A bill that would license and regulate certified professional midwives passed the Iowa House 93-2 Monday. According to advocacy group License Iowa Midwives, this is the first time a midwife licensure bill has passed out of one of the chambers, marking progress on an effort that’s been worked on for more than two decades. Iowa is one of 14 states where certified professional midwives are not licensed or regulated. Unlike certified nurse midwives, who primarily practice in hospitals, certified professional midwives specialize in births that occur in homes and stand-alone birthing centers and do not require a nursing credential or graduate degree in midwifery. Instead, certified professional midwives are direct-entry, and complete a multiyear program through the North American Registry of Midwives. Advocates argue that allowing certified professional midwives to practice in the state would help drive down maternal mortality rates and create more maternal care options for parents in an era where there’s a shortage of birthing units. Reps. Mary Mascher, Ras Smith and Bobby Kaufmann spoke on the House floor before the vote in support of the bill. “It’s not just about access. It’s about access in the way you want it. It’s about giving you charge in making health care decisions,” Smith said. Kaufmann pointed out that the bill is unique in that it draws extreme bipartisan support – from the far right to the far left. The bill still has yet to pass through the Iowa Senate. (Dive deeper by reading the following stories in Fearless: 20 years of decline: Iowa’s dwindling birthing units,Guest Opinion: Iowans deserve access to midwifery model of care and How three Iowans are working to drive down the Black maternal mortality rate.)