Lawsuit Filed Against Unlicensed Porter County Midwife


Katie Stancombe for www.for

The state of Indiana is suing a Porter County midwife who says she is exempt from state licensing requirements to continue practicing midwifery.

Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill filed a complaint against Julie Lentz of Sacred Lotus Midwifery Services for practicing midwifery without being licensed as required by state law. Lentz, the complaint alleges, has failed to obtain either a certified nurse midwife license or a certified direct entry midwife certificate pursuant to Ind. Code § 25-23.4-3-1.

Porter Superior Court Judge Mary Harper granted a 10-day emergency temporary restraining order against Lentz, preventing her from operating as a midwife in the Hoosier state. The AG’s office also seeks a longer injunction, along with civil penalties and court costs. A hearing has been scheduled for 2:30 p.m. (CST) July 8.

Lentz practices as a “traditional midwife” in the Valparaiso area, offering “personalized prenatal, birthing, and postnatal care,” according to Sacred Lotus Midwifery Services’ website.

Consumers who wish to use Lentz as a midwife sign a contract of service with her, the AG’s complaint states. In the contract, Lentz acknowledges that she is not licensed by the State of Indiana and that the contract of service requires consumers to join Lentz’s Private Membership Association called Dar a Luz.

According to the contract, “[t]his means that the midwife and all clients are private members and not a part of the public sector” and that Dar a Luz members may bypass any governmental regulatory or licensing requirements due to entering into private contracts with only other members of the PMA, the complaint states.At some point, Lentz allegedly contracted with a Valparaiso family to act as the midwife at the expectant mother’s home birth. At the time, the mother stopped seeing other doctors, leaving Lentz as her only healthcare provider during the final months of her pregnancy, the Post Tribune reported.

Days before the baby’s due date, the mother experienced complications and a leak of amniotic fluid, but Lentz advised her not to go the hospital. An ultrasound conducted more than a week later at the hospital revealed that the baby had died. Doctors informed the mother she was lucky to be alive and that she had “one of the worst infections the doctor had seen in her 10 years of practice,” and that the amniotic sac was completely drained of fluid, the Tribune reported.

In a 2018 email sent to the AG’s Medical Licensing Section, Lentz allegedly asserted that she is “aware that the state of Indiana has jurisdiction over the state run hospitals and medical facilities.” However, “such public (corporate) laws do not apply to people acting in their private character and capacity, in the privacy of their own homes.”

“Please be advised that I am exercising constitutionally secured rights and not mere privileges and immunities offer (sic) to corporations and other entities. Corporate law does not apply to me in my private character and capacity,” the email reads, according to the complaint.

“Indiana law is designed to ensure that midwives meet certain educational and other requirements so they can provide safe and effective care to expecting mothers,” Hill said in a statement. “Engaging in consumer transactions without a required permit or other license is a deceptive act in violation of Indiana’s Deceptive Consumer Sales Act.”

A cease and desist motion was also filed against Lentz before the Indiana State Board of Nursing. The board has agreed to hear the motions at a hearing likely be held on July 18. If the motion is granted, Lentz would be ordered to cease the practice of midwifery.

Lentz did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Online court records show no attorney is currently listed for her.