Hawaii Gov. David Ige last week signed into law Senate Bill 1033 regulating midwifery.

Act 32, as it is now known, also temporarily exempts birth attendants and exempts Native Hawaiian healers from licensure requirements.

In arguing for the bill, lawmakers stated, “The Legislature finds that mothers and families seek out alternatives to hospital births and they find significant value in community or home birth services. These services are currently provided by individuals identifying themselves as traditional or cultural practitioners, midwives, certified professional midwives, lay midwives, direct entry midwives, birth keepers, or birth attendants. This Act will continue to allow a woman to choose where and with whom she gives birth.”

Midwifery. Flickr: Jason Lander

SB 1033 was part of the Hawaii Women’s Legislative Caucus package.

Supporters included the Hawaii State Commission on the Status of Women and Hawaii Pacific Health. Opponents included the Hawaii Midwifery Council and Hawaii Home Birth Committee.

According to the bill, Hawaii regulated midwifery starting with registration in 1931 but repealed it in 1998 when nurse-midwives were placed “under the purview” of the board of nursing.

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