LAGRANGE — An Albion woman entered a guilty plea in LaGrange Superior Court Wednesday to unlawful practice of midwifery.
Under the terms of her plea deal, other charges against Delores Jean Stanley — including violation of probation — will be dismissed. The agreement also calls for a 330-day sentence plus a term of probation. It’s possible Stanley could serve the sentence in the community corrections program.
Judge George Brown said he would take the plea agreement under advisement. Further court proceedings for Stanley are set for May 12.
Stanley had been charged in LaGrange County in 2009 with three counts of unlawful practice of medicine. She ultimately pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of neglect of a dependent. New charges were brought against her in 2012.
Deputy Prosecutor Greg Kenner said that under the law, a midwife is supposed to have a license and be under the guidance of a doctor.
“We don’t have to be concerned as long as a doctor is overseeing,” he said after Thursday’s court hearing. “If it’s brought to our attention that (a midwife) is practicing without a doctor’s supervision, we have to do something about it.”
Last year, a new law went into effect making Indiana the 28th state in the nation to legalize and regulate midwives who attend at-home births. Prior to that, it had been illegal for midwives to be involved in home births in Indiana unless they were certified nurse-midwives licensed by the state.
House Enrolled Act 1135 also created a mechanism for the state to now recognize an additional group of midwives who routinely attend home births and who have been certified by a national midwifery organization recognized by other states.
The new law still keeps intact a provision in the old law that makes it illegal to practice midwifery without being licensed by the state.
After Wednesday’s hearing, Stanley said she has done a lot for LaGrange County.
“I’ve had wonderful births, wonderful outcomes,” she said. Stanley also said she’s now practicing in Michigan.
“Midwife means ‘with woman,’ and I will be with women forever,” she said. “It’s my calling. It’s my passion.”
According to court documents filed in the 2009 case, Stanley had been issued an Advance Practical Nursing License with prescriptive authority through the Indiana Nursing Board board in October 2002. She had also been issued a Controlled Substance Registration License with prescriptive authority. Investigators found that both had expired on Oct. 31, 2005, court documents indicate, and no license to practice medicine was found.
Goshen News statehouse correspondent Maureen Hayden contributed to this article.