House Bill 1135, a bill that was brought to set criteria for certified professional midwives (CPM) and certified direct entry midwives (CDEM) and legalize the practice of those professionals, passed today with a support of 11 to 1 at the Indiana State House.
This means that if the Senate will pass this bill as well, CDEMs and CPMs will legally be allowed to practice in the state of Indiana and attend home births.
You can view the full bill here.
Certified Nurse Midwives (CNM) are already allowed to attend home births, but work under the supervision and in conjunction with an obstetrician in a hospital.
There were many testimonies from passionate supporters during the HB 1135 hearing, from CNMs who chose home birth to Amish men testifying their endorsement for home birth. Others who opposed included a ACOG chair and a woman with an unfortunate experience with a midwife.
The main opposition to the bill was the differences in training that CNMs get compared to professional or direct entry midwives.
This was an important hearing for women's rights. Women are allowed to choose abortion or adoption during pregnancy, but if a woman chooses to have and keep her baby, she was forced to confinements of very few trained professionals legally allowed to attend home birth in Indiana.
But rights isn't the only concern here.
Alicia Suarez, an Associate Professor of Sociology at Depauw University who has been studying the practice of midwifery in what she has termed “prohibition states”, spoke on the impact and benefits of the practice of midwifery and home birth. In states where midwifery is illegal the infant mortality rates are higher.
Increasingly this right to choose out-of-hospital option for birth is being defined and viewed as a human rights issue, given that it is an option available throughout the world and is the first choice in many industrialized nations.
Most insurances cover home birth with midwives, including Indiana Medicaid, Hoosier Healthwise.