Julie Kushner

State Senator

Julie Kushner

Deputy President Pro Tempore

Working Together for Progress

May 18, 2023


DANBURY – State Senator Julie Kushner (D-Danbury) and state Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Manisha Juthani toured the Connecticut Childbirth & Women’s Center on Locust Avenue this morning in advance of a discussion in the state Senate about a bill that would create a brand-new DPH license category for freestanding birth centers, replacing the old ‘maternity hospital’ license now on the books.

Founded in 1997, the Connecticut Childbirth & Women’s Center is located across the street from Danbury Hospital. Senate Bill 986, “AN ACT PROTECTING MATERNAL HEALTH,” as proposed by Governor Ned Lamont, would create a new and separate licensing category for stand-alone, private birthing centers staffed by midwives like the Connecticut Childbirth & Women’s Center.

The Connecticut Childbirth & Women’s Center is one of the nearly 250 accredited birthing centers in the United States and is the only one in Connecticut. Staffed by a team of midwives, its homelike atmosphere meets all local, state, and federal health, fire and safety regulations and is licensed by the state Department of Public Health.

According to the Peterson-Kaiser Family Foundation, the average hospital birth in America costs $18,865, including pregnancy, delivery, and postpartum care. The Connecticut Childbirth & Women’s Center charges a flat fee of $8,500.

“The Connecticut Childbirth Center has really been a trailblazer for a quarter-century here in Connecticut. It’s enormously popular and very successful, and it’s really the template for what other such private birthing centers could be created around Connecticut under this new proposed licensing system,” said Sen. Kushner, who has been working with DPH and the Childbirth Center on details of the legislation. “Not every woman wants to deliver in a hospital setting. Not every family wants to or can afford to pay their share of an $18,000 hospital bill. For those people seeking an alternative, but who still want caring and professional medical attention, the Connecticut Childbirth center is there for therm. It’s a model that should be replicated across the state.”

“Allowing more opportunities for birth options is something we should be doing more of in Connecticut, and Governor Lamont’s bill will help give women more opportunities,” Commissioner Juthani said. “This bill is about choice, and the state Health Department is committed to working with birth centers and hospitals to make life better for Connecticut families.”

“The biggest difference this bill will make is that there will be more birthing centers throughout Connecticut. Right now, the licensing process is both tedious and expensive. This bill will reduce that,” said Cathy Parisi, Director of Midwifery and the Center. “This bill will encourage more women to give birth at birthing centers.”