South Dakota Birth Matters is working on two bills for the 2016 legislative session to give South Dakota families access to Certified Professional Midwives
This bill sets up an advisory committee under the Board of Nursing to license and regulate Certified Professional Midwives. It is modeled after the statute that regulates Certified Nurse Midwives (SDCL 36-9A) and contains the language regarding educational requirements from the historic US MERA agreement.
What is US MERA?
Last year, all of the major US midwifery education and credentialing bodies got together and agreed upon language for Certified Professional Midwife licensure. This language sets standards for education that meet the criteria set by the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM).
Why does that matter?
It matters because the national office of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists now officially support the ICM education and training standards. The language in our new bill meets those standards.
“The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) endorses the ICM education and training standards and strongly advocates the ICM criteria as a baseline for midwife licensure in the United States, through legislation and regulation. Women in every state should be guaranteed care that meets these important minimum standards…All midwives – whatever their title or professional designation and regardless of where they practice – should meet the ICM standards, to ensure access to safe, qualified, highly skilled midwives in all settings including birth centers.”
Companion document to the ACOG Policy Statement on Midwifery Education and Certification and the Obstetric Care Consensus document, Levels of Maternal Care, developed jointly by ACOG and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine, April 20, 2015 Link to ACOG Statement
Some may argue that we do not have enough Certified Professional Midwives currently practicing or willing to practice in our state to warrant passing a licensure bill. This decriminalization bill would create a bridge to licensure by doing 3 things:
Section 1 allows Certified Professional Midwives who are licensed in other states, and student midwives under the direct supervision of an approved preceptor to practice in South Dakota. This is accomplished by adding them to the exemptions listed in the nurse midwife practice act (36-9A-3).
Section 2 of the bill calls for the repeal of Section 1 on July 1, 2020.
Section 3 establishes the Midwife Regulation Fund where voluntary contributions can be collected and used for initial costs of setting up a regulatory board or advisory committee to regulate Certified Professional Midwives.