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Midwives Say Idaho Licensing Law Has Brought The Practice Out Of The Shadows

A midwife uses a fetoscope on a patient.

Idaho started licensing midwives in 2010 under the Midwifery Practice Act so midwives could deliver babies in homes and at birthing centers legally. 

Idaho midwives say the move to officially license midwives brought the practice out of the shadows. But the law was only for a five-year trial period.

Now the Idaho Midwifery Council is now asking lawmakers to renew and extend the law for another 10 years before it sunsets this summer.

The Council's Kris Ellis says requiring midwives to be licensed has improved the quality of care.

“They can legally carry life-saving medications -- those things that are really part of midwifery care, without being afraid of being put in jail if they were caught," she says. "Before it was considered practicing without a license and it was a felony.”

Neither Oregon nor Washington have sunset clauses in their midwife laws. Washington midwives have been licensed for decades. In Oregon, midwifery licenses become mandatory in 2015.