ADAMS COUNTY, Ind. (WANE) – Two Amish women who were arrested earlier this year after police learned they were serving as midwives without any certifications or formal training have pleaded guilty.
Sylvia C. Eicher, 74, and Lydiann S. Schwartz, 73, both pleaded guilty in Adams County Court to Level 6 felony Practicing Midwifery without a License. Plea agreements call for both to serve no more than 180 days followed by two years of probation, and initial felony charges of Practicing Medicine without a License and Unlawful Possession of a Syringe will be dropped as part of the deals.
Eicher and Schwartz were arrested in May and charged with Practicing Medicine without a License and Unlawful Possession of a Syringe. They initially pleaded not guilty to those charges.
Investigations were spurred by a pair of events in May 2017 – the death of a newborn, and when a pregnant woman admitted she had received injections from one of the women.
Both women were apparently uncertified/unlicensed as midwives. They also admitted to using veterinary medications for their patients.
Eicher and Schwartz have long practiced midwifery in their community. One of the women claimed that they had delivered thousands of babies over multiple decades. They also said they worked with the guidance of at least two area doctors.
A judge must still approve the plea agreements. Sentencing is scheduled for August 24. Over 40 Amish people showed up at their initial court appearance in their support.