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Midwives are on the verge of Illinois licensure

Flickr by Robin Salman https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/legalcode

The Illinois Senate approved a measure to reinstate licensure for certified professional midwives, or CPMs, this week. It likely spells the end of a decades-long campaign for midwives to practice legally in the state.

Those with dual certifications in nursing and midwifery have still been able to supervise births in lllinois, but midwifery has been illegal in the state since 1992.

State Senator Cristina Castro, D-Elgin, wanted to sponsor the bill after learning about disparities in maternal health between women of color and white women.

“Black and Latina women will have another option when it comes to their health and especially their maternal health,” she said.

The effort to make midwifery legal again in Illinois is years in the making. Once the licensing process becomes law, Castro said she’s hopeful about getting midwifery services covered through Medicaid.

“In order to look at getting it covered through Medicaid, it has to be licensed,” she said. “This is the first step into those conversations, so once the governor signs it into law, there is a commitment that we’re going to come back and look at that issue.”

The bill passed the House this spring. Gov. J.B. Pritzker is expected to sign it into law, making Illinois the 36th state to legalize and license certified professional midwives.

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