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Pritzker signs midwife legislation into law

December 18, 2021 GMT

CHICAGO (AP) — Gov. J.B. Pritzker has signed into law legislation that will allow midwives to go through a new licensing process to provide care before, during and after the delivery of babies.

The new law requires midwives to have a valid certified professional midwife certification from the North American Registry of Midwives. It also sets education and training criteria for those seeking to be licensed as certified professional midwifes and requires midwives to complete an accredited postsecondary midwifery education program.

Pritzker said the legislation he signed into law this week will hopefully prevent pregnancy-related deaths, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

According to the Illinois Affiliate of the American College of Nurse-Midwives, certified nurse-midwives provide women with primary health care, such as gynecological exams, delivering babies and prenatal and postnatal care.

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Rep. Mary Flowers, a Chicago Democrat, said licensing midwives will be particularly beneficial for Black women who, according to a state health department study, are about three times as likely to die from a pregnancy-related condition as white women.

“This is a good first step and I’m looking forward to making health care better for all the women, but specifically African American women because we’re dying at a higher rate and it’s all preventable,” Flowers said.