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Lawmakers Discuss Midwifery Bill

Lawmakers discussed a bill yesterday that would allow midwives who are not certified nurses to practice midwifery in the state.

Jessica Jones: Under current state law, only certified nurse midwives are allowed to deliver babies, and they must do so under a doctor's supervision. But surrounding states allow non-nurse midwives to practice. Democratic Representative Becky Carney is a sponsor of the measure.

Becky Carney: Today is a real turning point for us here in North Carolina to deal with this very growing population of citizens in our state that want to be able to have that choice safely, to have their babies at home.

But some physicians are opposed to the measure, saying there aren't enough safeguards in cases of high risk deliveries. Dr. Frank Harrison is an ob/gyn in Charlotte.

Frank Harrison: I think to push this bill forward is going to push the safety and health care of women in this state backwards by at least eighty years. It's not clear whether the bill will make it to the House floor during this legislative session.

Jessica Jones covers both the legislature in Raleigh and politics across the state. Before her current assignment, Jessica was given the responsibility to open up WUNC's first Greensboro Bureau at the Triad Stage in 2009. She's a seasoned public radio reporter who's covered everything from education to immigration, and she's a regular contributor to NPR's news programs. Jessica started her career in journalism in Egypt, where she freelanced for international print and radio outlets. After stints in Washington, D.C. with Voice of America and NPR, Jessica joined the staff of WUNC in 1999. She is a graduate of Yale University.
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