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Obstetricians Fight Bill That Eases Restrictions on Midwives

New York law currently contains a requirement that midwives have a “written practice agreement” with a doctor or hospital. A week ago, a bill that would repeal that requirement passed state Assembly and Senate committees. But it then hit heavy opposition from the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

They challenged the safety of midwife-attended births and suggested that the bill was a ploy to allow midwives to directly compete with doctors. The obstetricians’ group has argued that written agreements are needed to keep women safe.

The New York Times reports:

“Laura Sheperis, president of the New York Association of Licensed Midwives, said that New York State had 800 to 900 practicing midwives, more than any other state, and that about 10 percent of them were having trouble getting written practice agreements, which must be renewed every year ... The bill’s supporters said that most midwives, who handle low-risk births, have relationships with doctors, whether in writing or not, in case complications develop.”

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