Villa carries midwife bill to the finish line

SPRINGFIELD – Following a decades-long fight to protect expecting mothers, State Senator Karina Villa (D-West Chicago) is proud of the advancements signed into law Tuesday that will set standards for qualifications and certifications of midwives.

“The pandemic has highlighted the importance of safe home births, and midwives play a critical role in guaranteeing that mothers and babies are safe at all stages of pregnancy,” Villa said. “Pregnancy is a long, physically and mentally demanding process, and our mothers deserve the highest level of care that our providers can offer.”

Certified professional midwives without nursing degrees were previously not recognized as health care professionals who can assist with home births. More than 30 states recognize CPMs without additional degrees, but Illinois only recognized the professionals with advanced-practice registered nurse status. The new law ensures pregnant women have access to competent health care providers before, during and after pregnancy.

This landmark legislation creates the Licensed Certified Professional Midwife Practice Act, which contains education, training and experience requirements for midwives. These requirements allow midwives without nursing degrees to gain meaningful instruction so they can provide the best care possible to women in need of their services.

“Today with the signing of the Licensed Certified Professional Midwife Practice Act, we aren’t just prioritizing the contributions of workers and health care providers — we are prioritizing mothers and their babies,” Villa said.

House Bill 3401, which was co-sponsored by Villa, was signed into law Tuesday.