Another cartoon in the Bureau of Apologies series!
This cartoon introduces a new series, Bureau of Apologies. The series is a combination of wish fulfillment and distorted reality orientation for those of us who have spent way too much time staring past the newspaper and wondering if things might have been different if only …
After watching the media circus around Candidate Clinton during the last presidential election, we thought it might be a good idea to go back in time to correct an apology that completely missed the point of the original offense. It wasn’t about cookies, folks.
If you need to refresh your memory of the Cookie Insult, you’ll find background in this 2015 Time Magazine article – which also includes the text surrounding the incendiary remark:
“The work that I have done as a professional, a public advocate, has been aimed…to assure that women can make the choices,” Clinton continued, “whether it’s full-time career, full-time motherhood or some combination.”
Earlier this month, it emerged that tennis star Serena Williams came close to experiencing life-threatening blood clots after giving birth last fall, in part because medical staff delayed taking action after she requested treatment.
More recently, President Trump announced the establishment of a Conscience and Religious Freedom Division in the HHS Office for Civil Rights. Its purpose is to expand the ability of health care providers to exercise conscience clauses. ACOG, the chief U.S. professional organization for obstetricians and gynecologists, promptly issued a press release objecting to the move, stating, “Abortion, contraception and sterilization are a part of comprehensive reproductive health care and are essential to the health of patients. Professional medical organizations have clear guidance on the issue of refusal, noting that refusals of care must not compromise patient health.”
Well. All these announcements in such close proximity generated some questions in Ye Olde Cartoon Shoppe. Who is refusing care? To whom? What is their religious justification? Is it religion, or merely culture? What about having children, as opposed to not having them – are there any civil rights in play there?
Sometimes you look around, and no one is behaving the way you think they should. Except, of course, Ms. Williams, who acted intelligently and forcefully under challenging circumstances. And Baby Olympia, who does not need to do anything except be herself – which she so clearly does, perfectly and adorably. Congratulations on both counts, Serena Williams! For all the other participants in these various dramas, there’s this:
A midquel is a “work that is set within the timeframe of a previous work, rather than before or after it.” The Fellowship of the Bill series featured an increasingly beleaguered and bedraggled band of legislative advocates journeying toward Michigan licensure for Certified Professional Midwives. In this midquel, the Fellowship encounters a Mysterious Elixir: newly emerging educational standards for midwives, as produced by a consortium of seven national midwifery groups, known collectively as US-MERA (U.S. Midwifery, Education, Regulation, Association). Three disclaimers are necessary before we proceed.
As in our original Fellowship series, many liberties were taken with both Tolkien’s story and Michigan legislative history. No worries – just sit back and enjoy the ride.
Happy new year! To start out 2018, check out this new feature: Mama’s Bookshelf. Want to find the latest in titles on Reproductive Justice, maternity care, midwifery, community birth, and other topics of interest to Mama’s Got a Plan readers? See the Goodreads feed on the upper right side of this page.
NOTE: To read the full review of a book, you must click the book title, not the Goodreads link. You do not need a Goodreads account to view.
The Senate floor and House concurrence votes would have been a more striking triumph if more of the Fellowship had been awake for them (Frame 1). Eowyn’s thought bubble is an oblique tribute to this famous Far Side cartoon.
Michigan’s Governor Snyder is represented here as Galadriel (Frame 2) just to give someone the opportunity to repeat the character’s famous speech:
The Quest stands upon the edge of a knife. Stray but a little, and it will fail, to the ruin of all. Yet hope remains while the Company is true.
Sing it, Sister! Also, “Governor Galadriel” has a nice ring to it. The time span between the passage of the bill and the Governor’s signature seemed endless (Frame 3). The Yule feast pictured in Frame 4 is not only an outright invention, but casually borrowed from a tour of New Zealand Lord of the Rings filming locations. In return, we suggest you check out tours at MikeTheGuide.com and make a point of stopping at the Green Dragon Inn near the Hobbiton Movie Set.
The Governor finally signed the bill early in 2017, a cause for great celebration (Frame 4). If you know anything about Michigan, you’ll appreciate the celebration did not take place shortly following the signing, but much later in the year on another equally beautiful – and much warmer – Lake Michigan beach.
Is this successful enactment of the bill the end of the Fellowship? Probably not. A portion of its membership is ensconced on the new state Board of Licensed Midwifery – portrayed here by a photo of a 1949 committee of the Florida State Prison system. A future effort to guarantee Medicaid coverage for Licensed Midwife care has also not been ruled out. For the meantime, the Fellowship is returned to its daily routines. Babies are born. Parents are created. Midwives are credentialed. Life goes on.
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.
While Michigan was toiling towards Mordor, other states continued to enact CPM licensure measures (Frame 1). The big surprise of 2013 was Indiana, a highly punitive state whose midwives had long been forced underground. Rhode Island regularized its midwives’ legal status in 2014, followed by Maryland in 2015. In 2016, Maine became the 30th state to license CPMs. The licensure acts just listed were evaluated by the Fellowship with mixed results, but the chief worry was that Michigan would be the very last state to pass such a measure.
Like the many-limbed Shelob, numerous entities and factors continued to threaten the Michigan bill (Frame 2). The medical lobby was joined in its opposition by the primary Michigan maternal and child health organization. Each Senate committee member had to be laboriously courted. Both majority and minority parties displayed their foibles, and the Fellowship hardly dared to shake its piggy bank. But the primary foe was time. Fellowship members regularly heard nightmare voices proclaiming the death of the bill.
After some heavy-duty compromising, the Fellowship was pleased to see its hard work pay off. When the bill passed out of Senate committee, it nevertheless felt like a miracle (Frame 3). Boromir, not being a midwife herself, developed a belief in the persuasive power of the “Midwife Voice.” At any rate, that’s how she explained the vote – and her own surprised willingness to take on tasks following Fellowship meetings.
It was late 2016. The legislative session was anticipated to end at an unnamed December date. Would the bill receive a Senate floor vote? Texts once again flew back and forth (Frame 4) between Fellowship members, Gandalf, Senate staffers, and anyone whose opinion might carry weight with Senate leadership. A failure would mean beginning all over again the following session, a prospect that filled the Fellowship – and its empty pockets – with dread.