Alabama’s New “Midwife Decriminalization Bill” Actually does the Opposite: It Criminalizes Traditional Midwives
On the final day of Alabama's legislative session, Alabama lawmakers passed HB315, the "midwife decriminalization bill." After an amendment was added by Senator Paul Bussman of Cullman, it actually became a CPM (Certified Professional Midwife) licensure bill, and it was placed on Governor Kay Ivey's desk at 9:04 pm Friday night for her signature. There are a number of problematic issues with this amendment, but this is the most serious for birthing mothers in Alabama: Women wanting VBACs (Vaginal Birth after Cesarean) are excluded from access to a legal homebirth in Alabama with the newly legalized CPMs. On page 11 of the final bill, which includes the Bussman amendment, VBAC is defined as being "outside the scope of the licensed practice of midwifery." According to a recent Consumers Report, 90% of women who had a first C-section will end up with a repeat cesarean. Often women who want to have a good chance at a VBAC choose homebirth with a midwife, because the chances of a successful VBAC are much greater in a homebirth setting. Thanks to Alabama's new midwife law, that is no longer an option.