The Midwifery Modernization Act

The Midwifery Modernization Act, which recently became law, allows midwives to practice without a written practice agreement (WPA). Prior to passing this legislation, midwives were unable to practice without a written collaborative document from a physician. The vast majority of physicians were reluctant to sign such documents, leaving many midwives unable to practice legally in New York State. Midwife Susanrachel Condon, as well as several of the doulas interviewed for the article all lobbied in Albany to support this legislation, which they feel is essential for women in New York State.

“People were just completely unwilling to sign and had plenty of excuses such as ‘my insurance premiums will go up’ or ‘my colleagues will be upset.’ A lot were afraid of being sued and losing practice over a woman they had never met. We’ve had great collaborations with doctors but they just didn’t want to put it on paper,” says Condon.

The MMA, which is in effect today, expands women’s birthing options in the state, particularly for women in rural areas where access to care may be limited. It also serves as validation for a midwifes role in labor and birth. “The MMA is an indicator that midwives can practice independently, and that they do it well,” explained doula and student midwife Liz Pickett.

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