Mamas of Color Rising: Advocating for Mother Friendly Births For Mamas of Color in Texas

January 11th, 2011

Prior to 1989, Midwives practiced freely in Texas. Many Texas children were born via midwife assisted births and many of these births took place outside of the hospital. In 1989, The Texas Midwifery Act was amended to include mandatory basic and continuing education requirements which took effect in September, 1993. The law was further amended in 1997 when new rules were written to assist the Midwifery Board in implementing the law through disciplinary actions which could include removal of documentation and administrative penalties.

In 2002,  midwives ceased to practice in hospitals in Austin.

Since that time, access to mother friendly childbirth practices has been essentially  non-existent for low income women and women of color in the Greater Austin Area. These women have been at the whim of whatever Medicaid would cover and whatever treatments the obstetricians who accept Medicaid reimbursement are willing to provide. To say the least, low cost, high quality, minimally invasive care has been scarce.

Mams of Color rising, is a collective of mamas of color in the Greater Austin area fighting for birth rights for all mamas. Here is how they describe themselves:

“Mamas of Color Rising is a collective of working class and poor mothers of color based in and around Austin, TX. We are interested in organizing ourselves and other women/mamas of color around issues with accessing needs like food, housing, education and safety, finding out together what our larger ideal community looks like and building it together.”

Currently the  main objectives of Mamas of Color Rising is  to gain equal access to “Mother Friendly Birth Practices” for low income mothers of color. Their goals are:

  • To Create a volunteer doula project for low-income women of color in Austin. This project will begin with 20 women of color being trained as doulas March 2011.
  • To Work in collaboration with pro-midwifery lawyers and other organizations and to get Medicaid to cover Midwifery care in Texas
  • To Start free pre-natal midwifery care in Austin with volunteer midwives. This will serve as as a pilot for a Medicare Proposal.

To that end, Mamas of  Color Rising is working to train 20 women of color as doulas in the greater Austin TX area to serve the Austin Mamas of Color in need. These women will be trained this coming March, 2011. Mamas of Color Rising is raising funds to cover the cost of training for these women. This training will be the first step in launching a culturally based volunteer doula project for low-income women of color in Austin.

Currently, Mamas of Color Rising has raised $933 of the $2000 needed to train the doulas. If you are so moved, please consider donating to Mamas of Color Rising in support of the Doula Training Program. You can make a donation directly on their website mamasofcolorrising.wordpress.com via PayPal.

As Mamas of Color Rising has so aptly pointed out:

“Our vision of organizing around motherhood is not a biological one, it’s not just about biological moms, or even just moms, but about all of those members of a community who share in the often undervalued and invisible work of care-taking and parenting.  It’s not just symbolic either, because unfortunately right now its mothers and other women who do the vast majority of the work of taking care of children, elders, and sick folks who cannot take care of themselves.(all unpaid!)

As Mamas of Color Rising, we want to present these issues for public conversation and struggle. We see this work as a way to challenge the patriarchal and isolating model of nuclear family units AND as a way of creating social justice for everyone because a society is only as good/strong/just, as how it treats its (women) children and elders.

If you agree, please support Mamas of Color Rising.

References:

Association of Texas Midwives

American College of Nurse Midwives: Addendum to Federal Trade Commission Department of Justice Hearings on Healthcare Competition


3 responses to “Mamas of Color Rising: Advocating for Mother Friendly Births For Mamas of Color in Texas”

  1. Elba says:

    Hi there,
    I am a student in the Austin area who is interested in volunteering. I will be attending grad school in the fall and focusing on international reproductive health. Please let me know if there are any volunteer opportunities within your organization. I look forward to hearing from you soon.
    Best,
    Elba Moise

  2. Darline says:

    Elba,
    Thanks for your interest. I don’t have any volunteer opportunities at this time.
    Good Luck with your studies.

  3. Darline says:

    Elba,
    I don’t have any particular volunteer opportunities but I can put you in touch with Mamas of Color Rising. I am sure that they have opportunities for volunteering. Send an e-mail to info@mamasonbedrest.com and I will get you hooked up with Mamas of Color Rising.

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