Watch CBS News

California Midwives Say They're Being Unfairly Targeted In Nursing Board Complaints

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — California nurse midwives say they're under attack from the Board of Registered Nurses, saying their out-of-hospital birthing practices are subject to expensive and frivolous accusations.

The popularity of out-of-hospital birthing practices is growing in California, but advocates say if state regulators get their way, they could put out-of-hospital birthing centers out of business.

Certified nurse midwife Ruth Cummings is facing tough accusations from state regulators.

Cummings is one of six nurse midwives in Northern California who have recently been investigated by the board for wide-ranging accusations involving out-of-hospital child births.

Editor's note: CBS13 is making a correction to the story we originally posted about midwives and some of their disputes with the Board of Registered Nurses on Tuesday.

Part of the story dealt with midwife Ruth Cummings and one of her clients.

We quoted the board's decision incorrectly in her case.

The Board of Registered Nurses questioned Cummings' care of a mother giving birth.

Included in the Board of Registered Nurses' finding was that.."there was not evidence that fetal demise was preventable, or that it was directly related to respondent's actions. (decision, finding 55 p. 24) "

Ruth Cummings' case is currently on appeal.

Midwife advocate Susan Wilhelm says they're being unfairly targeted.

"It seems like an act of violence against women with low-risk pregnancies who's right to choose their birth setting is legally protected by California state law," she said.

Russ Heimrich is a spokesman for the Department of Consumer Affairs that oversees the nursing board.

"All of our investigations are complaint driven," he said. "What we look at is whether or not the care is appropriate and that the nurses are obeying the laws and regulations."

Legislation that could reduce the accusations was introduced in February, but it's not expected to be passed this year.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.