VALPARAISO — The Indiana attorney general's office is seeking to shut down and penalize a second unlicensed midwife operating in Porter County.
The latest civil action targets Portage resident Rachael Van Sickle operating as a "traditional midwife" in Valparaiso under the business name of NWI Midwifery.
Services she offers include prenatal visits, attending home births and postpartum care for up to eight weeks, according to the state's complaint.
State law requires that midwives are either "licensed to practice as a certified nurse midwife or obtains a certified direct entry midwife certificate," the complaint says. Van Sickle has neither, the state says.
Such requirements "ensures that they possess the required education and training to manage any unexpected problems affecting the mother or child during birth," according to the attorney general's office.
At the core of the complaint, and one earlier this year targeting Chesterton midwife Julie Lentz, is the women's argument of operating without a license by using what is known as a "private membership association," the state says.
The association attempts to bypass government regulations by having clients agree to multiple waivers and releases, according to the state.
Van Sickle reportedly argued to the state that she has a constitutional right to engage in "private contracts and privately provide services to people in their own homes," according to the state.
Van Sickle said in an email to the state that, "My clients are educated people that are fully aware of my credentials and limitations."
She told The Times Friday she is upfront about not having the licensing required by the state and operates very differently than Lentz, whose case involved the death of an unborn baby. A local judge ordered in July that Lentz cease her work while the civil action against her by the state proceeds.
"I think it's a human rights issue that the state is trying to take away a woman's right to decide who attends their births," Van Sickle said.
The state's civil complaint alleges four counts of wrongdoing involving violations of the deceptive consumer sales act.
It seeks to stop Van Sickle from practicing any further without a license and to order her to pay the state for its costs in bringing the action and pay civil penalties.