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Legislative Updates

 "The arrival of chaos should be regarded as extremely good news."

~Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche

ACNM Action Alert!

The American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM) requests your immediate action to urge your Senators to vote NO on H.J.Res. 43, a resolution that will allow states to deny funding for the contraceptive and preventive care our patients receive at Title X clinics.  This move would further reduce, and in many cases eliminate, low-income and adolescent patients' access to essential health care by discriminating against providers for reasons unrelated to medical evidence or best practices.

The Senate leaders announced they may vote on this issue on Thursday, March 30th.  The House of Representatives already approved the resolution in February.

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ACNM National Policy Update 

February 17, 2017

ACNM President Visits Capitol Hill to Work for Women’s Health

ACNM was on Capitol Hill last week, working to advance women’s health by promoting enactment of the Improving Access to Maternity Care Act (H.R. 315, Burgess R-TX) which the House passed in January. ACNM’s President, Lisa Kane Low, CNM, PhD, was joined on Capitol Hill by ACNM’s CEO, Frank Purcell, and ACNM’s Federal Representative, Patrick Cooney.

While on Capitol Hill ACNM had the opportunity to thank staff from the office of Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX) for efforts to enact H.R.315. They also met with staff in the office of Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) to thank her for ongoing support of midwives and women’s health.




In this Issue...
- ACNM President Visits Capitol Hill to Work for Women’s Health
- Senate Confirms Dr. Tom Price as Secretary of Health and Human Services
- ACNM Stands with Other Women’s Health Providers on Health Reform
- ACNM Urges Revision to Executive Order on Refugees
- Nursing Education Program Grants Legislation Reintroduced
- House Passes Bill Impacting Eligibility for Family Planning Services
- Maternity Care Shortage Legislation Gains Support in the U.S. Senate
- Transitions to Keep ACNM Government Affairs and Midwifery’s Voice Strong, with Thanks to Cara Kinzelman
- South Dakota Enacts Licensure Revisions
Federal Issues

Senate Confirms Dr. Tom Price as Secretary of Health and Human Services

Georgia Republican Rep. Tom Price, the conservative lawmaker and orthopaedic surgeon who has been one of Congress’s most vocal opponents of the Affordable Care Act, was sworn in on February 10, 2017, as health and human services secretary after a deeply divided Senate vote to confirm him.  Price won confirmation on a party-line vote of 52-47, which came around 2 a.m. Senate Democrats, united in their opposition to him as the government’s top health official, argued that the intersection of his personal investments and legislative behavior warranted deeper scrutiny of his ethics.


ACNM Stands with Other Women’s Health Providers on Health Reform

On January 30, 2017, ACNM joined with other women’s health providers in support of key elements of the Affordable Care Act to protect critical advances made for women under the law.

Link to Letter from Women's Health Providers on Health Reform


ACNM Urges Revision to Executive Order on Refugees

On February 6, 2017, ACNM wrote President Donald Trump urging revision of his executive order relating to refugees because it hinders access to health care for refugee and immigrant women and their families. Link to ACNM Letter to President Donald Trump


Nursing Education Program Grants Legislation Reintroduced

On February 7, 2017, Representatives David Joyce (R-OH), Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), Doris Matsui (D-CA), Rodney Davis (R-IL), Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR), Patrick Meehan (R-PA), and Kathy Castor (D-FL) introduced the Title VIII Nursing Workforce Reauthorization Act (H.R.959). This legislation would reauthorize and update the existing federal programs that are the primary federal resource for basic and advanced practice nursing programs.  ACNM supports passage of this legislation. Link to copy of H.R.959

House Passes Bill Impacting Eligibility for Family Planning Services

An Obama administration rule to keep federal family-planning money flowing to Planned Parenthood and other entities supporting women’s health is the latest target of Republicans in Congress. On February 16, 2017, the House voted (230-188) to pass H.J.Res.43 to nullify a December 9, 2016, Obama administration regulation that prohibits states from denying public health grants to providers simply because they use non-federal resources to perform abortions. Legislative action now moves to the Senate. Link to copy of H.J.Res.43


On February 13, 2017, ACNM issued an action alert to oppose passage of this resolution.  By February 16, ACNM members sent 2,495 messages to 404 members of the House and Senate and cosigned a letter with ACOG, AWHONN and the AAP stating, “Our Nation’s unintended pregnancy rate is at a 30-year low, and we now have the lowest rate of teen pregnancies in our history. These monumental successes are due in large part to increased access to contraception for our patients – often through Title X clinics.”


States distribute Title X family planning money to regional or local organizations, including county public health departments, to provide contraception, prenatal care and other health services to low-income or indigent women. None of the money can be used to provide abortion services. Of the $252.6 million distributed under the Title X Family Planning grant program in the 2014 fiscal year, Planned Parenthood received $20.5 million, according to Health and Human Services Department figures.


House Republican leaders are invoking the Congressional Review Act, Public Law 104-121, for setting aside government regulations promulgated in the waning months of the Obama administration.


Maternity Care Shortage Legislation Gains Support in the U.S. Senate

As of this week, ACNM has secured the support of Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) to reintroduce legislation in this 115th Congress to establish maternity care as a priority when determining shortages of health professionals in the U.S.  ACNM is working with these offices to get this bill introduced in the Senate during the last week of February.  

The bill is a companion to H.R.315 which was passed by the House of Representatives early in the new Congress with ACNM support.  Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX), Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA), and Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA) are the primary sponsors of that legislation in this 115th Congress. Link to copy of H.R.315

Transitions to Keep ACNM Government Affairs and Midwifery’s Voice Strong, with Thanks to Cara Kinzelman

To meet member needs in state and federal government affairs and keep midwifery’s voice strong in Washington, DC, and state capitals, ACNM has put in place a transition team in government affairs as advocacy director Cara Kinzelman submitted her resignation effective Feb. 8.


Kinzelman joined ACNM six years ago to serve in state government affairs at our national office. During her distinguished service, she helped advance full practice authority for both CNMs and CMs, served as a partner to our state affiliates with their advocacy work, and developed key relationships with stakeholders at the state and national level necessary to advance the midwifery agenda. Last fall she was promoted to direct both federal and state affairs, serving the past several months from her home in Wisconsin. We wish her the best on her professional journey.


During this time of rapid change in policy affecting women and midwifery, ACNM has put in place an effective and responsive member and staff team to meet ACNM and affiliate needs in government affairs:


  • In Washington ACNM maintains a strengthened, full services contract with Patrick Cooney to represent ACNM on Capitol Hill. He is joined in this work by ACNM’s Government Affairs Committee and Political Action Committee.


  • In support of our state affiliates, two leading ACNM members have agreed to serve as midwife consultants in state advocacy and policy: Katie Lavery, MS, CNM, of Michigan, and Suzanne Wertman, MSN, CNM, of North Carolina. As experienced and recognized leaders in midwifery and in regulatory and legislative advocacy at the state level, they are working in conjunction with the ACNM’s new State Government Affairs Committee and its chair and Board of Directors Liaison, Lynne Himmelreich, CNM, to meet advocacy needs of our affiliates.  


  • To simplify request processes, state affiliates needing support for initiatives and issues have been directed to email for help. Our team will route it to the correct team members for action. Members with legislative or advocacy questions should also feel free to use  


  • For the longer term, ACNM has begun recruitment for a Director of Advocacy to join our staff, and for two new part time positions which were added as part of the ACNM national office restructuring process. These new posts will support our state affiliates in government affairs and in organizational operations and leadership development. Postings for these positions will be available on


  • Before joining ACNM, new CEO Frank Purcell served 27 years on Capitol Hill and in national and state advocacy work, coalition development and mobilization, grassroots and political action, and policy development, mostly in health and for advanced practice nursing. From the CEO role he brings expertise to support ACNM advocacy work through this period of change.

State Issues
South Dakota Enacts Licensure Revisions

After a sweeping victory on February 13, 2017, South Dakota’s certified nurse-midwives and certified nurse practitioners (CNMs and CNPs) are celebrating the passage of Senate Bill 61, An Act To Update, Revise, And Repeal Certain Provisions Relating To Nurse Practitioners And Nurse Midwives.

In the fall of 2016, nursing leaders in South Dakota came together to establish the South Dakota APRN Coalition, with the goal of pursuing full practice authority for CNMs and CNPs in the 2017 legislative session.  The coalition consisted of leaders of the Nurse Practitioners Association of South Dakota (NPASD), the South Dakota Affiliate of ACNM (SD-ACNM), the dean of the South Dakota State University (SDSU) School  of Nursing, the prime sponsor of the bill, Sen. Deb Soholt, RN, MSN, the lead House sponsor Rep. Jean Hunhoff, RN, MSN, MHA, leaders in the South Dakota Board of Nursing, and other front-runners of the state’s nursing  community equipped with a vast range of knowledge, history and expertise.  Link to copy of South Dakota SB61

Key members of the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN), American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP), and ACNM’s Cara Kinzelman provided a national perspective and background material.  This was a monumental effort to modernize the 1979 legislation of the CNP and CNM Practice Act, SDCL 36-9A, remove the requirement for a written collaborative agreement and place CNMs and CNPs under sole jurisdiction of the South Dakota Board of Nursing, instead of nursing and medicine.

The bill sailed through the Senate HHS Committee and the Senate floor with unanimous support and on February 13, 2017, the House passed the bill with an overwhelming majority.  The bill now goes to Governor Daugaard, who has thus far been supportive.  When signed, the bill will become law on July 1, 2017.

Congratulations to the small and very hard working South Dakota Affiliate led by President Sue Rooks, CNM, MPH.



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