MANA Region 4 Conference

Chicago, Illinois

June 2003

Judson College
Elgin, Illinois

MANA Region 4 sponsored a tremendous conference at Judson College in Elgin, Illinois -- just outside Chicago.

In recent years, midwives in Region 4 have been beseiged by legal problems and persecution by state governments, so much of the conference focused on these issues.

The conference was well organized and held in a lovely and convenient location. Clearly, the conference crew worked hard to organize an exceptional conference for their region.

One of the most fascinating workshops was presented by Valerie and attorney, Ken Runes. They did a role-play of a midwife in legal trouble, talking with her attorney for the first time.

Ina May Gaskin was our Keynote Speaker


Suzanne Suarez, Attorney-at Law


Pam Maurath, Consumer Advocate


Suzanne Suarez and Pam Maurath did an interesting
presentation about Midwifery and the Law


My presentation addressed how midwives
can develop partnerships with their clients

MANA Region 4 Sage Femme Award

During one of the General Sessions, Ina May Gaskin, former MANA President, was to make a presentation to the midwife chosen to receive MANA Region 4 Sage Femme Award. In her presentation, she said:

"The MANA Reg 4 Rep—Gera Simkins—asked me to present the Midwest Region Sage Femme award. Gera cannot be here until tonight as her son is graduating in St Paul. 

"There were many fine women from whom to choose for this award. Some of the nominees include Jill Kent, MN, Patrice Bobier, MI, Frieda Miller, OH, Jane Peterson, WI, Ginnie Priest, WI, and Alice Skenandore, WI. And we honor each of them for their wonderful gifts to midwifery as well as to mothers, babies and families in the Midwest region.

The Sage Femme Award goes to
North America’s first Certified Professional Midwife—Abby J. Kinne!

When Ina May announced my name,
you could have knocked me over with a feather!

And then she read on....

"Abby been involved in midwifery since 1963 when the first of her five children was born. She was a La Leche League Leader from 1966 to 1981, serving as Group Treasurer, Chapter Treasurer, Chapter President, and State Newsletter Editor.

"She co-founded the Center for Humane Options In Childbirth Experiences (CHOICE), a Columbus, Ohio Midwifery Service, in 1977. She is currently serving CHOICE as Executive Director and Midwifery Coordinator.

"She co-founded the Ohio Midwives’ Alliance (OMA) in 1984. She is currently serving as the President of the Ohio Midwives’ Alliance and Editor of “Birth Write,” OMA’s quarterly newsletter.

"She has served MANA as Statistics and Research Committee Chairperson from 1986 to 1988 and as Membership Chairperson from 1993 to 1995. She served as the MANA Treasurer from 1995 to 2002 and is currently the First Vice President of MANA.

"She has contributed to the development of the North American Registry of Midwives (NARM) National Registry Exam, served on the NARM Certification Task Force as Skills Validation Chair and she holds the distinction of becoming the first NARM Certified Professional Midwife (CPM) in North America in 1994.

"Abby currently has 8 grandchildren and resides in West Jefferson, Ohio with her husband, Rev. Fred Kinne. She has caught hundreds of babies, has mentored many midwives, and has worked tirelessly for three decades for women’s right to choose midwives as care providers.

"Abby, we honor you with this award today, . . .

(reading from the certificate)


In appreciation of your compassionate and skillful work in serving mothers, infants and families,
and for your pioneering and courageous work in preserving the tradition of midwifery,
we honor you, this Seventh Day of June, 2003.

And then she presented me with a beautiful necklace, handmade especially for me...

Healing Earth

A one of a kind design from sterling silver and semiprecious stones for healing and balance, the stones include:

Green Jade - inspires the mind to have wisdom to make quick, precise decisions. Has a calming effect and represents a long and prosperous life.

Bloodstone - Regulates energy flows and emotional balance. It is used for hemorrhaging.

Garnet - Protective energy that heals and balances emotions. Helps heal wounds and clots.

Turquoise - Portects and promotes positive energy for clear thinking.

Jasper - Promotes gastric healing and hormone balance.

Shell - Energy and beauty and domestic organization.

At the Closing Ceremonies of the Conference,

Gera Simkins, MANA Region 4 Representative,
acknowledged the work and dedication of the Conference Coordinators.

Valerie Runes

Vicki Johnson