Midwives Say Idaho Licensing Law Has Brought The Practice Out Of The Shadows

By Jessica Robinson

Idaho midwives say the state's decision five years ago to officially license midwives has brought the practice out of the shadows. And they're encouraging lawmakers to approve a bill that would extend the law for another 10 years.

Idaho started licensing midwives in 2010 under the Midwifery Practice Act so midwives could deliver babies in homes and at birthing centers legally. But the law was only for a five-year trial period.

The Idaho Midwifery Council is now asking lawmakers to renew the law before it sunsets this summer. The Council's Kris Ellis says requiring midwives to be licensed has improved the quality of care.

Kris Ellis: “They can legally care life-saving medications, those things that are really part of midwifery care, without being afraid of being put in jail if they were caught. Before it was considered practicing without a license and it was a felony.”

Neither Oregon nor Washington have sunset clauses in their midwife laws. Washington midwives have been licensed for decades. In Oregon, midwifery licenses become mandatory in 2015.

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