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The Delivering Natural Care for Families Coalition (DNCF)

Denver, Colorado United States of America
March 2011

Grant Description

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.

Impact Report

With UAF funds, DNCF organized and facilitated a lobby day with consumers and midwives, paid a part-time community organizer for base-building, public education and mobilizing, hosted a ""Strengthening Families"" celebration for legislative work and collected stories of families involved in organizing around home-birth in Colorado. As a result of the campaign, DNCF achieved its goal; most of the provisions that it worked toward were included in the final bill, which has now been signed into law. The funds also supported DNCF to bring together consumers and midwives from around the state who are now involved in the continuing efforts of the coalition. DNCF notes that “this grant provided the mobilization support…that allowed us to build a strong base of families, mothers, midwives and their allies to continue to organize around homebirth and birthing culture.