Sen. Dodd: Assembly Approves Maternity Health Bill

Wednesday, September 13, 2023

SACRAMENTO – The California Assembly has approved legislation from Sen. Dodd, D-Napa, that clarifies existing law to ensure nurse-midwives are able to continue to provide essential healthcare services before and after pregnancy, enhancing mother and child well-being, especially in underserved communities.

“It is critical that we increase access to services of nurse midwives, who play an important role in delivering maternity care,” Sen. Dodd said. “This bill enhances the ability of these dedicated practitioners to provide essential services, eliminating red tape that is so often a barrier to healthy outcomes.”

In California, nurse-midwives deliver 50,000 babies a year and provide an array of essential supporting services, filling an important role in the face of provider shortages. To meet the demand, Sen. Dodd in 2020 wrote Senate Bill 1237, increasing medical access for all women and birthing people, especially those in rural or inner-city settings. The bill was signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom.

Senate Bill 667 builds upon the momentum in recent years to preserve and protect access to maternity care and abortion in the state. It cuts through redundant requirements that might otherwise limit a certified nurse midwife from practicing to the full extent of their scope and training as the original law intended.

SB 667, which is co-sponsored by the California Nurse-Midwives Association and the Black Women for Wellness Action Project, was approved by the Assembly Tuesday with overwhelming support. It heads next to Gov. Gavin Newsom following a Senate concurrence vote.

 “In recent years, California has committed to reducing maternal mortality and morbidity, and especially to erasing racism-based disparities in maternal and infant outcomes,” said Paris Maloof-Bury, president of CNMA. “To that end, access to midwifery care has been named as a key strategy. This bill continues the work of integrating community midwifery and hospital midwifery into the current system of care in order to ensure that access to maternity care, especially for those most in need, is not limited by geography, race, ethnicity, income level or any other health indicator.”

“We’re excited that California has taken a step to prioritize maternal and infant health equity,” said Kim Robinson, community liaison for the Black Women for Wellness Action Project. “Midwives play an important role in the overall vision for a healthier California by improving access to quality care, reducing disparities in health outcomes and addressing the need for deep, systemic change. Where Black women are 3-4 times more likely to die from pregnancy related causes, and maternity care deserts in our state present significant barriers to care,  passing SB 667 advances a comprehensive and effective approach to mitigating the persistent maternal health crisis in California by allowing certified nurse midwives to fill critical gaps in care.” 



Senator Bill Dodd represents the 3rd Senate District, which includes all or portions of Napa, Solano, Yolo, Sonoma, Contra Costa, and Sacramento counties. You can learn more about the district and Senator Dodd at