New bill would regulate home birth providers

By Brenton Awa
Published On: Feb 10 2014 10:42:40 PM HST

Banning birth at home? That's what opponents of a new bill are afraid will happen if it's passed. But supporters say educational requirements for those who practice midwifery are long overdue.

HONOLULU -

A new bill in the senate aims at making licensing a requirement for home birth providers. Supporters say educational mandates for those who practice mid-wifery are long overdue, but opponents fear the bill will put an end to the practice.

Click here to watch Brenton Awa's report.

An unexpected crowd turned out at the state capitol Monday as dozens of people showed up for a bill regarding "home birth," and over 1,000 people submitted testimony. The measure would require licensing for home birth providers, something that the state currently does not regulate.

"I believe in home birth, I really actually like it as a principle for us in our state. It's a traditional pillar of our state health program but it's got to be done safely for mom's and babies and that's what the bills about," said Senator Josh Green, Health Committee Chair.

"If you're going to put the ACOG or the medical board governing us, we're all going to be done, it's not going to work," said Clare Loprinzi, circle of midwives.

Loprinzi says Certified Professional Midwifes already follow strict standards of practice.

"Every single practitioner knows they have the weight of that baby or that mom, it's a huge kuleana. The traditional midwives, we are born into this," said Loprinzi.

But supporters of the bill say that training is critical for both the safety of the babies and their mothers.

"Because we have seen complicated cases of planned home birth that get transferred to the hospital with sometimes very tragic outcomes we need to do something about this solution," said Dr. Lori Kamemoto, a supporter of the bill.

Kamemoto adds that she knows of four cases where planned home birth went bad in the past two months. Up until this meeting, both sides on the issue haven't been able to work together, something that may change following the hearing.

"I'm really glad that Senator Green and the other legislators were able to hear this and open the conversation," said Kamemoto.

"At the end of the day I want to make sure that there's no increase in risk for a mom or baby being born outside of the hospital," said Green.

Currently, the state does not have data on home births although that is something the bill would establish. Senate Bill 2569 was deferred Monday. Senator Green says a decision will be made in two days.

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