The midwifery bills under consideration in Maryland and North Carolina would make it legal for direct-entry midwives to attend homebirths. In Maryland, HB9 and SB105 are house and senate versions of the same bill, and in North Carolina, S542 decriminalizes direct-entry midwifery, and S543, the Home Birth Freedom Act, licenses direct-entry midwives.
The bills require:
- Written collaboration agreements **only in MD**
- No VBAC, breech, or multiples at homebirths **only in MD**
- An MEAC education
- An active license to practice
The bills do not require midwives to:
- Carry malpractice insurance
- Report stats to the public
If you think these midwifery licensing bills benefit women, you’re wrong. They benefit midwives by allowing them to charge money to attend homebirths without the regulations in place to protect women and babies. North Carolina is not considering any limitations on scope or oversight through collaboration agreements, which means that midwives there would be virtually unregulated.
At the national level, homebirth is 4 times more deadly for babies than hospital births. In Oregon, where homebirth stats are mandated to be released to the public, midwives have a homebirth death rate 8 times higher than hospital birth. Homebirth is also incredibly deadly for women. Dr. Amy Tuteur has reported on 9 women who died during homebirth attempts, leaving 33 children motherless.
It’s a fantasy sold by midwives that homebirth will be a beautiful experience, and it’s killing women and babies.
The professional organizations of homebirth midwives embrace a disturbing fatalistic philosophy of the art of letting go. It’s a tacit admission that babies are dying preventable deaths at their hands, but rather than cease practicing, they’ve decided that death is an acceptable outcome. This idea is endorsed in the MANA Statement of Values and Ethics and seconded in the NARM CPM Practice Guidelines. The Association of Independent Midwives of Maryland has even put “the art of letting go” directly on their website.
Could there be a worse choice of “midwife” than someone who doesn’t care if the baby lives or dies?
If these bills really served women and babies, they would require midwives to carry malpractice insurance. Requiring insurance cuts out-of-hospital mortality in half, without reducing access to homebirth providers. When midwives are required to carry insurance, they have to worry about a lawsuit or being dropped from insurance, so they have some skin in the game. Someone who plans to deliver babies without carrying malpractice insurance is an unethical provider. It means they don't intend to be accountable for outcomes.
An insurance requirement only benefits women and babies, so excluding it tells us these bills aren’t really about them. They’re about midwives.
Consumers lobbying to legalize these fraudulent midwives have no idea what they really stand for.
Legislators in Maryland and North Carolina should vote NO on these bills, or they will be putting a stamp of approval on dangerous midwives, allowing them to con more women, only leading to more preventable deaths of women and babies at homebirths.