In New York State, the Midwifery Modernization Act cruised through New York State Assembly and Senate and is now going over to Governor Patterson to be signed into law. Despite protests, the bill overwhelmingly passed the Assembly on Monday, by a vote of 95-17. The Senate voted 61-0.
“This is a major victory for women’s health,” said Assembly Health Committee chair Richard N. Gottfried. “The 1,300 licensed midwives in New York perform about 15% of the non-Caesarean deliveries, with exceptionally high rates of successful outcomes and patient satisfaction.”
Professional midwives have been providing prenatal care, primary gynecological care and assisting births in NY state for decades but they have always been required to have a “written practice agreement” from an obstetrician or hospital. This new law will no longer require such an agreement. Said Gottfried, “The written practice agreement is an unnecessary restriction that blocks many midwives from serving the community.”
Midwives and doctors are trained to care for women in different, though overlapping ways: collaboration is essential and will continue with this new law in place, just on different terms. New York joins the 15 states (AK, AZ, CT, DC, ID, IA, ME, MN, MT, NH, NM, OR, RI, WA, WY) where midwives currently practice without signed practice agreements.