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Albion woman pleads guilty to illegal midwife charges

LAGRANGE, Ind. – An Albion woman has pleaded guilty to charges of illegal midwifery nearly two years after her arrest helped spark a protest by supporters of at-home births.

Delores Jean Stanley of Albion made the guilty plea Wednesday in a LaGrange County court under a deal for prosecutors to dismiss other charges. She faces a possible 330-day sentence and probation when she's sentenced in May, The Goshen News reported (http://bit.ly/1hy2JMC ).

Stanley said after the court hearing that she's had wonderful births in LaGrange County and is now a practicing midwife in Michigan.

"Midwife means `with woman,' and I will be with women forever," she said. "It's my calling. It's my passion."

Stanley's arrest came before state legislators changed Indiana law last year to allow broader licensing for midwives. They previously needed to be certified nurse midwives, which required a bachelor's degree in nursing plus a master's-level degree in midwife training.

About 100 people attended a protest outside the LaGrange County Courthouse in April 2012, weeks after the arrest of Stanley and another midwife. Speakers at the protest highlighted the push over several years for legalizing the practice of certified professional midwives.

Greg Kenner, a LaGrange County deputy prosecutor, said the law requires a midwife to have a license and be under the guidance of a physician.

"We don't have to be concerned as long as a doctor is overseeing," he said. "If it's brought to our attention that (a midwife) is practicing without a doctor's supervision, we have to do something about it."

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Information from: The Goshen News, http://www.goshennews.com

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