In Colorado, midwifery has been under attack by powerful and well-funded medical lobbies for decades, which are invested in protecting the medical scope of the practice. Midwifery is the most dominant form of maternity care globally, and these lobbies have taken the power of pregnancy and birth away from women and families while simultaneously compromising consumer safety and access. The law that regulates midwifery in Colorado, unchanged since 1993, had recently and surprisingly been raised by the state government for sunset review in 2011. The primary organization representing midwives (Colorado Midwives Association) announced at the first committee hearing that it did not plan to lobby for changes beyond the minimal recommendations of the consumer protection agency; and the agency created its recommendations without the input of consumers, who lacked organization at the time. In response to the upcoming review, a group of women’s rights organizations joined together to form the first consumer-based coalition of families, community groups, organizations, faith leaders and care providers advocating for midwifery. After its initial outreach, they coalition realized that there was an opportunity to mobilize many midwives and consumers in the state who were unaware of the review of the law altogether. DNCF requested funds to support the costs associated with its awareness-raising campaign and the expansion of its network.
DNCF’s primary purpose is to influence the law to reduce restrictions on midwives and their work, create a collaborative maternity care environment in the state, and reinforce the midwifery standard of care. This was UAF’s first grant to an organization in Colorado.