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State lawmakers mull licensing midwives for home births

Illinois lawmakers are considering a bill that would license nationally certified midwives to attend home births in the state without supervision by a physician or an advanced nurse.

The measure’s chief sponsor, state Rep. Robyn Gabel, D-Evanston, has support from some Republicans, including state Rep. Michael Tryon of Crystal Lake.

“It’s not illegal to have a baby at home,” Tryon said. “It’s just illegal to have a trained, professional midwife to assist you. And when you look at 27 other states that have midwifery legislation, I believe we need this passed so that citizens in Illinois have these same choices.”

Hundreds of Illinois women have home births each year. Some are following religious beliefs. Others are trying to avoid a C-section.

The state House could vote on the legislation as early as Monday.

The bill’s opponents include the Illinois State Medical Society, which says the licensing would endanger mothers and babies.

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