Joan Green, a seasoned midwife who lives in Lagunitas, listens to a heartbeat. She may be largely unaffected by a midwifery bill now before the state senate, but advocacy groups are hoping to soon free licensed midwives from a mandate to practice under a physician. David Briggs

Legislation passed by the state assembly in May and by a senate committee on Monday would ease some restrictions faced by midwives in California but would not lift a requirement of physician oversight. That law, though currently unenforced, effectively bars Medi-Cal recipients—25 to 30 percent of Marin’s pregnant women—from midwifery services.

Pushing to allow licensed midwives . . .