The committee voted 5-1 before a hearing room packed with citizens from across the state, many of whom represented families who wish to choose a legal midwife to assist them during childbirth. Committee members combined the bill with SB870, a repeal of the midwifery provision in current statute. The resulting committee substitute is a comprehensive piece of midwifery legislation.
“Missouri needs legal midwives,” said Debbie Smithey, President of Missouri Midwives Association. “This bill will license and regulate the midwives whose legal status is currently in question before the Supreme Court.”Currently, Certified Nurse-Midwives, who work predominantly in hospital settings, are licensed and regulated in all 50 states, while Certified Professional Midwives, who work in out-of-hospital settings, are licensed and regulated in 24 states, with legislation pending in an additional 20 states, Missouri among them.
CPMs’ training as specialists in out-of-hospital maternity care qualifies them as essential providers during disasters in which hospitals become inaccessible or unsafe for laboring mothers and newborn babies. In addition, this bill will ensure that all babies born outside of the hospital undergo state-mandated newborn screenings and are provided with legal and secure birth certificates.
“We applaud the committee for their clear show of support for health care freedom in childbirth,” said Laurel Smith, President of Friends of Missouri Midwives, a statewide network of thousands of Missouri homebirth families, “The parents of our state have been deprived of the freedom to choose a legal midwife specifically trained in out-of-hospital maternity care for too long. We look forward to seeing this issue debated in the full Senate and anticipate the day when professional midwives are legally recognized and able to serve women freely.”
Missouri is part of The Big Push for Midwives Campaign