Homebirth Safety Act Update – And Pictures!

Despite a setback earlier this month, and what this article might lead you to believe, Rep. Julie Hamos and the co-sponsors of the Illinois’ Home Birth Safety Act, HB 226, are still working on getting the bill passed this session. They need all the help we can give them to turn legislators’ “no’s” into “yes’s”.

If you live in Illinois, please let your legislators know that you support HB 226 and women’s right to give birth where we choose. You can go here to find out who your state representative and senator are and get their phone numbers and mailing addresses. For tips and talking points you can refer to info here and here.  This bill needs ALL the support we can give it, so please understand – I am asking YOU to join me and do this!

As an incentive, I finally finished going through my pictures from the road trip I took with my kids to lobby for the bill earlier this month. (Thanks to Kathleen, for helping me figure out how to post them). The photos aren’t going to win any awards (except maybe one that Elijah took). But they tell the story of the day, so have a look at them and then support the effort and call and write your legislators!

Roll Call and Next Steps

I promise to write about the road-trip-to lobby-with-children part of yesterday and upload the pictures as soon as I am done sorting them.

As far as the legislation goes, here is the roll call for the vote to pass HB226 out of committee yesterday:


Mary Flowers

Keith Sommer

Mike Zalewsk

Julie Hamos (subbing in for Esther Golar)


Greg Harris

Will Burns

Lisa Dugan

Karen May

Mike Connelly

Joanne Osmond

Rosemary Mulligan

Tim Schmitz

There is re-grouping happening to decide next steps, but what is clear today is:

  • – Rep. Julie Hamos deserves tremendous appreciation and support from all of us who support this effort, because she has gone all out to make it possible for women in Illinois to have the choice to give birth at home.
  • – We have our work cut out for us to turn these nos into yeses! If we are to succeed, we must talk to representatives across the city and state. If you haven’t done so, please consider calling, writing a letter to your representative – or even better, go to see them and give them information about why a mother might want to birth at home vs. the hospital and ask them to do every thing they can to support this bill the next time they see it. You can look up your legislators here: http://www.ilga.gov/ If they are a supporter already – please thank them!

If you want to call, write, or visit and haven’t gotten around to it, please let me know and I will help!

What I Wrote Before Collapsing Into Bed Last Night (reposted from Facebook)

We are home and settling in. The hearing was packed and the hallway outside was lined with mamas and babies and kids and dads. I was barely able to get into the room but was able to speak to two Reps in person beforehand – Rep. Osmond, who just doesn’t get it and was not open to hearing new information at all (but was very sweet to the kiddos) and Rep. Currie who is the House Majority Leader (but not on the committee) and is doing all she can (and was even sweeter to the kids).

But it didn’t have the votes. A few of the reps really showed that they don’t understand why women want to give birth at home and why midwives don’t “just go to school to be nurses.” So, despite the tremendous showing, and a two-hour hearing with lengthy questions and answers – including supportive MD testimony, the bill was not passed out of committee. We needed 3 more votes. Yet, there were signs of progress with some of the committee members and potential openings and next steps. More tomorrow – w/ pictures!

Homebirth Safety Act Update

Happy New Year!

Sadly, Illinois’ legislative session has come to a close and the Homebirth Safety Act – SB385 – did not make it out of its committee. A new session has begun and now the bill starts over. Stay tuned to find out if it keeps the same number. In the meantime, if you have not contacted your state legislators (senators and representatives) to let them know that you support licensing direct entry midwives, please do!

Update Part II:  We have a new bill and a new number for the Homebirth Safety Act: HB 226. For more info on advocacy and the Srpingfield rally visit Illinois Families for Midwifery.

Action Alert in Illinois

Work to license direct entry midwives in Illinois has been happening for many, many years. The state nurses association has recently changed its position to neutral on the current bill in the legislature – which is a hugely positive development. This could be the moment we make it happen!

If you support the option for pregnant women in Illinois to have safe homebirths with midwives of their choice, please take a moment to look up and call your state representative to ask him or her to vote yes on SB385 in the last two days of this session: January 12th or 13th. Please also consider joining the two-day rally in Springfield to show your support in person.