Ellen M. Baumann is a licensed attorney practicing in Carrollton, Texas with her husband David (both graduates of Southern Methodist University School of Law). She became passionate about childbirth and midwifery issues after the birth of their second son, a CPM attended home birth. She counsels midwives and expectant mothers, and plans to become a childbirth educator.

Karen Dale Persall Brock has been married to Scotty Brock since 1975 and is the mother of four children. She and her family live in Cullman, Alabama. She became interested in midwifery after the homebirth of her second child. After many years of serving families with out-of-hospital births, she became a CPM in 1997, and later became licensed in the state of Tennessee. Alabama midwives are in an ongoing battle for rights, and she no longer works in the state. She does serve women in Tennessee and Mississippi. Also, many Alabama families travel out-of-state to deliver their babies with her. Karen plans to continue to offer women support for out-of-hospital birth and to work to change the oppressed conditions in Alabama.

Steve Cochran. As founder and president of Virginia Birthing Freedom and co-founder of The Institute for Childbirth Policy Reform, Steve Cochran has initiated a number of government-sponsored studies and legislative campaigns devoted to increasing access to midwifery care, limiting the use of Cytotec, and strengthening informed consent statutes. He has also worked on a range of public relations and community organizing projects that have resulted in balanced media coverage of the issues surrounding the criminal prosecution of midwives and the need to reform current maternity-care policies and practices.

Christa Craven, Ph.D. teaches Anthropology at Mary Washington College in Virginia. She studies contemporary political advocacy for midwifery in the United States in the context of historical movements around women’s healthcare. She is on the Executive Board of Virginia Friends of Midwives and a Legislative Advisor to the Commonwealth Midwives Alliance.

Ida Darragh has been a midwife for 20 years, licensed for 18, and a CPM for 8. She currently works with the North American Registry of Midwives (NARM) in test development. She also acts as a consultant with states that are interesting in licensing midwives through the CPM process. Ida lives in Little Rock, Arkansas, with her husband of 33 years. They have three children and one grandchild.

Ollie Anne Hamilton, LDEM, CPM of Great Falls, Montana, has been practicing midwifery since 1977. She started in Denver, Colorado and has also practiced in Wyoming. Although she has twice had charges brought against her, both situations came out well, resulting “only” in aggravation and loss of money. She has three grown children and 2 grandchildren. Her son Montane is owner of Birth Partners and she runs Birth With Love, a midwifery supply business. She still attends about six births per year.

Susan Hodges an activist for midwifery since 1985, is a founder and the current president of Citizens for Midwifery. She is a member of the Consumer Panel of the Cochrane Collaboration's Pregnancy and Childbirth Group, and she was a consumer member of NARM’s Certification Task Force (1994-1996) which created the Certified Professional Midwife credential. Her two children were born at home with midwives. Susan has presented many workshops and talks and is editor of the Citizens for Midwifery quarterly newsletter. Publications include: A consumer viewpoint: Challenges for Birth-Related Research. (BIRTH 27:4 Dec 2000).

Pam Kolanz, DEM has had a primary midwifery practice in northeast Ohio since 1997. She currently offers service as Treasurer and Legislative Chairperson of the Ohio Midwives Alliance, President of ICAN of Greater Cleveland, and Facilitator/Founder of “It's About Birth Choices!” Additionally, she has served childbearing families in the capacity of childbirth educator, and doula/monitrice for more than two decades.

Erika Obert is a doula and a student at The Michigan School of Traditional Midwifery. More information about her doula service is available at She hopes to begin apprenticing with a midwife soon and eventually have her own homebirth midwifery service. Erika and her husband Ken have two daughters and are ardent supporters of midwifery, homebirth, and home schooling.

Katherine Prown, Ph.D. began working as a midwifery advocate in 1992, when the midwife who attended the birth of her first child underwent investigation for practicing medicine without a license. In the years since she has organized client support on behalf of a number of midwives experiencing legal challenges and is particularly interested in raising awareness about the need to respond to negative media coverage of midwifery prosecutions and childbirth issues generally. She lives in Fox Point, Wisconsin, with her husband Jon and their children, Henry, Fred and Eddie.

Kenneth Runes is a licensed attorney and solo practitioner in Mount Prospect, Illinois. He has been involved in the fight for birth choice since 1994 and has represented several midwives (including his wife Valerie) in proceedings brought by the Illinois Department of Professional Regulation. He has testified on behalf of midwifery legislation and has advised multitudes of midwives regarding interactions with law enforcement, clients and administrative agencies.

Geradine Simkins is a midwife, activist and visionary. She became a lay midwife in 1976, then a Certified (direct-entry) Midwife, and finally a Certified Nurse Midwife. She has a Master's Degree in nursing with a specialty in women's health. Gera has provided midwifery care in a variety of settings--home, birth center, clinics and hospitals. She values diversity in midwifery education, practice style, venue, and clientele. Gera is the Executive Director of Birthways Midwifery and is a maternal and child health consultant and researcher for the Inter-Tribal Council of Michigan. She sits on the Board of Directors of the Midwives Alliance of North America and the Foundation for the Advancement of Midwifery. For Gera, midwifery is not only a "calling", but a "call to action" in the arenas of social, political and health care reform.

Erik L. Smith works as a paralegal for the Manring & Farrell Law Firm in Columbus, Ohio, and as an independent legal researcher for family law and personal injury attorneys. He also holds a master’s degree in Psychology and a degree in Swedish Language. His other publications include Midwifery and the Constitution (in Midwifery Today Spring 2003) and numerous articles on adoption law and policy published online and in hard copy. He has also worked as a foreign book reporter and as a guest researcher for the Swedish government and can be reached at:

Melissa Smith-Tourville is a wife, mother and midwife in Wisconsin. She was mentored in California by midwives who were living examples that supporting one another brings a community together. She hopes to create a world where midwives not only come together to support one another before any legal problems arise, but stand alongside one another during a legal crisis.

Valerie Vickerman Runes, a former RN/CPM, has received two Cease and Desist orders from the State of Illinois, and has been involved in administrative, circuit, and federal court battles with the State since 1998. Her RN license has been suspended indefinitely by the Illinois Department of Professional Regulation for “practicing beyond its scope” as a homebirth midwife. The mother of four grown children, she is probably best known for her very open and public defiance of what she feels to be the unconstitutional application of Illinois’ non-existent “law”. Retired from active midwifery practice, her future plans include attending law school so she may be better armed to continue the battle.