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New midwifery bill passes California Senate!

California has introduced another midwifery bill, Senate Bill 350, the Phase-In Midwifery Licensing Act. Written by the California Association of Midwives' Legislative Committee and authored by state Senator Lucy Killea (Ind., San Diego), this bill was introduced in March and passed by the State Senate this July.

California Association of Midwives (CAM) and Consumer Advocates for the Licensure of Midwifery (CALM) decided to work for this bill, a type of "pilot program," because of all the new optimism of the Clinton Administration's attention to health care, and in the wake of increased consumer outrage from Jessica Mitford's book, The American Way of Birth, in addition to the momentum gained from last year's successes with SB-1190 (which was the first midwifery bill to pass through any committee, though it was killed at the next committee).

The decision to move forward quickly with another legislative attempt was also precipitated by Governor Pete Wilson's examination and resulting disciplinary actions regarding the discredited state Medical Board, which has long been the primary hunter of California midwives.

SB-350 is designed for the set-up of a monitoring program, under the auspices of the Department of Public Health, that would track the practice of up to 50 direct-entry midwives for two and a half years. During that period, each midwife would report to a "qualified monitor" all the statistics of her practice, including meonatal mortality, incidences of malpractice, number of hours of care, cost of services, etc.

If there are no "unfavorable conclusions," then the Health Department will develop, by Jan. 1, 1997, a licensing mechanism for the state's direct-entry midwives.

The bill is being introduced simultaneously in the State Assembly, authored by representative Barbara Lee (from the Oakland area) as AB-1210. She also introduced last year's Senate bill to the Assembly at AB-1294.
COPYRIGHT 1993 Association of Labor Assistants & Childbirth Educators
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Copyright 1993, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Publication:Special Delivery
Date:Jun 22, 1993
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