McCombie-backed legislation to improve maternal health outcomes signed into law

House Bill 3401, a McCombie co-sponsored bill aimed at improving maternal health outcomes, was signed into law by the Governor on Tuesday, December 14. 

The bill sets standards for the qualifications and education of midwives, helping to reduce health disparities in communities across the state.

The legislation establishes standards for the qualifications, education, training and experience of people who seek to be licensed as certified professional midwives. The licensure and certification of midwives will be administered by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR).

In order to be licensed as a midwife, the legislation clarifies that midwives must hold and maintain valid Certified Professional Midwife (CPM) certification granted by North American Registry of Midwives (NARM).

In addition to NARM certification, the bill requires completion of a postsecondary midwifery education program, which must be accredited by the Midwife Education and Accreditation Council (MEAC). A midwife accredited by NARM who has not completed a MEAC program can still obtain licensure if they have practiced as a CPM for more than three years and obtain other certifications.

“With the legislation I sign today, the lifesaving and lifegiving work midwives perform will be legally recognized here in Illinois. It’s a victory decades in the making and one that recognizes the full worth and value of midwives in reproductive care,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “Most importantly, it ensures safe home births for every mother who chooses to deliver out-of-hospital – another step toward advancing health equity in communities across our state.”

“The licensing out midwives has been debated for years in Illinois,” said Rep. McCombie. “After extensive debate and public feedback, I am confident this is a prudent step which will allow for better outcomes for mothers.”

Due to the pandemic, more soon-to-be mothers have turned to home births, in which midwives provide guidance before and during delivery, as well as vital postpartum care.