Kay Ivey signs bill legalizing midwifery in Alabama

pregnant fetal heartbeat

On Wednesday, Alabama officially became the 33rd state to legalize certified professional midwives (CPMs) when Governor Kay Ivey signed HB315 into law.

The bill, which passed in the final hours of the state’s 2017 legislative session Friday, allows CPMs to deliver babies in Alabama homes. Prior to Ivey’s signature it was a misdemeanor offense to practice midwifery without a license issued by the state Board of Nursing and the Board of Medical Examiners.

“After thoughtful and deliberate consideration, I signed the midwifery bill because it gives mothers more options to choose how to deliver their baby, while simultaneously ensuring that those midwives who practice in Alabama are qualified to do so,” said Ivey. “As signed into law, HB315 strikes the appropriate balance of removing regulations to allow midwives to practice, while also making sure offered services are safe for and in the best interests of mothers and children.

The bill faced many challenges as it made its way through the state legislature, as many lawmakers questioned the safety of the bill.

Ultimately amendments were added to alleviate those concerns and the version delivered to Ivey now requires: practicing midwives to hold certification from the Institute for Credentialing Excellence; establishes a state board to oversee the standards; practicing midwives will have to have at least $300,000 in professional liability insurance; midwives must establish a written emergency plan, signed by the pregnant woman, at least 30 days prior to the birth.

For women hoping to have a natural, home birth or for those without easy access to hospital with obstetric care, this reverse is policy welcome news.

“We are so thankful to Governor Kay Ivey for supporting access to the qualified care of a CPM!” the Alabama Birth Coalition wrote on Facebook.