State briefs for April 17

Bill reveals rift between midwife practitioner groups

HONOLULU — Legislation to regulate midwives in Hawaii highlights a divide among home birth advocates.

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A state Senate bill approved Friday by the Legislature and sent to Gov. David Ige for his approval will license midwives and make it illegal for unlicensed cultural and traditional practitioners to provide midwife services after 2023.

Ige’s spokeswoman, Jodi Leong, said the governor would decide whether to sign the bill after his staff reviews it.

Only 339, or 1.8%, of about 18,000 children born in Hawaii in 2015 were home births, according to a 2017 state auditor’s report recommending regulation of midwives.

Some midwives with professional certification do not view cultural and traditional practitioners as their peers because many are self-trained and have not completed any formal education or apprenticeships, according to Le‘a Minton, board president of the Midwives Alliance of Hawaii.

Cultural practitioners have said even though they did not undergo Western training, women should be able to choose the circumstances of their children’s births.

Advocates say the situation is made more difficult because there are no midwife schools in Hawaii.

Texas sailor killed in 1941 Pearl Harbor bombing identified

LEAGUE CITY, Texas — A 19-year-old Houston-area sailor who died in the 1941 Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor was identified.

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency on Tuesday announced Navy Seaman 2nd Class Richard J. Thomson of League City, Texas, was accounted for 77 years after the attack.

Military officials said Thomson was assigned to the USS Oklahoma, which capsized during the bombing. The attack on the battleship resulted in the deaths of 429 crewmen, including Thomson.

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From December 1941-June 1944, Navy personnel recovered the remains of the deceased crew, which were interred in cemeteries in Hawaii.

Military officials in 2015 exhumed USS Oklahoma unknown remains for analysis, including DNA testing. That led to Thomson being accounted for in March.

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