Richard Piatt ReportingAbout 600 women delivered their babies at home last year--some with the help of midwives who are not licensed in health care. Some of those women are now lobbying state lawmakers to create a way for those midwives to have all the tools a hospital has, including medication.
People for and against this bill crowded the halls of the Capitol to speak out about this issue. At the heart of their concerns on both sides are safe, live births for women who choose midwives.
Here's an example from the Capitol today: Darcee Barnes of Sandy delivered three of her four children with a midwife. She chose a midwife, she says, because she wanted a safe, private experience.
Right now midwifery is legal, a clinic in West Valley uses nurses. But this law would allow lay midwives to do everything from pre-natal care to administering medicine. That's where opponents come in. A number of people from the Utah Medical Alliance are lobbying to change the bill.
Catherine Wheeler, OBGYN: "One of the concerns we have is the medications that are being requested to be administered at home. And the question is do we make anything safer by allowing those meds."
Darcee Barnes, Midwife Bill Supporter: "Right now the law says we can have midwives legally. But it says our midwives can't attend us, legally. And I think it's really important to give them those rights so we can continue to have home births and to keep them safe."
The reality is that midwives exist, and supporters say they need all the medical tools that are available. There were more than 600 midwife deliveries last year in Utah, probably more under cover. This bill would bring more midwives into the open. It is currently on the House calendar; its sponsor expects it to pass.