The Boston Globe recognizes the powerful benefits of midwifery care and the need for policies that will enable access to midwives and birth centers (https://www.bostonglobe.com/…/license-midwives-help…/).
The editorial makes an urgent call to action for legislation to license certified professional midwives, (HD.3100/SD.1327), while calling for an update to the state’s birth center regulations by the department of public health, (HD.3966/SD.1966). I am proud to be the Senate sponsor of SD.1966, An Act updating the regulations governing licensed birth centers in Massachusetts, with Representatives Chynah Tyler and Manny Cruz. Grateful for the partnership Bay State Birth Coalition and the thought leadership and work of Seven Sisters Midwifery & Community Birth Center.
Our bill addresses outdated regulations that harm the viability of birth centers in Massachusetts. The regulatory barriers to opening and operating births centers outlined by The Globe would be addressed by this bill which directs the Department of Public Health to follow national best practices and allows providers to practice in accordance with their state license.
While in most ways, Massachusetts is a leader in reproductive rights, we lag when it comes to choices about where we give birth, (especially with recent birth center closures in Beverly and Cambridge and numerous cuts to hospital services around the state).
These policies to expand access to midwives and birth centers will:
- Increase access to birthing choices
- Expand the available workforce for birth centers
- Reverse rising maternal mortality rate
- Address racial inequities in maternal health
- Lower healthcare costs
The editorial echoes the recommendations of the Massachusetts Special Commission on Racial Inequities in Maternal Health to scale up birth center access, license certified professional midwives, and update birth center regulations.