SPRINGFIELD — A plan to license midwives in Illinois through the state’s Department of Financial and Professional Regulation was passed by the Illinois Senate’s Licensed Activities and Pensions Committee today.
Majority Caucus Whip Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) is the measure’s Senate sponsor.
“If a mother wants to deliver her child at home with the help of a midwife, then she should be able to make that choice,” Martinez said. “My plan will improve health care access and ensure that midwives have the training and licensing needed to participate in safely delivering babies.”
Under Martinez’s legislation, Senate Bill 1754, the Home Birth Safety Act would be established to provide midwives who are not nurse-midwives the ability to provide home birth services by establishing two-year licenses for certified professional midwives.
Martinez’s legislation is an initiative of the Illinois Council of Certified Professional Midwives.
“With the number of home births increasing, there is a real need to have professional licensing in place for midwives,” said Martinez. “Now is the time to license midwives in Illinois.”
In 31 states, midwives practice legally within the health care system. In Illinois, they practice outside of the system. Many mothers already seek to have a home birth, but approximately half of Illinois home births are attended by underground providers.
According to the Illinois Council of Certified Professional Midwives, home birth rates increased nationally by more than 77 percent between 2009 and 2014. In 2014, 57 Illinois counties had no obstetrical doctors.