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RALEIGH, NC (AP) — Certified midwives could practice without the supervision of a physician in North Carolina under a bill making its way through the House.

The Health and Human Services Committee approved a bill Tuesday that allows midwives to practice prenatal care, deliver babies and perform other duties without a statement of supervision from a doctor.

Supporters say 44 other states don’t require statements of supervision and little would actually change. They also say doctors can be reluctant to sign statements because it requires taking on liability, so the bill helps expand access.

Opponents expressed concerns over how midwives would handle life-threatening situations. An attempt to send the bill to a study commission narrowly failed.

The bill now goes to a judiciary committee before going to the full House.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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