by Heather Bradford, CNM, ARNP, Chair, ACNM Government Affairs Committee
Once about every four years, ACNM hosts its Annual Meeting in DC. Why DC? We need your voice. On Tuesday, June 15, we hope hundreds of midwives will storm Capitol Hill to meet with their legislators (two senators and one US representative) and discuss issues vital to the sustainability and growth of midwifery. This is one of the most important personal contributions you can make to your profession. Not convinced? Here are my top 10 reasons why you should lobby on Capitol Hill in pumps and pearls or shirt and tie instead of spending the afternoon touring the White House in shorts and a T-shirt.
1. Only you can tell the story of midwifery. Our lobbyist can talk about our issues until he is blue in the face, but only you can share the stories of your clients and the barriers you face in caring for them.
2. You don’t have to worry about what to say or do because we have all the answers. Set your mind at ease by attending the one-hour Lobby Day Prep session the morning of Lobby Day and then hop on the ACNM-provided buses to the Capitol. We’ll also provide maps to get you home.
3. There is power in numbers. Every constituent that attends sends a stronger message to our members of Congress.
4. You will feel empowered after this experience. This is the third time I have helped organize Lobby Day, and it’s probably my most favorite part of the job.
5. Meet with your legislators and their staff in a more casual setting at the Capitol Hill Reception immediately following Lobby Day. Tickets sell fast, so buy one when you register for the Annual Meeting.
6. Show your children and practice partners the importance of political action. What better civics lesson can you teach your child?
7. Meet other midwives from your home state. All midwives from each state go together to meet with their two senators. Midwives from different congressional districts then divide into small groups and meet with their House representatives.
8. Have a picture taken of you and your member of Congress to hang in your office or home. All legislators are happy to do this.
9. Earn two contact hours. Simply lobby and complete a lobbying evaluation form afterward.
10. Every woman deserves a midwife. Even if you’re not a fan of your elected official, there are some things we can all agree on, including access to midwifery care.
June 15 seems like a long way off, but the time to plan is now: