Homebirth bill sails to governor

09/19/2013

A bill that enables licensed midwives to practice without physician supervision that secured assembly approval in May passed unanimously in the state senate last week. The problem with the current law, which requires official supervision, is that doctors fear losing their liability insurance if they served as supervisors, effectively leaving midwives with no way to follow the letter of the law. The new bill remedies that quandary while stipulating that midwives must refer or transfer a client to a doctor if the mother’s condition “deviates from normal,” though the physician could then decide to return primary care to the midwife. A county official told the Light in July that last year 56 babies in Marin, or 2.4 percent, were born outside a hospital, and most of those were likely home deliveries. Across the U.S., home deliveries constitute a nominal but growing percentage of births as women feel the medical establishment encroaches on their bodily autonomy and does not honor the birthing experience.