Dear ACNM Members,
At the May 21 and 22, 2019 ACNM business meetings held at the 64th Annual Meeting and Exhibition in the Washington DC area, a number of motions and one recommended Bylaw change were presented for vote. ACNM would like to share with you a summary of actions voted upon by the membership. There was a quorum present for each vote. Please note that with the exception of changes to the Bylaws, all accepted motions are recommendations to the Board of Directors (BOD) for consideration and decision.
Motions from the Floor
1. ACNM should adopt a formal resolution in support of universal health care.
The BOD reviewed and agreed with this motion and it was passed on floor vote. However, it was noted that the ACNM already has a position statement on access to health care (Health Care for All Women and Families). At the December 2018 BOD meeting, the Board directed the Standards and Documents Committee to strengthen the language contained in the 2014 Health Care for All Women and Families position statement to more strongly assert that access to health care is a basic human right and that universal health care for everyone living in the United States should be endorsed by ACNM. The statement is under development.
2. The ACNM BOD should develop a clear policy for reconsidering decisions and policies passed by prior BODs. This policy should address the circumstances whereby prior decisions can be clarified or expanded upon to meet current industry and organizational needs. A process for justifying the overturn of prior decisions should also be developed.
This motion was passed on floor vote. There was agreement among the current Board members that that the BOD has the right and responsibility to reconsider previous decisions when new information or circumstances arise. The Board charged ACNM’s President-Elect with developing a policy to be formally added to the Board Governance Manual that addresses the reconsideration of prior BOD decisions including the potential need to clarify, expand, or overturn prior decisions. A report will be provided in the fall.
3. The ACNM should recognize the prevalence and profound effect of mental health disorders on childbearing women and their families by taking four initial actions.
- Revise the position statement titled “Depression in Women” to be more current and inclusive of the full range of perinatal mental health disorders and childbirth related trauma impacting childbearing women and their families.
- Assemble a task force to develop a Perinatal Mental Health Clinical Bulletin and Tool Kit.
- Develop a strategic partnership with Postpartum Support International (PSI), an organization with the mission of promoting awareness, prevention, and treatment of mental health issues related to childbearing. PSI is recognized as an important resource by the National Institutes of Health and the Alliance for Innovation on Maternal Health.
- Emphasize maternal mental health research, education, and advocacy at the 2020 ACNM Annual Meeting and Exhibition.
This motion was passed on the floor. There was strong support by the BOD to appoint a task force to make recommendations regarding perinatal mood disorders. The President appointed the maker of the motion, Sara Mertz, to chair the task force with the following charge: a) Review and revise as needed the position statement titled “Depression in Women” to be more current and inclusive of the full range of perinatal mental health disorders and childbirth related trauma, b) Develop a Perinatal Mental Health Clinical Bulletin and Tool Kit, and c) Make a recommendation about the need for strategic partnership with other organizations involved with this issue. We will also ask the conference program committee to feature educational content on perinatal mental health at the 2020 Annual Meeting.
4. ACNM members who identify as midwives of color (MOC) or any ACNM member should be able to indicate on the membership application/renewal form that they would like $100 of their total member dues to go directly to the Friends of Midwives of Color Committee (MOCC). This is not an additional donation.
This motion was passed on the floor after being amended to include “or any ACNM member.” The BOD agreed to providing resources to the MOCC in their work to support midwives of color. However, there was concern that the proposed mechanism used to withdraw funds from the ACNM budget was not consistent with ACNM’s Bylaws. Several other mechanisms were proposed during a membership discussion at the Annual Meeting. The Board charged the CEO and Vice President of Finance to work with the Finance and Audit Committee in analyzing the issue and determining viable mechanisms that adhere to ACNM’s Bylaws. A report will be provided by the fall meeting and MOCC will be encouraged to submit budget requests during the annual budget development process.
5. The ACNM BOD should work with ACME, AMCB, and DOME to assure that the complex history of midwifery is honored and carefully and respectfully threaded into the curricula of every midwifery academic program. This would require all midwifery students and faculty to read, at a minimum, Into the Light of Day and A History of Midwifery in the United States.
This motion passed on the floor. The BOD strongly supported the educational intent of the motion. However, it was noted that neither ACNM, AMCB, nor ACME can dictate the manner in which specific content can be taught (for example, requiring that certain bodies of work be read). However, ACNM’s Core Competencies for Basic Midwifery Practice does require teaching the diverse history of midwifery. The BOD requested that Pat Loftman and Katie Moriarty discuss the issue with DOME, AMCB, and ACME to emphasize the important role of diversity in the history of midwifery in the United States.
6. The ACNM BOD should appoint a task force to address bullying that occurs within the midwifery profession.
This motion passed on the floor. The BOD supported the motion and the ACNM President was charged with forming a group to address bullying and end the negative health effects it has on a bullied midwife and the midwifery profession overall. Jessica Anderson will chair the task force.
7. ACNM should produce a strong, unequivocal statement that supports a woman’s right to reproductive health care, including abortion and that also supports midwives’ role in performing abortion care services.
This motion passed on the floor. The BOD reviewed the history of ACNM’s support for access to reproductive health services, including abortion. The choice of abortion as a health care right has long been acknowledged in the ACNM position statement “Access to Comprehensive Sexual and Reproductive Health Care Services” which was updated and revised in 2016. ACNM’s position statement also affirms that abortion care is within the CNM/CM scope of practice. A position statement titled “Midwives as Abortion Providers” that reinforces ACNM’s support for midwives as providers of abortion-related care services is currently in existence. The BOD felt that no further action was necessary.
As mentioned earlier, the Bylaws Committee brought to the floor a proposal for an amendment related to the process of voting on a change to the name of the ACNM.
Under the 2015 Bylaws, a valid vote on a name change requires 1/3 of the active membership to vote, and 2/3 of those members must support the proposed name change. This process is not consistent with how other matters of importance are voted upon by the membership. To address this inconsistency, a proposed change was brought forward in response to member input. The proposed change to the Bylaws would require 20% of the active membership to vote, and 2/3 of those must support the name change. The active members present at the Annual Meeting voted to accept this proposal consistent with our process for making Bylaws changes.
The change is now reflected as an amendment to the approved 2015 Bylaws. Article XVII: Amendments and Revisions, Section C, item 3 now reads: “For the ACNM name change to be adopted, at least 20% of active members must vote and 2/3 of those must vote in support of the name change.”
If you have any questions regarding the actions taken by the membership or the change to the Bylaws, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for your ongoing support of ACNM.