midwives don’t mind breaking the law- and Holly Richardson knows that

I was alerted to a NARM article featuring a prominent Utah Midwife (Suzanne Smith, LDEM) around the time the Direct Entry Midwifery Act went through (the article is from 2004, the law went through in 2005). It has some interesting insight into what prominent members of Utah’s midwifery community thinks about the law (in a general sense).

One thing is abundantly clear- home birth midwives will practice regardless of if they are legally allowed to do so. They have no problem with breaking the law, they just hope to make the law less pesky for their businesses:

“I remember the day I first discovered just how illegal I was. My heart sank. I panicked. I was sick, and scared. I went to work on solving the problem through legislation”

She did not consider quitting until her profession was legal, despite having worked as a computer programmer for years before then and having many more opportunities for employment than an unskilled laborer or non-college graduate would. I am also astounded by the sheer stupidity of establishing a midwifery practice before looking into if it was actually legal to operate the business to begin with. It seems like one’s attraction to the profession of non-nurse midwifery might be inversely related to IQ, if this blog is any indication.

Here is another choice quote on why she wanted the Direct Entry Midwifery Act to pass (besides keeping her out of prison):

“For me, the only reason to have regulation is to make it legal to use medications. If I didn’t need that, I would prefer legality without regulation. I’m really happy that under our bill, midwives in our state will be able to choose that.

Read that again- the ONLY reason to have regulation is so she can use medications. The ONLY reason. Federal law prohibits the use of medications by unlicensed medical workers. The regulation in Utah exists for ease of practice for midwives! Not for the safety of mothers or babies or to hold negligent midwives accountable- these are the reasons normal people believe in regulating birth attendants. Midwives think that there should not be any rules those who attend births. Contrast this with the lies Holly Richardson (republican candidate for the state house of representatives in Pleasant Grove) left on my blog- telling me that I don’t understand their bill, and that there are “consequences- including criminal” for midwives acting outside their scope. 

Don’t be mistaken either- Holly Richardson was directly involved with Suzanne Smith and the push to pass a bill that does not hold midwives accountable, even when they are negligent. Here is a quote about it in the article:

“My partner Holly Richard is a gift and a joy. Without midwifery, we’d never even have met.”

Are they still partners now that this deadly bill has cost a baby their life? Its hard to say. No one in the midwifery community thinks that the law needs to change- or at least no one has stepped forward yet to say that they believe the state of midwifery in Utah is dangerous.

Does this also mean Holly Richardson illegally practiced as a midwife, since this article was before midwifery was made legal in 2005? According to this article, yes (since KSL lists her as a midwife “of 14 years” as of 2012). She got her bachelors degree in midwifery before the practice act was introduced. She also trained other midwives at the Midwives College of Utah before the profession was legal, so at a minimum she assisted other women in illegally practicing as midwives. Why is this woman qualified to determine legislation when she has a demonstrated, repeated disrespect for the law in the first place? 


Tell Holly Richardson you think Utahan babies and mothers deserve better. They deserve a skilled birth attendant that will be accountable if they make a mistake. Tell her you don’t think its right to let unlicensed midwives practice dangerously with the approval of the state.


Jessica Weed- the next Valerie El Halta?

Those who follow this blog or home birth stories in general are aware of the tendency of midwives to move around when the cops come knocking. Jessica Weed is no exception. Here is what she did in New Mexico:

Jessica Weed, a midwife in Albuquerque, New Mexico, helped in the breech delivery, when a baby is positioned to be born feet first, on August 28 but the newborn suffered bleeding on the brain and in the retinas after the complicated birth.  

Additionally, the mother’s placenta was not delivered and the woman, Kristin Himm, developed an infection when it became toxic.

two days after the birth, Himm took the newborn to the hospital on August 30 and Weed allegedly told the mother not to disclose that the midwife had delivered the baby because Weed said she was having problems with her Midwifery license, according to the Albuquerque Journal.

Imagine my surprise when I saw that Jessica Weed is still in business as a ‘birth guru’ despite demonstrably poor judgment and training. One of the cities she has hosted trainings in the past is Provo, Utah.

jessica weed in provo

What would prevent Jessica Weed from delivering babies here? Absolutely nothing. She has a CPM credential, which is more than enough to secure clients. Other midwives support her just like they do every other dangerous midwife, because sisterhood matters more than safety to non-nurse midwives.  The credential is more than Valerie El Halta had when she secured clients in Utah after a history of trouble in other states. 

You might be thinking that guilt is an adequate deterrent. Perhaps Jessica feels bad about what she did and does not intend to deliver babies anymore, right? 

jessica weed still attending births Wrong!

“I had a beautiful birth last night with me just sitting in the corner, as the parents asked. It is so nice to see a birth just happening as it should without any interference at all! She even birthed her own placenta like a champ!”

Remember that this is a woman who got in serious legal trouble for failing to intervene when a reasonable person would.  She still waxes poetic about the beauty of not doing ANYTHING during a birth.

Maybe you are thinking- she probably just learned from past mistakes and incorporated the experience into her practice. Wrong again!

jessica weed unassisted birth not a good option lolShe does nothing but whine about how it was unfair and how she did nothing wrong. These are not the words of someone who has learned from their mistake- she would have to admit a mistake was made to learn from it. 

The highlighted portion is worth noting:

“If you don’t have the choice of a midwife and a homebirth, your only choice will be to birth in a hospital or to go it alone at home without support. Those are not good choices for most women who would choose homebirth!”

There are two issues with Jessica Weed deciding that unassisted childbirth is a poor choice.

The first problem is that her case is proof that not having a midwife is often superior to having a non-nurse midwife. If you look at her case you will see that the client had concerns and Jessica told them it was fine. Over and over she said it was fine, and when it became clear that it wasn’t fine, she advised the parents to lie to the hospital about her role in the birth (which by definition prevents her from participating in the exchange of important patient information with the hospital). Both of these things put the patient in more danger than if they had birthed at home alone. A concerned parent without expertise will go to the hospital when concerns arise or call 911. The mother likely could have been spared a serious infection and the child could have been monitored and treated for their internal bleeding. A care provider who insists on lying to cover her own legal bases instead of giving priority to protecting patients runs the risk of giving inaccurate information to physicians (or failing to give important information at all). Jessica Weed pretends that midwives never make things worse, when she should know first hand that they can.

The second problem is that Jessica Weed promotes Unassisted Childbirth (which she calls ‘freebirth’). This means she is either lying about the safety of freebirth or she is lying about the utility of a lay midwife during home births. The common theme here is that she says whatever will earn her more money at the time. 

Jessica Weed has Unassisted Childbirth (‘freebirth’) coaching for 1000$ a pop. 

freebirth coaching jessica weed She is willing to charge 1000$ for emails and phone availability, despite her history of saying “everything is fine!” when medical attention was needed. 

I am alarmed by the lack of restrictions on midwives and their practices. A physician or a nurse that has their license suspended for negligence cannot simply pack up and start practicing somewhere else without some major hurdles in the way. There are literally no hurdles for midwives who kill or maim- they get to keep going, all with the support of other midwives who are too invested in keeping unlicensed midwifery legal to care about what it costs babies and families.  Utah midwives, including political candidates like Tara Tulley and Holly Richardson, have no problem with the system as it stands. They would likely welcome Jessica Weed or Christy Collins to Utah with open arms and kind words, if their welcome of Valerie El Halta is any indication.