Amish Midwives Plead Guilty To Felony Charges; Face 180 Days Imprisonment

From wane.com:

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.



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    29 Comments

    1. Amish Midwives Judgment

      Hopefully, all will be saved through policy changes on Midwifery. I support the midwifery practice. Which has been apart of America since our countries beginning.

      1. Beverly

        Midwife sentence

        As long as it is practiced within the legal guidelines!

    2. andreas Ost

      defintions?

      So Ohio has a legal definition of “midwife”, passed by state legislative? what is it? what are the qualification standards, education, apprenticeship? If such does not exist, then no crime exists. So anyone, mother, spouse helping deliver a baby is guilty of what? Possession of Hypo needle? are they regulated by state? Can a veterinarian have them? A person with diabetes? Practicing medicine w/o license? Don’t give your 16 yr old (minor) aspirin then.
      Just another witch hunt by the “establishment of the week”. who ALWAYS persecute “others” no matter what the beliefs or practices. Why do so few MORAL people run for office? & when they (rarely) get elected, do they become morally corrupt?
      Again any rational & moral person would recall WWII. & ask “after them, am I next?”

      1. Shelley

        Please re-read

        This was in Indiana, not Ohio.

      2. Elsie

        Oh please!

        To the person defending these women, get a grip. Would you like your wife or daughter injectedwith medicine intended for a horse or cow? Of course you opine about all the thousands of babies they’ve delivered. Do you realize how many home births result in the mother’s death? Don’t these mothers have prenatal care with an obstetrician? Is it money that prevents you from having the obstetrician deliver the baby? The birthing process is not the same for every woman and God forbid that mother dies during or after the birth? Yes, it’s common around here but it’s a dangerous practice. A gamble. And what meds are injected? Definitely not a drug approved by the FDA if it’s for sheep. Or horses. Seriously. All these pseudo nurses need to be in jail.

      3. Tam

        Aspirin?

        I have to laugh. You compare this practice to giving your child an aspirin. Seriously.

    3. Andrea Allen

      My prayers for this Amish Community

      I can’t believe, that after all these years, our laws are still being forced upon a culture, that has chosen to separate themselves from this world, not out of exclusivity, but out of their dedication to their faith. They have always refused modern medicine and leaned on the assistance of midwives. Many are certified but many others are certified through life experience. I pray for these two women and their community. I have much love and respect for the Amish culturr.

      1. Alex Knisely

        Refusal of modern medicine -- for Andrea ALLEN

        Ma’am, some Amish people are happy to accept modern medicine. Coronary-artery surgery, cancer chemotherapy and radiotherapy, even liver transplants.

        They are just as happy, though, to accept chiropractic, or herbal decoctions, or “This salve dried up my neighbour’s chronic skin condition, might help your cancer”. For them no hierarchy of medical authority exists, whilst most of us in “English world” would nod to “science” and trust foremost in allopathy, that is, “standard” medicine.

        Thus you wind up with infants whose rickets is so bad that they need six months on a ventilator in an ICU because their chest cages are non-ossified soup — to treat liver disease, the children have been given goats’ milk “because it’s natural” rather than Vitamin D in the doses that their systems need to put calcium into bones — and “standard” doctors saying in despair, “Amish or no, they are abusing that child by not giving proper treatment, and respect their culture or no, I will swear out a warrant against the parents if they don’t bring her in yesterday”. True story — I knew parents and child.

        Those parents went to their bishop when they got the “bring her in or lose her to foster care” letter and asked, Can they do this? When they learned that yes, the hospital could, they folded their hand and brought the little girl in. But there could have been a confrontation. That might have got a lot of news publicity. Folding got none. I think that we English hear mostly about the confrontations and not about the acceptances.

        As I write this I need to remind myself — Lancaster Amish and Swartzentruber Amish are very different breeds of cat, with ideas about medical care as different between the groups as are the ladies’ bonnets. So please take what I’ve written as reflecting only what I’ve seen, and not as a denial of what you’ve seen.

        My take on the present Indiana events is that “thousands of babies over multiple decades” meant hundreds of thousands of dollars that the local “standard” medical community believed was due OB-GYNs and “licenced” midwives, and when they saw a chance to put this Amish competition out of business, they took it, and came down on the two women as hard as they could. But then I could be overly cynical…

        1. I agree with that last paragraph Alex

          1. Alex Knisely

            "Follow the money" -- for Debbie Halcomb

            Thank you, ma’am.

        2. Treena

          I disagree. Their Hippocratic oath ensured they would save lives. This is not some ploy!

        3. Kristy

          LOL @ all the Karens in here who wish they were Amish, but want their cell phones and NO RELIGION

          You all know who you are. Mind your own business, Karen.

      2. Stephanie Zito

        Justice for Amish Midwives

        I think this case is a reminder of the efforts that the English make to destroy the Amish Christian Community. Although I am not clear as to what kind of medication was injected via so called “veterinary” practice, the fact remains these two Amish Midwives have assisted in 1000s of births and with assistance of two Doctors. These two doctors should have also been brought in for questioning and sentenced as well since the Amish women were sentenced. The doctors are culpable in this case. I also have no respect for these doctors because they should have testified on behalf to support these Amish midwives. Anyone can get needles. There is no law that people can buy veterinary drugs for their domestic pets and livestock. Why is it so different that the Amish should do the same. Yet with respect for human life these Amish do all they can to help save and preserve human life. Even with a registered nurse or doctor there can be death in the birth of an infant including in a hospital. The penalty these Amish face is harsh and severe. The court has not respect for the Amish community. If there is proof that the midwives used drugs meant for animals and determined they are not medically approved for humans then they should only pay a fine and with warnining. Perhaps if the State is so concerned about the Amish who work within their own community the State should pay for these midwives to receive training and receive certification. But we all recognize that this is nothing more than an issue that has to do more with the State seeking to gain revenue through demanding that one needs to be licensed to practice “midwifery”. I would like to know if there is a law that specifically states that the Amish are required by law to have a license to be a midwife. I would also like to see a smart enough Attorney step in and appeal this case and win the case. As we know this country still has the battle of legalizing abortions or not and we have states that insist abortion should be legal. Yet abortion happens all the time and governments turn their eye away from the reality that an abortion kills another human being plus the fetus actually feels the pain when being torn apart. So why is it that the Amish have to be chosen in whatever way possible by the English to seek to destroy and discredit the Amish. If anything the Amish have a higher standard of living as well as Christianity. The Amish are the most sincere honest people in this world. These women pleaded guilty because that was what they believed they had to plead. I do not think they are guilty for being midwives without a license. The practice of midwives has been going on for centuries. Think about the english who live in the middle of nowhere miles from any doctor , registered nurse or hospital and ask what do they do when a mother is ready to give birth with no medical assistance. The baby is born either with or without any assistance from the husband or older child or closest “neighbor”. What is the difference between the english relying on their own unlicensed “midwife”? There is no difference and I think the penalty these Amish face is unjust and harsh. I hope an Attorney realizes the human rights and religious freedom of these Amish have been denied and the State should be sued for those reasons alone. I respect the Amish community more than I do the english and I am not Amish. But you can be sure if I thought my becoming Amish so that I could help them and defend them would be acceptable to the Amish I would become one. They need all the support and help and respect from the english. God Bless these Amish Midwives and all other Amish.

      3. P. J.

        Women never die in maternity hospitals?

        I had 12 teeth very successfully pulled in Sonora, Mexico without an X-ray.

        Who requires American Insured Medicine with huge copayments.

        Western medicine is rotten to the core and disgustingly ineffective with a 2-minute doctor consultation.

        Botched back surgeries knee replacements. HIV/AIDS & COVID-19 nonsense.

    4. Delivering babies without a license

      Here are two Amish women who’ve probably delivered scores of babies in their day. They’re midwives for crying out loud; they know what they’re doing. How many times have we seen in the news or heard on the radio or read about it in the newspaper where a taxi driver delivered a baby while on the way to the hospital with a potential mother in his cab. How many times have we heard, seen, whatever about a police officer delivering a baby for a mother in a public place; a mall, a library, etc. One can bet one’s bottom dollar they weren’t “licensed” to deliver babies. This being said, I never, ever heard that any of these people were sentences to jail time for acting as a “midwife.” Why then, should a couple of Amish women be punished at all for doing what they know how to do better than any cab driver or police officer. It doesn’t make any sense to me.

      1. D Rouse

        Midwives

        Ken Tibbits

        I agree with your statement.
        Our daughter has had all her babies at home, the first two with a very good licensed midwife in Virginia. They then moved to Ireland and a midwife wasn’t available so she delivered at home attended by her husband and myself, her mother. Although I’m an RN I’d never delivered a baby before out of hospital. If there are no problems, the mother’s body delivers the baby all by itself.
        Being modest, she understandably wouldn’t let her father be in the room even though he’s also an RN. He came in to clamp and tie the umbilical cord when it was time. Now they live in Thailand and she recently found out she’s expecting their fourth baby. She only had 1 ultrasound with each child and will do the same in Thailand. They will also have this child as a home birth. Thailand just recently, in the past few weeks, shut down tightly due to Covid.
        They always knew ahead of time where to call and where they would go in case of a delivery emergency however.

    5. Kelly

      Six months?

      Does the punishment really fit the crime? These women have performed illegally for decades, may have caused the death of a newborn baby, used veterinary medicine on pregnant women–and they get 6 mos. in prison? And probation? Really? I don’t want to sound harsh, but these women seem to be getting off lightly!

      1. Really?

        When “nature” takes its course events occur in which no amount of experience can handle. My guess is that you believe that there was never a death -during a birthing process – involved in hospitals with doctors and their assistants in attendance. Well! Take note that “doctors bury their mistakes.” But I guess that’s irrelevant because you say: “they (the two Amish women) may have caused the death of a newborn baby”…not for sure that they ever did indeed cause any deaths while performing their duty as midwives. Please take note also that it really isn’t that many generations ago that a good percentage of births in the US were “home” births. And, they were attended by – you guessed it – midwives! And now, just because you have a prejudice against midwives, you want to send these two Amish women to prison for who knows how long. I suggest you “get a life!”

      2. Robin

        Response to the Sentencing of the Two Women

        People have forgotten that only a FEW GENERATIONS AGO “MOST” people were birthed at HOME and DIED at HOME and were BURIED at the HOME! We also used to GROW OUR OWN FOOD and Hunt and Fish, etc.
        This is about CONTROL, period. Have you noticed how our Govts, around the world now, are infringing on everyone’s right and especially will not target those who live INDEPENDENTLY and INTER-DEPENDENTLY “off-grid”….for everyone’s supposed SAFETY?! How on earth did humans ever have the Self-Empowerment and Personal Responsibility to take care of their own communities “English” or not for THOUSANDS of YEARS without government over-reach. Watch what happens over the next few years; you’ll completely get what I am talking about here. Oh, yes, watch for the new GERM to come out as well. Humanity is under threat right now, and the Amish are just an example of how this is all just starting right now. Truly disturbing, dystopia situation on our planet.

      3. Robin

        Response to the Sentencing of the Two Women

        People have forgotten that only a FEW GENERATIONS AGO “MOST” people were birthed at HOME and DIED at HOME and were BURIED at the HOME! We also used to GROW OUR OWN FOOD and Hunt and Fish, etc.
        This is about CONTROL, period. Have you noticed how our Govts, around the world now, are infringing on everyone’s right and especially will now target those who live INDEPENDENTLY and INTER-DEPENDENTLY “off-grid”….for everyone’s supposed SAFETY?! How on earth did humans ever have the Self-Empowerment and Personal Responsibility to take care of their own communities “English” or not for THOUSANDS of YEARS without government over-reach. Watch what happens over the next few years; you’ll completely get what I am talking about here. Oh, yes, watch for the new GERM to come out as well. Humanity is under threat right now, and the Amish are just an example of how this is all just starting right now. Truly disturbing, dystopia situation on our planet.

        1. Treena

          Agree with Robin!

          My comment “I agree” is to Robin!

    6. Bill Nelson

      180 Days???

      Given the total great service these women had provided in the last DECADES,saving dozens,if not Hundreds of lives, and they are to be sentenced to 6 months incarceration?!?!?!?!
      It’s understandable on one hand with the use of veterinary drugs, and yes I did see the statement that these ladies are working under the direction of a physician, (who obviously is NOT stepping forward to defend these women). But on the other hand, without the”documentation” of extensive medical training, the community has little other recourse than to convict. Practicing medicine without a license MUST be illegal. I know, I know… Midwives have been in service of the public for EONS!!! But with our litigious society, there’s just no way this disappears. If there’s a fund to defer these women’s legal fees, I want very much to contribute!!!

    7. On the fence

      I am on the fence here. I have no problem with these ladies delivering babies in their community and their many years experience would qualify them in my book to know when they needed a doctor with medical experience I would think. I do not consider delivering a baby practicing medicine without a license. I do have a problem however with prescribing medicine, especially animal medicine and diagnosing medical issues. Is the sentence to harsh? I think so but I am not privy to all the facts. I do not think the litigation problem would be a factor since Amish do not sue anyone. I do not know these women and how dedicated they are to their beliefs but from all I have heard about the Amish morals and character I would think that if these two women agreed to not “practice medicine” going forward probation would be enough. After all how many people get off on far worse crimes with just probation or a few days served.

    8. Trust

      Personally, I’ll trust them farther , especially the life experiences than a Dr from the health care system.
      I would prefer veterinary medicine to the medicine they give most humans anyway, the Farmers & ranchers I grew up around used it and it worked just fine for them I’m sure those two ladies have much more common sense and ability to judge wall would work and why wouldn’t.
      the Farmers & ranchers that I grew up around where much healthier than the individuals in general society today by far.

    9. Ann

      licensure

      I am sorry for these women and do not want to see them imprisoned. However as an RN I must say that this is a slippery slope. If this is allowed and normalized why should nurses or doctors have to have licenses.

    10. Rob

      Are these women being tried by thier peers ?
      I think not.

    11. Erica

      This isn't right

      Welcome to America. If they don’t agree with your beliefs they’ll crush you and bring you down. They have been practicing their beliefs for a very long time. We shouldn’t be forcing our regulations on them. This is sickening. So people can get out of serious crimes or hell even not vaccinating because it’s against their beliefs but yet here we are. Yes a baby died and that is tragic but that can happen with any birth.