Illinois Lawmakers Consider Regulating Midwives

Illinois lawmakers will consider regulating midwives for the first time since 1963

Illinois lawmakers on Tuesday considered regulating midwives for the first time since 1963, but after testimonies from Illinois pediatricians, the measure remains in limbo.

Illinois midwives and pediatricians testified before the House Health Care Licenses Committee on Tuesday about a proposal by Evanston Democratic Rep. Robyn Gabel to regulate certified professional midwives.

Almost 30 states allow the practice of midwifery by nationally certified professionals. Gabel says she wants to legalize the practice in the state so women have more delivery options.

The committee took no vote on the issue.

A leader from the Illinois Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics says Gabel's bill needs to include provisions that would allow midwives and physicians to collaborate. Midwives say homebirths are a safe option for mothers and babies.

Gabel says The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists now has a neutral stance on the plan after years of opposition. The state has not issued licenses to midwives since 1963.

The committee is expected to vote on the plan at a later date.

The proposals lined up for committee hearings Tuesday are among hundreds of bills pending before a Friday deadline to advance for House and Senate floor action.

The bill to raise the age to buy tobacco products from 18 to 21 would also apply to electronic cigarettes.

Also Tuesday, lawmakers gave initial approval to a measure that would allow transgender people to change the gender marker on birth certificates, passports and identification cards. Currently, people must first have a surgery before changing their gender on documents, but the bill removes that requirement.

The federal government and 12 states already allow the change without surgery, according to the American Civil Liberties Union in Illinois. The bill cleared a House committee and now goes to the full chamber for consideration.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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