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Midwifery bill passes IN legislature

With the governor’s signature, Indiana would become the 28th state to legalize and regulate midwifery after the House and Senate approved a bill Friday. This marked the first session during which a midwifery bill cleared both houses of the General Assembly.  But key roadblocks remained as recently as last week.

Notably, midwife supporters took issue with a provision in the Senate version of the bill requiring doctors sign a supervisory agreement with midwives.  The supporters said in the other states where that requirement existed, no doctors could sign it, largely for insurance reasons.  After negotiations between House and Senate authors, the bill now requires collaborative agreements, mollifying midwife advocates. 

Representative Charlie Brown (D-Gary) says the legislation helps regulate a practice that’s already going on across the state.

“There are many, many people, ladies and gentlemen, that want to do this and we need to make sure that it’s done safely and in an environment that is conducive for the delivery.”

But Representative Tim Brown (R-Crawfordsville) says the bill won’t have that kind of impact.

“We’re changing the practice of medicine and if that’s the public policy of this body, that’s the public policy of this body.  But don’t think for a minute that safety and infant mortality will drop just because we pass this bill.”

The measure requires four to six years of education or clinical training for midwives, licensing them through the state’s Medical Licensing Board.  It requires mothers under the care of midwives to see a doctor in the first and third trimesters and only allows low-risk pregnancies to take place in the home.

Brandon Smith is excited to be working for public radio in Indiana. He has previously worked in public radio as a reporter and anchor in mid-Missouri for KBIA Radio out of Columbia. Prior to that, he worked for WSPY Radio in Plano, Illinois as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. His first job in radio was in another state capitol, in Jefferson City, Missouri, as a reporter for three radio stations around Missouri. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.