New York Midwife Pleads ‘Not Guilty’ To 95 Felony Charges Over Home Births She’s Attended

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It seems as though the state of New York considers it more ethical to murder babies in the womb at any gestational stage as an abortionist than to assist in the delivery of babies as a midwife.

That is the sad reality Elizabeth Catlin, a certified professional midwife (CPM) in Penn Yan, New York is facing after having attended over 500 births within the rural region’s Mennonite community.

According to the Democrat and Chronicle, Catlin entered a plea of “not guilty” to 95 felony charges associated with practicing midwifery in the state without a license. As a CPM, Catlin can legally serve mothers in 34 states across the country, but a 2011 policy change required all midwives to receive masters’ degrees in order to maintain licensure.

Just before Christmas of 2018, Catlin was arrested in her home and handcuffed in front of her 8-year-old daughter following an incident in which she transferred a mother suffering from complications in childbirth to nearby F.F. Thompson Hospital, who reported Catlin to authorities. The baby was born septic and died six hours after his mother arrived at the hospital.

After waiting an anxiety-filled year, Yahoo News reports, Catlin was finally indicted on Dec. 17, 2019 on:

  • one count of unauthorized practice of a profession (class E felony)
  • 31 counts of 2nd degree possession of a forged instrument (class D felony)
  • 31 counts of 2nd degree identity theft (class E felony)
  • 31 counts of 1st degree falsifying business records (class E felony).
  • one count of criminally negligent homicide (class E felony)

The “criminally negligent homicide” charge stemming from the death of her patient’s son in 2018 was “the most devastating,” Catlin told Yahoo News.

Before she entered her plea, and before Yates County Judge Jason Cook entered the courtroom, the crowd of Catlin’s supporters gathered in the courthouse sang a verse of “Amazing Grace.

Catlin entered a blanket not-guilty plea, prompting what the Democrat and Chronicle says is “sure to be a complex and closely watched jury trial — and continuing an episodic narrative that’s not only upended the lives of Catlin and her family, which includes 14 children and 20 grandchildren, but of the hundreds of Mennonites who relied upon the beloved birth attendant in what midwifery advocates call the ‘maternity-care desert’ of rural upstate New York.”

Ivan Martin, a Mennonite elder and unofficial spokesperson for the community, told Yahoo that “The prosecution of Liz’s case is just an outrageous overreach — 95 charges. I don’t think Jack the Ripper faced that many charges. It’s really insane.”

“I feel in a good position to vigorously defend her rights,” Catlin’s lawyer, David Morabito, a criminal defense attorney who typically defends “serial killers and hitmen,” told Yahoo. No trial date for Catlin has been set, but her case will return for argument of motions on April 14.

Catlin was released on her own recognizance by Judge Jason L. Cook, who also ordered her $15,000 bail to be cleared.

Once more, let’s note the immense irony of a state that would impose such a hefty bail amount on a midwife for delivering children, yet allows actual killers and child abusers to walk free thanks to bail reform.

Catlin’s 95 felony counts, when added together, would carry a maximum prison sentence of 473 years, and constitute the “most charges ever in the history of midwifery in the United States,” according to Melissa Carman, president of midwifery advocacy group NY-CPM.

“These women need resources, they need help,” Melissa Carman said of the state’s Amish and Mennonite communities who typically avoid obstetricians and hospital-based prenatal care. Carman and other advocates have been fighting for a change in state law that would allow CPMs like Catlin to become licensed.

A pre-bill effort alongside Rep. Richard Gottfried (D), called the Unified Midwifery Practice Act (UMPA), will essentially legalize “quality care from providers who respect their cultural history and their way of life,” Carman states.

This is what laws look like in the culture of death, people. It is literally easier to kill babies in New York than to deliver them alive.

Pray for Elizabeth Catlin.

If you are, unfortunately, a New York resident, reach out to Rep. Gottfried and thank him for his efforts thus far in advancing the Unified Midwifery Practice Act. Reach out to your own state representative and urge them to support the act as well.

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