MAH Response to Civil Beat
Nov 14, 2017
We appreciate Civil Beat presenting a thoughtful and balanced article about the current legislative work regarding licensing midwives in the State of Hawaiʻi. We would like to clarify a few items in the article. (Read the article here.)
While the safety of home birth has been demonstrated for normal healthy mothers and babies, Midwives Alliance of Hawaii (MAH) does not believe that community based birth is appropriate for all birthing mothers. We continue to support a persons right to choose where, how and with whom they birth.
MAH would like to clarify that the only midwives in Hawaii who are required to have a nursing license are certified nurse midwives. Certified nurse midwives, rather than registered nurses (who receive no midwifery training), were eligible for licensure in Hawaiʻi under the Department of Health until 1998 when they became licensed through the Board of Nursing as advanced practice registered nurses. All midwives who are nationally recognized and board certified have completed specialty training, demonstrated minimum competencies and passed national exams in midwifery. We would like to reduce any implication that a non-nursing background means a lesser professional.
We have and currently are working to provide recommendations for legislation to license nationally recognized board certified midwives, but our recommendations are not necessarily utilized, such as the 2017 bill that was heard. We would like to clarify that we are not confident that if a bill is introduced this year it will be come law this year. We are confident that with productive respectful discussion licensure of midwives will become law in Hawaiʻi at some point in the near future.
Last, several states do require midwives to notify patients if they hold liability insurance, but they do not require midwives or other healthcare professionals (including in Hawaiʻi) to have liability insurance in order to be licensed. These are two different requirements.
We respect the different perspectives put forth in this article and look forward to thoughtful discussion.
Midwives Alliance of Hawaii