the center closed. Furthermore, the state senator who represented the center’s district (Frame 4) sponsored a misguided, poorly-constructed bill that attempted to create brand-new law for all midwives in the state – including nurse-midwives, who were already licensed as nurses. Up against the nurses’ political might and as a member of the minority party, the senator could not have expected the bill to succeed. However, its introduction created sufficient Sturm und Drang to severely inconvenience the Fellowship. In addition, midwife antagonists summoned national trolls (see Page 7), whose attention to Michigan midwife issues generated further fire and brimstone.
The Fellowship was always willing to meet with opposition groups (Frame 5). Troppo is Lansing’s premier restaurant frequented by politicos. During one such dinner, your cartoonist made the mistake of ordering the dish suggested by the Orc. It turned out to consist mostly of raw kale, garnished with sauerkraut. The combination of this roughage with the company did not increase its digestibility.
Much more toothsome were the baked goods distributed by the Fellowship during its annual Cookie Day (Frame 6). Butter, sugar, and adorable children are as effective as Lembas Bread in ensuring survival.