Midwife Headed To Jail For Religious Beliefs

Woman Refuses To Disclose Where She Got Prescription Drugs
NewsNet 5, Mar. 12, 2003

HOLMES COUNTY, Ohio — A controversial Holmes County midwife who is days away from heading back to the slammer spoke one-on-one about her situation with NewsChannel5’s Paul Kiska.

Frieda Miller has helped to deliver nearly 2,000 in the last 17 years.

On Friday, Miller will go back to jail to finish her sentence for not telling a grand jury who gave her the prescription drugs she used to stop a woman from bleeding after delivering the woman’s baby more than a year ago.

Miller, who is Mennonite, strongly believes that giving the name would violate religious beliefs. “Because I have convictions — religious convictions — not to harm somebody else,” she said. “If I did that, I wouldn’t be true to my convictions.”

Midwives are not licensed to give drugs, so a judge found her in contempt of court when she wouldn’t tell who gave her the prescriptions.

She already spent two months in jail but got out during her appeal, which she lost. Now, she’s going back again for three months to finish her sentence.

After she gets out, she could be recharged and sent back to jail if she still doesn’t give prosecutors the name of a doctor they believe supplied her with the prescriptions.

“She holds the keys,” said Steve Knowling, assistant prosecutor in Holmes County. “Tell us where the drugs came from.”

Miller said she’s grateful for all the support she’s received. “I’ve gotten a lot of support from midwives, support from all over the U.S.,” she said.

She said she’s heard from people offering their support from as far away as Russia. Miller said one of the hardest parts of going back to jail will be missing springtime.

To pass the time in jail, she said she will sing out loud. She said that no one seemed to mind when she sang songs the last time she was locked up.

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