Representatives approved the bill Tuesday with an 84-11 vote. It now moves to the Alabama Senate.
Currently, it is misdemeanor for anyone other than a doctor and a licensed nurse midwife to deliver babies in the state. The bill would allow a midwife with a certification from an organization accredited by the Institute for Credentialing Excellence to deliver babies without violating the law. Lay midwifery would remain a criminal offense. Representative Ken Johnson, the bill's sponsor, said midwives have successfully delivered babies for centuries. He said if a woman wants to give birth at home, it is currently a crime if she pays a certified midwife to assist her. Home birth advocates have lobbied for years to change the law.