Letters Midwife issue will not go away

To the editor:

In a recent editorial by David Lias several references were made to our organization, SDSCO (South Dakota Safe Childbirth Options) that were inaccurate. I felt it imperative to respond.

It was implied that SDSCO does not support cooperation with physicians. This is not true. We support the right of women to choose their primary caregiver for birth. We support direct-entry midwives, Certified Professional Midwives, Certified Nurse Midwives and physicians who will protect birth as a natural process and allow the mother and family choices in their birth experience.

Direct-entry midwives and Certified Professional Midwives do have physicians who are back-up for their births, even though they do not have practice agreements. They refer clients to physicians whenever a mother or baby requires care beyond what they can give.

It was also interesting to note that the problems of birth brought up by Mr. Lias are all conditions which are preventable with proper nutrition and good prenatal care. Therefore, in most cases, these problems should not be present at birth if good care was given in the prenatal period.

SDSCO supports work with physicians, but we do believe that the midwifery model of care is the best model of care for the vast majority of birthing women. Midwives are trained professionals, trained specifically in the area of birth attendance. CNM's are trained in hospital birth and CPM's and other direct-entry midwives are trained in out-of-hospital birth such as birth centers or home birth.

Mr. Lias seems to question the existence of the medical monopoly over birth. The best way to prevent a monopoly is with the promotion of free enterprise. Why are the South Dakota State Medical and Nursing Boards afraid of a little competition? Competition is the key of the free enterprise system and will only increase the quality of care provided, not decrease it.

Legislation for licensure of direct-entry midwives was tabled this year. But the issue will not go away. Many families truly want to have the option for a midwife attended homebirth. There is no good reason to deny them this opportunity.

If you are really interested in more information I would suggest several excellent books: The Five Standards of Safe Childbearing by David Stewart, Obstetric Myths Vs. Research Realities by Henci Goer, or Safer Childbirth? By Marjorie Tew.

Judy Kay Jones,

Coord. Chair.

South Dakota Safe Childbirth Options

29525 442nd Ave.

Irene, SD 57037-5209


Do research before building jails

To the editor:

Bill Janklow has recently proposed that everyone caught with any amount of any drug in South Dakota serve a minimum of 30 days in the state penitentiary. The American Bar Association, to which I assume Gov. Janklow still belongs, has released a report stating that the War on Drugs policy has not been working, an opinion many federal judges have expressed.

We currently have about 1.8 million people in prison, half a million more than China. Since the mid 1970s, our per capita incarceration rate had quadrupled. Drug use appears to have remained the same during these two decades, while violent crime has decreased 20 percent since 1991.

The original intent of the tough drug laws was to nail drug "kingpins." According to the FBI, approximately 695,000 people were arrested for marijuana in 1997. Most of those arrests were for possession (less than 1 ounce). Mandatory sentencing for drug crimes removes discretion from local judges, and creates a whole set of new problems, as California,Florida and New York have discovered. Michigan has softened its long-standing mandatory sentencing laws because of those problems.

Other research shows that rehabilitation has a higher success rate than imprisonment for crimes related to substance abuse. Any good research demands that all aspects of a question be examined. However, ideology, politics and economics have obscured the issue, and have made open debate a matter of fear for those on the opposing side.

Before we create more laws and invest more money in our prison system, I would ask that our representatives take a long hard, balanced and critical look at this proposal.


William Ranney

Spirit Mound Township

Start thinking about Capital Credits

To the editor:

Dear Clay-Union Electric Co-op members:

Facts: All of our adjacent electric co-ops are paying back capital credits to their members. The last time Capital Credits were paid back to living Clay-Union members was the last year I was a board member, around 1986. Refund checks are just what they say they are. It is money going back to the member because they were overcharged. It's easier for a manager to have small consumers or directors than to have large consumer or directors. It's much harder for a large consumer director to forget his own business, and to be 100 percent director, I know. Around 5 percent of your electric bill goes to Capital Credits; that's your money.

Comments: Capital Credits should have been paid up, and in full, to the year 1998. This would mean that each generation would have paid their own way. The longer you take paying Capital Credits the harder it is to locate recipients, meaning then that this money could go to the state of South Dakota. Since my last letter in the Plain Talk, I have not had any contact with our manager or any of our directors.

With the annual meeting coming soon, give some thought to your director, manager and what they are doing with your Capital Credits.


Delmar J. Lynch

Past director of Clay-Union Electric Co-op

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