Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Shepherd’s Law, providing for licensure of midwives, becomes law


Shepherd’s Law, providing for licensure of midwives, becomes law

OKLAHOMA CITY – Legislation creating a system for licensing midwives has been signed into law.  Senate Bill 1823, creating Shepherd’s Law, was signed into law Monday by Gov. Kevin Stitt.

State Sen. Brenda Stanley, a former educator, is principal author of SB 1823, also known as Shepherd’s Law, named for the baby of a former student--the infant died a day after a planned home delivery that went wrong.  Stanley, R-Midwest City, expressed her thanks to supporters inside and outside the Capitol for helping move the bill all the way through the process.  Stanley noted that Certified Professional Midwives are already regulated in 34 other states.  She said getting SB 1823 signed into law is an important step for Oklahoma.

“Shepherd’s Law provides for licensure, oversight, accountability, informed consent, and preserves parental choice about who they want to use, whether it’s an obstetrician, a lay-midwife, or a licensed, certified midwife,” Stanley said.  “Ultimately, I believe this bill will help us better protect the health and safety of mothers and babies.”


Under SB 1823, a Certified Professional Midwife (CPM) or Certified Midwife (CM) would be required to be licensed in Oklahoma.  All midwives would be required to disclose what credentials or licensure they may or may not have, their limitation of skills and whether they carry malpractice insurance.  A required informed consent document would also include information on the midwife’s plan for emergencies and complications and gives parents the ability to pre-select a hospital in case of an emergency.

Licensed midwives would also be required to advise clients to seek medical care for pregnancies outside their scope of practice and to call for emergency assistance in situations that fall outside their scope of practice.  The $1,000 license would be good for three years.

The legislation also places oversight of the midwifery profession under the State Commissioner of Health and creates an Advisory Committee on Midwifery to assist the commissioner in matters pertaining to licensure, discipline and related issues.  Rulemaking authority of the commissioner includes scope of practice, a formulary of prescription drugs for licensed midwives to administer, routine tests, and continuing education. The Health Department would also maintain a roster of licensed midwives.

The measure was supported by the National Association of Certified Professional Midwives, Oklahoma Chapter.

The House principal author of SB 1823 is Rep. Cynthia Roe, R-Lindsay.  She said the new law will take effect on November 1, 2020.

“This law will give prospective Oklahoma mothers the ability to determine the credentials and skills a midwife has before making a decision about who they want to entrust with their life and that of their baby,” Roe said.

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