The RCMP and investigators with the B.C. College of Nurses and Midwives this week searched the home of a Duncan woman who was at the centre of a high-profile court case in the 1980s involving the death of a baby boy.
On Wednesday, the college issued a public advisory saying it had received reports that Gloria Lemay “continues to hold herself out as a birth attendant” in B.C. and may be acting as a midwife.
“Gloria Lemay is not, and has never been, a registrant of the BCCNM and is not entitled to practise midwifery in British Columbia,” the advisory said.
The advisory said the college obtained a search warrant for Lemay’s home last week and conducted the search on Tuesday. It said it will review the evidence seized and determine the next steps it will take against Lemay.
In 1985, Lemay was charged with criminal negligence causing the death of a baby boy in Vancouver. She was convicted in B.C. Supreme Court, but the conviction was overturned by the Supreme Court of Canada, which ruled the fetus was not legally a person.
Lemay was fined $1,000 in 1995 for refusing to give evidence at an inquest probing the death of a baby in 1994. The infant died of cardiac arrest as the result of an infection during delivery.
When midwifery became regulated in 1998, Lemay was invited by the college to take exams to demonstrate her competency but she chose not to.
In February 2000, the B.C. Supreme Court granted the college an injunction that permanently prohibited Lemay from acting as a midwife, using the title “midwife,”or recovering any fee for midwifery services.
After the injunction, however, Lemay continued to practise. The college hired two private investigators who obtained evidence that Lemay was acting as a midwife. Investigators took courses from Lemay, who said she performed four births a month and charged $2,500 per birth.
In July 2002, Lemay was sentenced to five months in jail for repeatedly defying the court injunction prohibiting her from attending home births and practising midwifery.
The court-ordered injunction permanently banning her from acting as a midwife was renewed and updated in 2018.
In its advisory, the college encourages members of the public to verify the registration status of midwives on their website.
On her website, Wise Woman Way of Birth, Lemay describes herself as a childbirth activist, birth attendant and midwifery educator.
She says she is a contributing editor of Midwifery Today Magazine and an advisory board member of Intact America and International Cesarean Awareness Network (ICAN).
“I am a keynote speaker at childbirth conferences and have travelled throughout N. America and Australia teaching midwifery,” her website says.
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