Senator Fine Legislation to Expand Birth Center Accessibility Signed into Law

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Health

Pregnant women will have more options on where to deliver under a new law that establishes a path to permanent licensure for freestanding birth centers. “Expecting mothers should have the ability to choose their birth style without limitations caused by a lack of freestanding birth center licenses in their area,” Senator Laura Fine said. “Whether a pregnant woman is seeking a certified nurse midwife or they simply want a lower-cost birthing style, lifting the licensure cap for freestanding birth centers will help increase access to birth centers across Illinois.” Senator Fine’s legislation creates the Birth Center Licensing Act, lifting the current cap on the number of freestanding birth center licenses, so more women, especially those in marginalized communities, have access to the birthing style they prefer. Freestanding birth centers will still be regulated under the Alternative Health Care Delivery Act, and licenses will have to be renewed every year. Freestanding birth centers are a lower-cost option for expectant mothers seeking a more homelike approach to childbirth who do not want a hospital setting. There are currently just two freestanding birth centers in Illinois that provide this style of care. House Bill 3995 was signed into law last Friday and takes effect immediately.

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