Committee Votes Down Bill Allowing Lay Midwives to Practice

Committee Votes Down Bill Allowing Lay Midwives to Practice

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- A Senate committee has killed the House-passed bill that would have made it legal for certified lay midwives to deliver babies.

HB227 would have made it legal for those certified by the North American Registry of Midwives to practice in Utah. It would have allowed them to give physical exams, monitor fetal development, administer certain medications, performing emergency episiotomy and manage hemorrhage.

The bill was voted down Wednesday by the Senate Business and Labor Committee.

Sen. Carlene Walker, R-Cottonwood Heights, said she was worried about midwives performing episiotomies and administering IV drugs during home births.

"It is everyone's right to have a home birth if they choose," Walker said. "But I would be worried if my daughter picked it."

Carrie Kemp, a paramedic, said emergency medical technicians are trained to do the same procedures in emergency deliveries with just two hours of training. She had both of her children at home with a midwife.

"Pregnancy is not an illness that requires treatment," she said. "Women's bodies know what to do."

Linda Poe, deputy director of the Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing, said, "Home births are going to occur."

She predicted pregnant women would continue to enlist unlicensed midwives to help them, regardless of legislators' action.

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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