From the November 2002 Idaho Observer:

Mennonite midwife jailed for saving a life without a license

by The Idaho Observer

BERLIN, Ohio -- Prayer vigils are being held for Frieda Miller, a Mennonite midwife, who has been jailed since October 23, 2002, for refusing to tell a grand jury who supplied her the drugs that saved a woman's life during a difficult childbirth. Miller, who has delivered nearly 2,000 babies over 17 years, does not have a license to either procure or administer Pitocin or Methergine, but last December she used them to slow the bleeding that came as a result of a complication in childbirth. Once Miller had stabilized the mother she transported her to the local hospital.

“I think if a woman is bleeding, you do what you need to do,” said Miller. “And this is something I could do to help slow it down.”

Hospital staff turned her in for saving the mother's life without a license. She was later convicted for practicing medicine without a license. Because she refuses to identify who supplied her with the drugs that saved a woman's life she was handcuffed and taken away to jail for contempt of court.

“The person that gave me these was just trying to help because they knew that it could save somebody's life,” said Miller. “If somebody was kind enough to do that, I think I can be kind enough to protect their identity.”

Miller could be held for 100 days, until December 31, on the current contempt charge. She may be sentenced to serve 360 days in jail for her conviction. “She's willing to go to jail for as long as it takes. She really is,” said defense attorney Dave Knowlton. “I've never seen a person with such conviction in my life.”

Over 100 Amish and Mennonite mothers and the children Miller has delivered have been holding prayer vigils intended to help the legal system see the error of its bureaucratic ways.

“She should get some leniency, I believe,” VacLib Ohio Chapter President Ramona Boggins said. “I don't think that she's a criminal that deserves to be jailed.”

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