Governor Jerry Brown has signed a women’s health access bill, AB 1308, authored by Assemblywoman Susan A. Bonilla (D-Concord), which removes barriers to licensed midwifery while improving safety for mothers and their babies.
“I believe that midwives have a passion and a commitment to the prenatal care process and the labor and delivery process that’s really excellent,” said Assemblywoman Bonilla. “This is a historic new law because it finally ensures that women who choose to have midwives deliver their babies, will have the peace-of-mind knowing that proper safeguards are in place to provide them with physician care if necessary.”
Since midwives were first licensed in 1993, acquiring physician supervision has been an unobtainable goal. AB 1308 defines the scope of practice of licensed midwives, authorizing them to only attend cases of normal birth while removing the requirement for physician supervision. It also increases informed consent and improves the transfer process by requiring midwives to provide medical records and update the receiving physician on the status of labor if a hospital transfer is necessary.
AB 1308 is strongly supported by the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists – District IX, the California Association of Licensed Midwives, and the California Families for Access to Midwives.
“We are thrilled with the removal of the unobtainable physician supervision requirement from California midwifery law,” said Constance Rock, LM, CPM, President, California Association of Midwives. “We believe this unprecedented policy change will pave the way for real collaboration and support between midwives and physicians, allowing for improved care for the families of California.”
“The impact of this new law cannot be overstated, as it has the potential to usher in a new era of maternity care in our state – and possibly our country,” said Adeola Adeseun, Esq., President, California Families for Access to Midwives. “When midwives are respected and mothers are supported, families are healthier and stronger.”
“ACOG believes that hospitals and birthing centers are the safest settings for birth, but we respect the right of a woman to make an informed decision about place of delivery,” said Dr. Laurie Gregg, ACOG – District IX Chair. “The intent of all our efforts with this bill was to make the home birth choice a little safer and with a better transition from the midwifery home setting to medical care if the need arises. We applaud our collaborators, the Legislature and the Governor for recognizing this goal.”