By Bob Katzen

The Senate 39-0, approved an amendment providing $1 million for the awarding of grants for the development and operation of freestanding birth centers. Priority for funding would be given to birth centers that serve communities historically impacted most by racial inequities in maternal health including high rates of maternal and infant mortality.

Birth centers facilities, usually staffed by nurse-midwives, provide a less institutionalized and less restricted setting than a hospital for women who wish to deliver by natural childbirth.

Amendment supporters said there is only one remaining birthing center in Massachusetts. They noted the amendment would lead to much needed additional birthing centers in the Bay State.

Amendment sponsor Sen. Liz Miranda (D-Boston) did not respond to repeated requests by Beacon Hill Roll Call to comment on the approval of her amendment.

(A “Yes” vote is for the $1 million.)

Sen. Patricia Jehlen Yes

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