Advocates push for midwife bill, legal home births

Hearing on proposed bill will be next week

INDIANAPOLIS - Advocates for home births took their fight to the Statehouse Wednesday.

Mothers-to-be in Indiana might soon have more options if they want to deliver their babies at home.

Advocates want Indiana to allow Certified Professional Midwives to be able to legally deliver babies at home.

Two midwives in northern Indiana were arrested and charged in connection with practicing without a license last year.

Erin Seacat, an expectant mother, gave birth to her first son at home and said her midwife could have been arrested.

“It’s illegal for her. I don’t think we could have gotten in any trouble, but there are little differences like certain drugs that she wasn’t allowed to carry that could be life-saving drugs for us,” Seacat said.

CPMs are not nurses, but they have requirements for education and experience.

27 states legally recognize and regulate CPMs, and state Senator Dennis Kruse, R-Auburn, thinks Indiana should be next.

“My guess is you would find just as many babies die in the hospital as in a home birth with a midwife,” Kruse said.

According to a report published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology in 2010, neonatal death occurred less than once in 1,000 hospital births, compared with two in 1,000 home births.

“Licensure increases safety. It increases access to care. And, it also increases accountability on the part of the midwife,” said MaryAnn Griffin of Indiana Midwifery Taskforce.

Mothers and advocates at the rally said they believe women in Indiana should be able to make the choice and they believe CPMs should not have to go to jail if they assist mothers at home.

Senator Kruse said a hearing on the bill is expected next week in the House Public Health Committee.

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