Midwives Call for Licensure
I blogged a couple of weeks ago about the North Carolina midwives who want the state to license them. Here’s an article about Massachusetts midwives who have followed suit. A state representative argues in favor of occupational licensure:
If the bill passes, they would have to apply for licensure and pass a series of requirements to practice legally in the state. “It will give any of the births currently being done more regulation and oversight,” Khan says.
This push for licensure might just be a strategy to legalize midwifery. Many Missourians, especially in rural areas, had a positive view of midwifery before the state allowed the practice. The legislation was controversial, but there hasn’t been public outcry about the fact that a private organization is licensing the midwives here. In states where the population is more wary of midwives, establishing a state board to oversee the profession could be the only way to legalize it.
On the other hand, lobbying for state oversight could be a way for the midwives to keep out competition and earn more money. The article notes that home birth with a midwife is much less expensive than seeing a doctor in a hospital. It doesn’t draw any connection between that and all the bureaucratic hurdles doctors have to jump through to be certified. If midwives have to go through a similarly long and costly certification process, you can expect the price for their services to jump.
If Massachusetts midwives need a state board to be recognized as legal, then I guess that’s what they have to do. But licensure should be a last resort.