Lawmakers nix licensing midwives for homebirths

January 8, 2011

It will remain unlawful in Illinois for midwives who lack advanced medical training to attend homebirths without supervision. Illinois House members on Thursday night voted down a bill that would have created a state license for nationally certified midwives.

Each year hundreds of Illinois women give birth in their home. Some are following religious beliefs. Other women are trying to avoid medical interventions such as C-sections.

Physicians and advanced nurses willing to attend home births are in short supply. The bill would have set up state licensing for certified professional midwives to step in. The measure’s sponsor, state Rep. Robyn Gabel, D-Evanston, said it would have increased safety for the mothers and babies.

But the Illinois State Medical Society and the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists argued the midwives couldn’t handle many birth complications.

The vote against the bill was 71-47.