Midwifery care is an important health option that women have the right to have access to. However, midwifery care in California for out of hospital births is at risk by the proposal of a new law/bill SB 304 and AB1308.
In summary these laws might make it extremely difficult for midwives to provide homebirth and birth center services unless they are directly supervised by a physician. Physician supervision is a debatable and unnecessary requirement for a trained licensed midwife and only serves to limit and restrict midwifery care.
Physicians for many reasons including malpractice insurance restraints are not able to provide direct supervision to independent midwives. Therefore, if a midwife is unable to be supervised then she is breaking the proposed law and could be criminally prosecuted.
Although, supervision is required currently by the law, the rule is not enforced and midwives are not criminally charged for not having physician supervision.
No reason exists to limit the practice of midwifery care in California or throughout the United States. Midwives are an important part of the maternity healthcare team and help to significantly improve birth outcomes.
Women must and should have the choice of midwifery care: in a hospital, in a birth center, and at a homebirth.
American is founded upon freedom of choice. We must not let midwifery care be restricted. Although, every woman may not chose to have a homebirth or give birth at a free standing birth center, those options should exist.