Assembly Approves Midwife Modernization Act

Legislation eliminates obstacles faced by midwives in New York State
July 2, 2010

Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee (D-Suffern) and Assemblyman Ken Zebrowski (D-New City) announced the passage of the Midwife Modernization Act in the Assembly this week (A.8817-A). This bill will remove a key barrier to access safe midwifery care. It will no longer be a requirement for licensed professional midwives to have a “written practice agreement” with a physician or hospital as a prerequisite to practice. The legislation ensures the highest professional standards while expanding consumer access to specialized healthcare.

“I was pleased to work closely with Assemblymembers Richard Gottfried, Deborah Glick, and Barbara Lifton in assuring passage of this legislation,” said Assemblywoman Jaffee. “Many women wrote to me about the wonderful experiences they’ve had with Midwives in Rockland County, and their heartfelt stories showed me the necessity of this legislation.”

“Midwives can be instrumental in the health care of pregnant women and the passage of this bill will facilitate this relationship,” said Assemblyman Zebrowski, “This legislation opens the door for midwives and will allow them to practice in New York without this administrative obstacle.”

County Legislator Connie Coker, a retired Licensed Midwife, said, “I very much appreciate the successful efforts by Assemblywoman Jaffee and Assemblyman Zebrowski to protect quality and accessible women's health care. Their sponsorship of the Midwifery Modernization Act was instrumental in its passage and guarantees that women have the right to choose their health care provider when pregnant or for gynecological care.”

Jaffee and Zebrowski co-sponsored the bill which will affect 1,300 licensed midwives performing services today. New York State joins fifteen other states who already allow midwives to practice without a written agreement.