Lobby Day as a First Year Midwifery Student
What is Midwifery Lobby Day and why does it matter?
Washington state midwives have some of the best midwifery laws in the country, and it’s not by chance! For decades, dozens of midwives, birth workers, and birth advocates travel from all over Washington to the capital to speak to senators and representatives and lobby for our rights!
As a first year student, I honestly went for the volunteer hours (midwifery students need at least 40 hours of volunteer work related to midwifery to graduate), but I am so glad I did! It was so inspiring to be surrounded by so many women and people who are just as passionate about birth and midwifery as I am. It was also incredibly empowering and valuable to meet and speak to the lawmakers that have a hand in changing midwifery laws.
This year lobby day started at 8 am, meeting at the Midwives Association of Washington State’s lobbyist’s house at 8 am. We had a quick breakfast and meet and greet, then debriefed about our talking points, got into our groups based on what district we live in, and walked to the capital to start speaking to the senators and representatives of our districts! During my first lobby day, my group spoke to six senators and representatives, and while I was not required to speak, I spoke up in almost every meeting because I was passionate about changing our laws for the better. Most of the people we met with were super nice and wanting to learn more about midwifery and how to help us! During this Midwifery Lobby Day in 2023, we collectively spoke to over 100 senators and representatives! At the end of the day, we all met at a restaurant to continue networking and debriefing about how the day went and how to improve the following year.
Last year, Washington’s Midwifery Lobby Day led to the initiation of prescriptive rights for midwives in Washington state, making us the first state to have this expanded scope of practice! This year, our talking points were:
- To maintain the licensing fee cost cap,
- To increase Medicaid reimbursement for birth supplies
- To increase Medicaid reimbursement for birth center births to be able to provide accessible and equitable care for anyone in our state.
Time will tell if we were able to make change this year, but regardless, it is always important to get to know your representatives and build those relationships to further our agendas in the future.
To learn more about Bastyr’s midwifery program, reach out to our student ambassadors!
About the Author
Rachel Wright is a first year midwifery student in Kenmore, WA. She believes that it is every birthing person’s right to feel emotionally, spiritually, and physically safe and supported during their pregnancy and birth experience. Her clinical interests include prenatal nutrition, vaginal seeding, and trauma-informed care.